There’s disagreement now within the media about exactly what Prime Minister Ibrahim Al’Jaafari’s decision on Thursday means.
Helena Cobban over at Just World News even seems to think this could mean another victory for the Sadr/Da’wa Party Bloc.
There are a variety of stories about “what happens next” that I’ll post at the end of this entry. None of them ask the most important question however, “What do the Iraqi people think about all this nonsense?”
Again and again and again, our accepted narratives about Iraq ignore the perspective of those most affected. President Bush says there isn’t a civil war happening and doesn’t need to back it up because, well, when has he ever backed up any claims he’s made?
The mainstream press and certain Iraqi politicians claim there IS a civil war, and their evidence is the alleged self-evidence of 50-60 killings per day, an increase in gun prices, etc.
Unfortunately neither of these perspectives appears built on an understanding or investigation of the Iraqi perspective. Ask the average Iraqi on the street who’s in the parliament, and if he bothers to even consider the question-chances are its not worth his time-he may not even know who the leaders being considered today are.
I’d be willing to bet they will however, for the simple reasons alluded by “Jaguar” at 24 Steps to Liberty:
When the PM had a deadline of a month to form a government, he missed it and took three and a half more months to do so. And the deadline-missing continues.
In Jafariís government, the main posts were distributed as follows:
Ibrahim al-Jafari, Shiite: PM
Rosh Shawees, Kurd: Deputy PM
Ahmed Chalabi, secular: Deputy PM
Galal Talbani, Kurd: President
Adil Abdul Mehdi, Shiite: Vise President
Ghazi al-Yawar, Sunni: Vise President
Masoud Barzani, Kurd: President of Kurdistan region [because Talbani got a presidency post]
Hahcim al-Hasani, Sunni : chairman of the National Assembly
Hussein al-Shehristani, Shiite: deputy chairman of the National Assembly
Arif Tayfour, Kurd: deputy chairman of the National Assembly
Bayan Jabr Solagh, Shiite: Minister of Interior
Sadoun al-Dulaimi, Sunni: Minister of Defense
Hoshyar Zebari, Kurd: Minister of Foreign Affairs
Note that the distribution of posts was based on ethnic background and they are the same people who were in the Governing Council, or members of their parties!
Giving some insight into what Iraqis are thinking about more, Zeyad of “Healing Iraq” is still writing about the conflict in Adhamiya
The Adhamiya battle in a nutshell: Iraqi security forces from the Interior ministry (some believe to be accompanied by militiamen) attempted to enter Adhamiya from the Raghiba Khatoun area around 1 am, Monday. Adhamiya residents and its dozens of watch teams responded with heavy fire and thwarted the perceived attack.
The same, or another, force later attempted to enter from the other side through Omar bin Abdul Aziz Street. The attack was repelled and several vehicles were burnt. 7 to 12 residents were killed in the clash.:
This may not gel with the foreign press’ account of the clashes, but certainly it corroborates with Isam’s email to me on Wednesday. Again and again the foreign press returns to the issues of politics and United States policy in Iraq. This keeps happening because they don’t know what Iraqis think.
My opinion of the Jaafari Prime Minister drama is that it focuses on the wrong issues.
The right issues are the repeated failure of the “democratically elected Iraqi Government” to properly follow its own legislation and dictates.
A short list can be found at 24 Steps to Liberty, in his recent entry, quoted above, and the previous entry to that. Essentially the main issues are:
The constitution was not prepared by the declared date, and was pushed back no less than twice. The elections were held on December 15th, and the Parliament was legislated to seat 3 weeks after the elections were certified. In fact the parliament did not even sit then, it sat 3 days late. And of course then the Prime Minister was supposed to present a platform within 15 days, and then the cabinet within one month after that.
All of these deadlines have been failed and ignored. No international body has taken issue with this, nor has the United States considered this a salient issue in regards to its desire to establish a “democracy.” The only important question for the US is to seat a body of leaders who are tolerant and subservient to US intentions and goals in the region.
In regards to the question of Iraq’s coming(or current?) civil war, I think its important to read this recent piece:
Again, I’d like to call on my readership to consider supporting our next phase, to provide camera equipment to Iraqis, to tell the important stories on the street, and not just those in teh secure halls of the Green Zone. Click the donate button to the right, and give what you can, or even better, send us some digital video or photo equipment! See the “Contact” tab for the information on where to send it, as well as our email address.
Now here are those articles regarding Jaafari’s recent maneuver: