The political jockeying in Iraq continues as the Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, demands neighboring countries stay out of Baghdad’s politics. “Some are talking through the media as if they were our guardians,” Mr. Maliki told The Los Angeles Times on Monday. It is reported that the Iraqi Shiite leader, Ammar al-Hakim, has met with Saudi King Abdullah to discuss “issues of mutual interest.” Other political factions in Iraq, including the Sadrists, have also met with the Saudi King, perhaps prompting Mr. Maliki’s comments.
All sides are going all out as the move towards establishing a government takes shape. If Mr. Maliki has his way, that’ll be sooner rather than later. He is fighting for his political survival and now comes word that Mr. Maliki’s State of Law Party will unite with the Iraqi National Alliance (INA), which gained 70 seats in the March 7 elections. Together, they would be a force to be reckoned with. A spokesman for Mr. Maliki suggests talks are “ in the final stages” and “within the next few days, we will announce this alliance,” according to Reuters News Agency.
Former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi is warning against such unison, suggesting “the country could slide into a sectarian war if the group is shut out of the next government,” said The Washington Post. “I told them, ‘Don’t embark on this course,’ It’s going to be very dangerous, it’s going to be counterproductive, and the backlash will be severe,” Mr. Allawi told the Post. Let’s not forget about the Sadrists, either. Mr. Maliki’s united effort could provoke strong emotions from the movement of the anti-American cleric, Moqtada al-Sadr. They do not want to see Mr. Maliki reappointed as Prime Minister. For his part, Mr. Allawi has requested to meet with Mr. Maliki but no timeframe on such a meeting has been determined.
So, the wheeling and dealing goes on but in the meantime, a country yearns for leadership. Six weeks after the national elections concluded, Iraq still remains a state of uncertainty and the longer that label holds, the difficulty remains in bringing the nation together.
Scott Sadler is an experienced communicator with an in-depth expertise with crisis communications who has served in senior level positions in the federal government, Capitol Hill, and in a military theater of operation.