In a telling lapse of misjudgment, or a devious ruse of fait accompli
, Maliki suggested the current National Security Advisor, Mouwafeq Rubaei
, as head of the new Commission, only to have the suggestion shot-down when presented to a cabinet vote a couple of days ago. Rubaei is widely detested among Shiite politicians as a self-aggrandizing no-talent who is propped-up by other no-talents in US and British intelligence circles, and Maliki may have known that his candidacy for the job would be rejected by the cabinet, thus allowing him to shrug his shoulders and tell Rubaeiâ€™s western patronsâ€”who have a big say in who gets the roleâ€”that he did the best he could.
Further muddying the waters was the resignation of the Chief of Staff, Gen. Babekir Zebari
, over a dispute with the Defense Minister. Zebari, survived the investigations into the massive corruption scandals
that rocked the Defense Ministry under Allawi's tenure, and this probably happened through the political protection afforded by Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani
, who appointed Zebari to this position in the first case. No one believes that Zebari wasn't involved, and it's a good thing if he's finally gone, especially since he doesn't have any real stature as a leading officer.
Maliki may be secure for now in the fact that no one can agree on his replacement in such a confused, yet healthy, atmosphere of political jockeying
. The sectarian-based coalitions
that emerged from the last elections are breaking down
as the threat of sectarian warfare diminishes further and further, and the Sunni insurgency grinds down to an allowable baseline of violence. But Maliki must act quickly and confidently to put his own stamp on a new cabinet of his own choosing, something that many doubt that he has the personal stamina and brain-power to do.
For now, itâ€™s great for me to watch the Islamist parties fumble
, with no dominant â€˜leaderâ€™ emerging. Everyone is being forced to play politics within the rules of the game; no more military coups, no more â€˜Great Leadersâ€™
. The Sadrists have shown themselves to be as inept and corrupt as all the rest, and the shrill Sunni voices are being supplanted by new political forces that can live with the huge cascade of change begun on April 9, 2003.
But Iraqis are still suffering from the ineptness of their public servants, and new and empowered managerial talent must be harnessed to improve basic services and revive the economy, and it's immoral to keep Iraqis waiting much longer.
The best case scenario would be early parliamentary elections in six months
, with Maliki acting as a care-taker. But all the parties understand that this may greatly diminish their gains and will work to prevent it from happening; the Shiites will probably be unable to depend on a blessing from Grand Ayatollah Sistani this time around given their poor performance in power. An even-better scenario would be to turn parliamentary seats into district representations rather than slate-backed,
but again, the current lack-lustre MPs would refuse that.
Congressional critics and the western media may want to play up this political confusion as a sign that Bush is not making progress in Iraq
, and they predictably will. But a fairer analysis would conclude that these are all healthy signs of the re-introduction of politics into Iraqi life
. It may not even be as pretty as sausage-making, yet it puts to rest the Middle Eastern instinctual impulse for a short-cut to power through violence and tyranny.
posted by Nibras Kazimi نبراس الكاظمي at 3:06 AM