So . . . my instincts about Nouri al-Maliki – instincts I had slowly repressed after watching his State of Law Party go eye to eye with the Iranian-tinged elements in Iraq – were right after all.
While my head was turned towards the post-election fun in London, Maliki essentially tells all the people who voted for him as the religious alternative to the Iranians, “never mind” (New York Times):
(Maliki) formed a post-election alliance with another Shiite bloc, making it the largest coalition in Parliament . . . most politicians believe that the new, broader Shiite alliance will take the lead in naming a prime minister. The new Shiite bloc is just four seats short of a majority in the 325-member Parliament.
The “other Shiite bloc” is the Tehran-linked Iraqi National Alliance. In effect, the new post-election bloc is the some old United Iraqi Alliance that was best known for driving the country into the ground and helplessly watching Iran and al Qaeda carve up the country until President Bush reversed course in 2007 and began focusing on the mullahcracy’s meddling.
If anything, the new NIA is even worse - a majorirty of its 70 seats went to Sadrists.
Keep in mind, Maliki’s entire campaign was based on the fact that he had changed from those dark, terrible days; his old allies were supposedly his biggest rivals.
Now, it’s all revealed to be a joke.
The Sunnis will be furious; Iyad Allawi already is. They have every right to be.
The only benefit to come from this is that everyone now knows who Maliki really is. He already tried to fool us once. He won’t be able to do it again. Moreover, Allawi – if he can’t be Prime Minister – has a chance to be the most dynamic opposition leader Iraq has ever had.
Still, there is a slim chance Allawi can end up PM. Watch Fadhila. They only have six seats within NIA, but if they split off, it will be a sign of division that Allawi could exploit. Every little bit helps.