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Waiting for Autumn - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Five months after the elections, the issue of forming a new government remains to be a puzzle or conundrum. There has been a lot of deliberation and discussion between different political blocs, as well as [foreign] interference and statements, without any sign of progress being made or any indication of a breakthrough being achieved that would translate what happened in the ballot boxes into a political reality and end the current deadlock.

According to recent reports, it seems that we must wait until at least the autumn to see any light at the end of the tunnel, and even this cannot be guaranteed, considering the dangerous and unstable security situation in Iraq, which may further deteriorate in the absence of a clear political landscape.

For their part, the Americans are insisting upon holding to the timetable put in place by the Obama administration to end US troops’ combat operations by the end of the current month, reducing the number of their troops stationed in Iraq to 50,000. The US has other [military] commitments in Afghanistan, not to mention problems as a result of the financial crisis, and therefore there is a need to reduce the cost of the two wars.

On the other hand, if by the end of the month – the deadline set for the US forces to end their combat operations – a new legitimate and effective Iraqi government which has a clear political message has failed to emerge, this would mean that there is a real threat of a political and security vacuum emerging in Iraq that could be exploited by the forces of violence and chaos from all parties. This would create a new nightmare in Iraq, and nobody can know the extent that this will harm the future of Iraq and the security of the region as a whole.

There is an even greater danger, and that is the danger of the ordinary Iraqi citizen losing his confidence in the political process as a whole, and there are signs of this happening. The previous election saw large voter turnout, with people voting for the candidate or party they believed would best serve their interests. Allawi’s bloc received the highest number of votes, which indicates that the ordinary Iraqi voter voted for modernism, avoiding sectarianism, according to the make-up of this [political] bloc. However after many long months, the ordinary Iraqi voter finds that his vote is not being respected or being transformed into a political reality, so if this is the case, how can he have confidence in the political process?

It is not a specific political bloc or trend that will lose with regards to ordinary people losing their confidence in the political process, but rather all the political blocs that took part in the recent elections and won votes that entitle them to enter parliament, as well as the well-known political figures in Iraq. The ordinary Iraqi voter has the right to lose confidence [in the political process] because these leaders were not able to live up to their responsibilities and put the interests of Iraq before their own personal interests. Is it reasonable that the main cause of this crisis is that al-Maliki or his party wants to cling onto power and they are insisting on heading the new government?

There is a lot of talk about partnership [government] and sectarianism, and who should assume what position, and which sectarian deserves to take up this post or that, not to mention the Iranian intervention to impose a specific figure or another [on a specific governmental position]. While there is little talk about [political] programs or plans to give Iraqi youth job opportunities or to improve the services offered by the government whether this is electricity or health, and how to develop the economy of this oil-rich county whose living conditions are like those of a poor country. This is the main role of government, and this is what ensures real security.

Ali Ibrahim

Ali Ibrahim

Ali Ibrahim is Asharq Al-Awsat's deputy editor-in-chief. He is based in London.

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