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Iraq…A Temporary Marriage - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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When Sayyid Ammar al-Hakim said that his party’s alliance with the State of Law coalition was like a permanent Islamic marriage where there is no divorce [Asharq Al-Awsat Talks to Ammar Al-Hakim, 27/05/2010], Asharq Al-Awsat responded by saying that divorce is permissible in Islamic marriages – although this is the most detestable thing that is permitted in Islam – as is polygamy, the followers of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq and the State of Law coalition responded with insults and accusations of treason.

What is clear today – with the noticeable rapprochement between the Iraqiya bloc that is led by Dr. Iyad Allawi, and the State of Law coalition that is led by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, and the talk of an alliance between the two that will lead to the formation of a new Iraqi government – is that the al-Hakim – al-Maliki alliance, or the alliance of the major Shiite parties, is not an alliance where divorce is impossible, but rather it is more like a temporary marriage that has split even before the ink has dried [on the marriage certificate]. This is to be expected, especially as Tehran tried to unite what cannot be brought together, this alliance will not survive because it is built upon sectarian logic rather than the rhetoric of national interests; it is an alliance that is meant to exclude Allawi and the Iraqis who elected him.

It is clear that Mr. Nuri al-Maliki is prepared to ally with anybody so long as such an alliance guarantees him immunity and keeps him in power, even if this is on the edges of power than at the top of the pyramid, especially since al-Maliki recently said that he has no objection to Allawi become the prime minister. This is something that represents development, especially as al-Maliki raised questions over Allawi’s electoral victory, calling for a re-count of votes, and then he came out to question the vote counting mechanism itself, launching an attack on everybody and accusing Allawi of being controlled by foreign powers. However al-Maliki has returned today to say that he has no objection to Allawi becoming prime minister, although it is true that he did qualify this statement with an “if” and a “but” and so it has become clear that al-Maliki is clearing the way to safely step down from power.

From here it is clear that al-Maliki is trying to return to the centre, in preparation for a move in Allawi’s direction, or in other words to ensure that he keeps one foot in power. There is no marriage that does not include the possibility of divorce, as al-Hakim believes, especially as al-Maliki is not moving based upon nationalist principles – which is something that the prime minister’s supporters are attempting to convince us of – but in order to remain in power.

The lesson from all of this is that the Islamist trends in Iraq, and particularly those who are allied through sectarianism, are losing day after day due to their employment of religious – and occasionally sectarian – slogans. This is an indication of short-sightedness, for if they closely examined what is taking place around them they would have found that Iran – which exists upon religious slogans – is politically faltering, and that the Islamist groups in our region – the extremists and those who claim to follow a moderate approach – are isolated. For those who want to govern, what is important is for them to provide the people with security and provisions, not slogans, following the principle of “who feeds them against hunger and gives them security against fear [Surat al Quraish, Verse 4].” Those in Iraq should have learned their lesson from the Iraqi provincial council elections, where it was clear that the Iraqis wanted somebody to provide them with stability, security, and services, not slogans and talk about marriage and divorce.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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