Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Iraqi struggle over accepting U.S.-backed selection of ministerial posts

By Mark Pyruz
File photo: Inside the Iraqi parliamentary building 

According to Associated Press:
Iraqi lawmakers rejected Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's nominees Tuesday to lead the defense and interior ministries, leaving the crucial Cabinet posts unfilled as an emerging U.S.-led coalition intensifies its air campaign against Islamic State extremists who have seized a third of the country.
Al-Abadi, Iraq's new prime minister, put forward Sunni lawmaker Jaber al-Jabberi as his candidate for defense minister and Shiite lawmaker Riyad Ghareeb as his pick for interior minister. Parliament, which could confirm the nominees with a simple majority, voted 118-117 against Ghareeb, and 131-108 against al-Jabberi.
Ahead of the vote, two lawmakers, Hussein al-Maliki and Mohammed Saadoun, told The Associated Press that the selection of Ghareeb met with some contention, mostly from the Shiite Badr Brigade, a powerful militia with close ties to neighboring Iran. Ghareeb failed to win approval by a single vote.
COMMENTARY: Further evidence of a maximalist approach being taken by American strategists, vis-a vis Iran in the Iraqi political sphere. During this round the U.S. backed selections were very narrowly rejected by the Iraqi parliament. It appears the Iran-backed Badr political organization has been attempting to place a candidate to fill the Minister of Interior post, while rejecting candidates not acceptable to itself and Iran.

Elsewhere, another example of the maximalist approach being taken by the United States vis-a-vis Iran came Monday, with Pentagon spokesman COL Warren stating:
The second objective of the U.S. plan to train and equip moderate Syrian is "an offensive function to increase pressure on ISIL as well as the regime” of Syrian President Bashar.
"We've from the very beginning that the Assad regime has perpetrated horrendous acts against its own population. The moderate opposition was formed as you know in an effort overthrow the Assad regime," Warren said.
American foreign policy goals appear quite ambitious in maximizing the advantage provided by opportunities afforded by the 2014 Northern Iraq Offensive. This multi-track strategy against ISIL Syria, Iran and Iran's allies carries risks, however, in potentially lengthening the struggle against ISIL, as well as the United States becoming  enmeshed in a multi-dimensional war. Moreover, these risk become heightened if, during the course of the U.S.-led war, a situation of "mission creep" takes effect, with American ground troops being deployed within an environment of multi-dimensional conflict.


Nader Uskowi said...

Let’s start with facts before jumping into a conclusion. Gharib, who was nominated for the interior minister, was a former minister in the first Maliki administration, and had changed his party affiliation during that time from Badr Organization to Maliki’s State of Law. The Badr Organizations deputies, who did not excuse Gharib for leaving their party and joining Maliki in 2009, were the main block actively opposing his confirmation, and finally succeeded by one vote, 118-117. The analysis offered here that the rejection by the parliament of Abadi’s nominees for interior and defense ministers was because of U.S. “maximalist” position is so removed from realities of Iraqi politics. The non-confirmation vote was an intra-Iraqi affair; Badr did not want Gharib to be interior minister, and probably preferred to push its own leader, al-Amiri, to take the post. If a foreign power intervened in that process, it probably was Iran, the main backer of Bader.

The defense portfolio was supposed to go to a Sunni, if a Shia was nominated for interior. Here the rejection of Jabiri is probably due to sectarian politics, with many Shia deputies believing that Jabiri was probably too much involved in Sunni politics to serve as country’s defense minister. If that’s the line of thinking, then Adabi is better off to nominate two technocrats into those positions, which might not be a bad idea.

Please also note that in 2010, when Maliki elected into his second term, he also could not get the parliament's approval for those two very ministries, and remained acting interior and defense minister as well as prime minister for the rest of his term; and there were no “maximalist” position by U.S. then regarding the nominees, if anything the American role was minimalist!

In Iraq, particularly the type of analysis offered here is problematic: First, there are so many internal problems due to sectarianism that has brought the country to its knees. Second, if a major power is interfering in all details of Iraqi politics, it is Iran.

B.M.A said...

'second, if a major power is interfering in all details of Iraq politics ,it is Iran' !!!.-

WHAT about the KSA and of course the B.O.D -you are forgetful indeed !.

Nader Uskowi said...

Iraq had become Iran's client state, with the Quds Force "shadow" commander, General Soleimani, practically behaving as the Iranian viceroy in Iraq. KSA and U.S. influence in the country never came close to that of Iran. It's not matter of forgetting, it's about looking at the realities and say it.