IRAQ - Resurgence In The Shi'ite World - Part 8 - Sectarian War Again.With the April 21 selection of Islamist leader Jawad al-Maliki as PM-designate, Iraqi politicians face the task of putting together a national unity government in a country where both state and society are frayed by months of sectarian violence Sectarian violence or sectarian strife is violence inspired by sectarianism, that is, between different sects of one particular mode of thought, not necessarily religious (e.g. . Maliki has a month to form a cabinet and win parliament' approval, though he said he only needed two weeks to form a cabinet. Iraqi leaders paid scant attention to deadlines in the past.
Iraqi politicians are hoping to ride on the surge of momentum given by the breakthrough in the political process which ended two months of stalemate caused by Kurdish and Sunni objections to renomination of the incumbent, Ibrahim al-Ja'fari, as the candidate of the Shi'ite-led United Iraqi Alliance The United Iraqi Alliance (Arabic: الائتلاف العراقي الموحد; transliterated: al-I'tilāf al-`Irāqī al-Muwaḥḥad (UIA UIA Universidad Iberoamericana (México)
UIA Union of International Associations
UIA United Iraqi Alliance
UIA University of Antwerp
UIA Union Internationale des Avocats ). Though Maliki comes from Ja'fari's Da'wa faction and is a close ally of the incumbent, members of other groups say he is more of a negotiator than Ja'fari and is liked by the US.
Iraqi politicians describe Maliki - who spent time in exile in Iran and Syria to escape Saddam's Ba'thist dictatorship - as one of the architects of several joint policy platforms Shi'ites, Kurds and Sunnis approved in the past month. They are aimed at giving all parties in the government a chance to participate in key decision-making - essentially confidence-building measures Confidence-building measures (CBMs) are certain techniques which are designed to lower tensions and make it less likely that a conflict would break out through a misunderstanding, mistake, or misreading of the actions of a potential adversary. .
A main challenge will be allocation of the defence and interior ministries, which control Iraq's security forces. The latter in particular is accused of being a haven for Shi'ite militiamen, some of whom are alleged to have participated in sectarian killings. US diplomats have been adamant that Iraq's next interior minister not have any militia associations. Maliki said both ministries will be led by neutral figures.
Maliki made militias one of the key points of his April 22 acceptance speech, declaring that "arms should be in the hand of the government", and said he would try to implement a law to accelerate "the merging of militias with the armed forces". He will have to rein in to check the speed of, or cause to stop, by drawing the reins.
to cause (a person) to slow down or cease some activity; - to rein in is used commonly of superiors in a chain of command, ordering a subordinate to moderate or cease some activity deemed excessive.
See also: Rein Rein allied forces, such as Jaysh al-Mahdi, a militia loyal to radical Shi'ite mullah mullah
Muslim title applied to a scholar or religious leader, especially in the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent. It means “lord” and has also been used in North Africa as an honorific attached to the name of a king, sultan, or member of the nobility. Muqtada al-Sadr Muqtada al-Sadr (مقتدى الصدر Muqtadā aṣ-Ṣadr , and SCIRI's Badr Organisation.
The nomination of the Shi'ite for PM came alongside the re-election of Kurdish President Jalal Talabani, and of Sunni Mahmoud al-Mashhadani Mahmoud Dawud al-Mashhadani (Arabic: محمود المشهداني) is an Iraqi politician and the former Speaker of the Iraqi Council of Representatives. as speaker of parliament. In a continuation of a sectarian spoils-division, Talabani's two vice-presidents are Sunni Arab and Shi'ite. Mashhadani's two deputies are Kurdish and Shi'ite. The Iraqi List The Iraqi List (Arabic: al-Qayimaal Iraqia) is a political party list in the Iraqi National Assembly election, 2005, consisting of mainly secular Shia. It is dominated by the Iraqi National Accord led by former exile and interim prime minister Iyad Allawi. of ex-PM Iyad Allawi, the fourth most powerful party in parliament which stands for secularism sec·u·lar·ism
1. Religious skepticism or indifference.
2. The view that religious considerations should be excluded from civil affairs or public education. , did not receive any of the key posts.
After Maliki's appointment, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said: "This is a good day for Iraq. This is someone with whom we can work".
Incorporating the Sunnis into government will prove a challenge, with Shi'ites suspicious of Sunni parties' ties to insurgents Insurgents, in U.S. history, the Republican Senators and Representatives who in 1909–10 rose against the Republican standpatters controlling Congress, to oppose the Payne-Aldrich tariff and the dictatorial power of House speaker Joseph G. Cannon. . Shi'ite leaders had initially rejected Tareq al-Hashemi, the Sunnis' early favourite for speaker, as too "sectarian". Rather than choose a more moderate candidate, however, the main Sunni bloc in parliament nominated Masshadani, perceived as a hardline Islamist. The two deputy speaker posts went to Khaled al-Attiya, a Shi'ite, and Aref Tayfour Aref Tayfour is the Deputy Speaker of the Iraqi National Assembly. A member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, he was elected to the post by the Assembly on 22 April. He also served as the Deputy President of the National Assembly under the Iraqi Transitional Government. , a Kurd.
Maliki on April 27 won the endorsement Grand Ayatullah Ali al-Sistani - the top Shi'ite religious authority in Iraq - for his plan to disband dis·band
v. dis·band·ed, dis·band·ing, dis·bands
To dissolve the organization of (a corporation, for example).
1. the militias, which the US believes is the key to calming sectarian strife and halting the country's slide towards civil war. But violence flared across a wide area of Iraq on April 27, as Ms Rice and Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld departed after two days of talks in Baghdad with Maliki and other Iraqi officials. In Baghdad, gunmen assassinated as·sas·si·nate
tr.v. as·sas·si·nat·ed, as·sas·si·nat·ing, as·sas·si·nates
1. To murder (a prominent person) by surprise attack, as for political reasons.
2. the sister of Tareq al-Hashimi - a day after he endorsed the use of force to quell Sunni-led insurgents. Three Italian soldiers and one Romanian were killed in a bombing in southern Iraq, and insurgents initiated a series of attacks north-east of Baghdad.
The endorsement of Maliki's plan came during his meeting with Sistani in Najaf. Sistani told Maliki that security should be his top priority. A statement from Sistani's office said: "Therefore, weapons must be exclusively in the hands of government forces and these forces must be built on a proper national basis so that their loyalty is to the country alone, not to political or other sides". Maliki plans to integrate militias into the army and the police. To ensure their loyalty to the central government, he wants to appoint defence and interior ministers without links to militias.
Outlining a broad plan for effective governance, Sistani told Maliki that the government's first task "is fighting insecurity and putting an end to the terrorist acts that threaten innocents with death and kidnapping". Sistani added that the new cabinet needed "capable and honest people who have a good reputation and care about national interests, not personal, religious or sectarian interests". He said special attention needed to be paid to fighting corruption and getting infrastructure, like water and electricity, "back up and running".
At the end of their trip - which the young mullah Sadr branded as a "shocking intervention in Iraqi affairs" - Rice and Rumsfeld called on Iraqi leaders to usher democracy in the country. Before flying out of Baghdad, Ms Rice said: "This is Iraq's time and the time for Iraq's newly elected leaders to take on these responsibilities and to represent the desires and the aspirations of the Iraqi people who voted in large numbers, who faced down terrorists in order to vote and express themselves".