Courtesy Reuters

Baghdad’s Phantom Power-Sharing Plan

Has Iraq Solved Its Long Political Impasse?

In mid-November, after eight months of political deadlock, Nouri al-Maliki was finally designated for a second term as prime minister of Iraq. In the West, talk swirled about a supposed power-sharing deal that lay behind the apparent breakthrough. The most optimistic accounts have portrayed the new, yet-to-be-formed Iraqi cabinet as a “government of national unity” with real power given to the four biggest winners in the March parliamentary elections: the secular but increasingly Sunni-leaning Iraqiya; the two biggest (and recently merged) Shiite Islamist coalitions, State of Law, headed by Maliki, and the Sadrist-dominated Iraqi National Alliance; and a coalition of Kurdish parties.

But so far, the power-sharing deal has been disconcertingly lacking in substance. Right now, it appears that the notion of power-sharing in Iraq is nothing more than a spin-doctor operation by the Obama administration -- to which Iraq’s dominant Shiite Islamist parties are happy to pay lip service. Looking at the distribution of influential positions in the new government, only one player has been given true power: Nouri al-Maliki.

Iraqiya, besides having gained the speakership of the parliament -- an important position but one that remains checked by deputy speakers with relatively strong powers -- has only been promised a castle in the air: the presidency of a projected National Council for Strategic Policies. The council, which ostensibly would give Iraqiya influence in all major decisions regarding defense, internal security, and economic and energy-related issues, is thus far being treated by Maliki and his allies as a

Log in or register for free to continue reading.

Registered users get access to one free article every month. Subscribers get access to the entire archive.

Browse Related Articles on {{}}

{{ | number}} Articles Found

  • {{bucket.key_as_string}}