Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Maliki To Launch Political Surge?

By Cernig

Regional media are saying that "in a few days", Iraqi PM Maliki will anounce a new five-part plan for Iraqi reconcilliation. The cynical (who, me?) will suggest that Maliki could have done this when Petreaus' surge began but that it will be announced now so that in September it can be used as an excuse to ask for just one more Friedman Unit by the Bush administration who already have the plans to keep U.S. forces in place past the New Year.

KUNA has the best roundup of the plan:

The governmental Al-Sabah newspaper Tuesday said the Iraqi premier would launch his campaign within days and that it comes into five segments. The objective is to bolster national unity and adopting the recommendations of the recent Sharm El-Sheikh meetings, the paper said.

The government publication added the campaign comes in response to demands within Iraq that the government, as well as other political entities, actively contribute to efforts at viable solutions for crises and avoid blaming external parties for the state's troubles.

According to MP Abbas Al-Bayyati, "the plan involves expanding the scope of political participation to include parties that are not represented in parliament or the cabinet." The plan also involves furthering the national reconciliation initiative and extending it to parties and individuals who hold views opposed to those of government but do not engage in violence.

The government is to open communication channels with armed groups, reconsider the debaathification process and efforts, and giving room for contributions of local blocs and powers who would not take part in the political process.

The plan also involves implementation of mechanisms to create balance in state institutions so that these can serve their set purposes as well as finding means to involve all in the decision making process on important issues.

The plan also involves measures to protect ministries against influence of political and sectarian tug and pull through ministerial reforms to bring qualified technocrats to the portfolios and also through reconsidering structure of state institutions.

There would be a parallel tough security plan, the MP noted, and the aim would be "final" solutions for militia issues. Al-Bayyati stressed such an approach is overdue and any delay in settling these issues would compromise international commitment to assisting Iraq.

The MP further added that "there is, though somewhat in the background, much effort to support the premier, which is an evident shift from the pre-Sharm El-Sheikh era of strong differences and stances that almost compromised the political situation in Iraq." Observers meanwhile believe responsibilities and duties are more clearly defined now and the political powers would not therefore be able to overweigh the government with political tactics such as walking out of the government or threatening such move to pressure the government on any issue.
Again, cynics would say (who, me?) that the entire thing sounds like it was put together by the powerpoint afficiandos at the White House.

But saying they have a cunning plan is a far cry from actually making it work. The Shiite majority, as now represented by the Maliki government, has a poor record when it comes to unfullfilled promises about reconcilliation - as recently as Maliki's last plan last summer, which had 28 points not just five and going all the way back to the constitution, as Fester has already noted today. It's curious, too, that there's no mention of the oil bill, which is under fire from all sides of Iraqi politics at present.

Lest anyone want to ask why my cynicism should be heeded...anyone remember Mark Steyn after the elections in 2005?

One day Iraq will be a G7 member hosting the Olympics in the world's No. 1 luxury vacation resort of Fallujah, and the Defeaticrat Party will still be running around screaming it's a quagmire. It's not just that Iraq is going better than expected, but that it's a huge success that's being very deftly managed: The timeframe imposed on the democratic process turns out to have worked very well -- the transfer of sovereignty, the vote on a constitutional assembly, the ratification of the constitution, the vote for a legislature -- and, with the benefit of hindsight, it now looks like an ingeniously constructed way to bring the various parties on board in the right order: first the Kurds, then the Shia, now the Sunni.
At the time I wrote :

"A Shiite/Kurdish victory will mean Sunnis have little political leverage to effect change in the constitution, in discrimination or in heavy-handed Shiite tactics. They may well decide that a return to the insurgency in large numbers is their only hope for self-protection. That way, still, lies the very real threat of open civil war and balkanisation."
Mark Steyn is still a hero of the Bush cheerleadering crowd. I'm still an obscure blogger. And the same idiots are still saying "just around the corner".

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