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Iraqiya Bloc for Speaker? A Cunning Plan - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The idea of giving the position of speaker of parliament to the Iraqiya bloc can only be described as a clearly cunning plan by the State of Law coalition that is led by Nouri al-Maliki, for this idea would see the strengthening of the concept of sectarian quotas and more.

According to the State of Law coalition’s Hassan al-Saneid – who is close to al-Maliki – the coalition’s position is that the presidency of Iraq should be allocated to the Kurds, whilst the position of speaker of parliament and president of the National Security Council should be allocated to the Iraqiya bloc. This means that the State of Law coalition wants to implement several points, each no less dangerous than the last.

The first point is that ensuring the allocation of the presidency for the Kurds, the position of prime minister for the Shiites, and the position of parliamentary speaker for the Sunnis is something that would strengthen the concept of sectarian quotas in Iraq forever. However the Iraqi constitution clearly states that every Iraqi citizen has the right to stand for the premiership, therefore the party that won the elections should be the one to form a government and nominate a prime minister; and this applies to the Iraqiya bloc with regards to its achievements at the last elections.

The other point here is that should the Iraqiya bloc accept the position of speaker of parliament, this would mean that Iyad Allawi is the candidate of the Sunnis, especially as the State of Law coalition wants to strengthen the idea that the post of parliamentary speaker belongs to the Sunnis. This is very dangerous because Allawi did not just obtain the votes of the Sunnis, but rather the votes of the moderates from all sections of Iraq. The State of Law coalition want to strengthen the idea that the Iraqiya bloc – and therefore Dr. Iyad Allawi – are the choice of the Sunnis, in a clear attempt to distort the image of the Iraqiya bloc in the eyes of the people of Iraq, and in the eyes of all those who voted for the Iraqiya bloc from all sections of Iraq.

Should the Iraqiya bloc accept the position of parliamentary speaker, this would allow the State of Law coalition and other blocs who want to strengthen the concept of sectarianism, to prepare for a future move to strengthen the concept of Shiite rule in Iraq. This is because once the Iraqiya bloc – which is led by moderate Shiite Allawi – accepts the position of parliamentary speaker, even via a Sunni figure, this would allow them [the State of Law coalition] to build on this [the Shiite political allocations] and demand that the position of speaker of parliament be allocated to a Shiite bloc at the next elections. This strengthens the concept that rule belongs to the Shiites in Iraq, and this is an opinion that was predominate in previous statements made by Sadr al-Din al-Qabanji, the Imam of Najaf, and a leader in the Supreme Islamic Council of Iraq, when he spoke about “the Shiite right to rule in Iraq” stating that “this is a right and duty, because the Shiites are the majority in Iraq, and we must defend this right.” This is what Iran is attempting to establish today with regards to its commitment to al-Maliki, and the pressure it exerted on Moqtada al-Sadr to accept him, as well as forcing [Ammar] al-Hakim defend himself against those who have accused him of dividing the Shiite ranks in Iraq [by rejecting al-Maliki’s nomination].

Therefore, the issue is not one of reaching power at any cost, but rather the objective must be preserving the integrity of Iraq and its political process; this is something that will not be achieved through devotion to the system of sectarian quotes, but rather through [sectarian] diversity according to the results of the election, and peace and genuine [political] deliberations over power. This is something that the Iraqis, the Arabs, and above all the Americans who toppled the old regime and sponsored the emergence of the new one, must keep in mind otherwise Iraq will remain in a state of permanent futility that remains a threat to everybody.

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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