Iraq Elections

Polls have only just closed for the first Iraqi elections since defeat of Daesh.

Results will take 48 hours. Negotiations between parties and coalitions for formation of government could take much longer.

Preliminary reports indicate Sadrists did unexpectedly well, in coalition with the revisionist Iraqi Communist Party. Described as “patriotic” and anti-corruption because social basis among poor Shia and denounces both US and Iran. I suspect more like “Trumpist”.

Current Prime Minister Abadi said to have done “unexpectedly” badly. Actually the previous election winner “State of Law” coalition led by Shia Dawa party headed by Maliki was forced to accept compromise Prime Minister to avoid splitting under combined onslaught from US led West and Iran to facilitate unity with Sunnis against Daesh. Successfuly suppressed both Daesh and opportunist uprisings by Sadrist militia thugs and subordinated Iranian militias to national government. Ran as two coalitions in this election with Dawa members free to support either. What would be VERY surprising is if the two wings combined failed to outpoll the Sadrist/revisionist coalition and all the others.

Results will be available at wikipedia:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraqi_parliamentary_election,_2018

There really isn’t much to say before results.

I am mainly posting this to draw attention to the importance of the results and the truly remarkable phenomena of how open the genuine party contest has been despite the mass murder campaign from Baathist and Islamo-fascists. This highlights the extreme viciousness of the pseudoleft who bitterly opposed the emergence of democracy in Iraq.

Even the opportunists of the revisionist Iraqi Communist Party were not as bad the entire western pseudoleft. While nominally opposing the invasion they in fact helped setup the interim governing authority and new constitution. But for everyone pretending to be “left” and not actually living under fascist terror a clear choice was made that Iraqis should be left to deal with fascist terror by themselves.

The same choice has naturally been made for Syrians but the forces promoting that view in alliance with the rest of the far right in the west are even more discredited and even less likely to be mistaken for anything even mildly progressive.

26 thoughts on “Iraq Elections

  1. The latest I have heard is that al-Sadr’s ‘Sairoun movement’ – or ‘On the Move’ – has won. It brought together a popular front opposed to corruption, which from all accounts was and is widespread and holding back progress in Iraq, and opposed to sectarianism. Thus its ranks include secular Shia and Sunnis – and the Iraqi Communist Party, a revisionist party. (It opposed both the old fascist regime and the US led invasion to overthrow it – but then participated in the democratic process and institutions established via the regime change. It seems to have regained some popularity as a result of this participation).

    The Sairoun movement directed its appeal to the poor in Iraq, of whom there are many, and also to nationalism. A bit like populist Trump in the US. But in Iraq, this means a distancing from Iran and Sadr made it clear he is opposed to Assad in Syria and opposed to the use of Iraq’s armed forces there.

    This article from ‘The New Arab’ is worth reading:
    https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/comment/2018/5/15/is-sadr-poised-to-lift-iraq-out-of-sectarianism

    Excerpt: “Sadr’s platform has been dazzlingly simple: Replace a ruling elite that relies on sectarian division and which corruptly gorges itself on Iraq’s resources, with a non-sectarian, technocratic government that will bridge divides and root out corruption.

    “They want the kind of transitional government that Iraq was never allowed to have – the post-occupation Iraqi government went from Saddam’s fascist tyranny to a formally democratic system that relied on sectarian division and the isolation of minorities”.

    I don’t agree with the last bit, about the formal democracy requiring sectarian division. It was more a way of overcoming it, as the latest federal election in Iraq may be showing.

    And, just to rub it in the noses of the pseudo-leftists who opposed the war: this could not be happening without the overthrow of the old regime, which required the US-led invasion acting in the interests of all anti-fascist pro-democracy Iraqis.

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  2. Well I don’t think that its time to panic yet the Sadr lead alliance has won the biggest slice of votes but as Alawi learnt in 2014 this doenst always translate into government benches. We have a couple of weeks of horse trading ahead and hopefully Sadr and Abadi can come up with something workable. The Sadrists are interesting on the one hand they hold power in some provinces and have impressed people with good governance but there is a big gap between provincial power and national power, at the national level they get command of and army. Speaking of armies Amiri controls one called the Popular Mobilization Forces and these forces represent a real threat. Sadr wants them incorporated into the army and Amiri and his Iranian backers want them to remain independent along the lines of Hezbollah in Lebanon. Iran might cause trouble “Speaking at an event alongside former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki – arguably the fiercest rival of Sadr – Ali Velayati, chief advisor to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, warned that “the Islamic awakening will not allow the return of communists and liberals to power.”” Not allow communists and liberals to return to power is a big call from a neighboring country. Anyhow back to the other hand of the Sadrists they have a side which is very nasty in itself, it was not without some justification the the US occupation forces issued a kill or capture order on the person who is now the most powerful politician in Iraq.
    BTW theres still some fun to be had al-Zaidi still has a chance of a seat funny if hes sitting in parliament and Maliki is out on his arse. “Maliki lost approximately 85 percent of his support compared with the 2014 elections. That is an incredible fall from grace for a former prime minister of eight years who now may not even have a spot in the new government. Hundreds of Iraqis gathered in central Baghdad on Sunday night, chanting “Bye-bye, Maliki.””

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  3. If Iraq gets lucky Ali Dawai Lazem will be the next Prime Minister. If it gets really lucky the PMU’s will hand in their weapons and disband
    Heres a bit about Ali Dawai Lazem
    Ali Dawai Lazem: The 53-year-old governor of southern Iraq’s impoverished Maysan province since 2009 is said to be the choice for prime minister of the Sadr list, which — with an estimated 54 seats — received the largest bloc in the May 12 election. “Having the backing of the winning list and Sadr is a big added advantage,” says another Iraqi scholar.

    Lazem was the Sadrists’ nominee for prime minister in 2014, and he is seen as hardworking, honest, and a man of the people. Whereas most Iraqi politicians shuttle between barricaded compounds in armored cars, he is famous for donning coveralls, heading into the streets of Amara, the capital of Maysan province, and sweating alongside construction workers.

    His accomplishments as governor have made him something of a national folk hero. Maysan now has electricity for more hours each day than Baghdad. Still some say he lacks substance and traditional credentials. According to a report in the New York Times, he grew up in Iraq’s southern marshlands, served time in jail under Saddam Hussein’s regime, and got a job working at a sugar factory despite having a university degree in Islamic studies. Still, he has his critics. “How does it make sense for a governor to spend his time sweeping streets?” wonders one Iraqi analyst. “If he was effective, he would be spending his time shaping policy and making sure that other people are picking up the trash.”

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  4. Voting results are in but governmental outcomes could take a LOT longer. Sadrists are largest bloc but still only one sixth of total. Reports that largest party has “won” are a frequent misconception by journalists from countries with an essentially two party system as a result of single member electorates. Doesn’t work that way in most of the world and especially not in Iraq where electoral system is purely proportional and parties are exceptionally fragmented (thus written off as “sectarian quotas” imposed by US invasion according to idiots).

    Any journalist describing Sadrists as anti-sectarian confirms they know nothing whatever about Iraqi politics. Unfortunately this also applies to sunni arabic journalists and especially pan-arabists like al araby. I don’t even speak Arabic, have not attempted to follow what is available in serious english analysis for a long time and have not seen anything worth taking seriously since the election results. But I do know enough to not imagine that Sadrists and anybody allied with them will have a leading role in government.

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  5. That last sentence is a bit tortured but I think that you are saying that Sadr cant play a leading role in the government. Well we shall see. Lets guess that the main issue in negotiations is Iran and why not Iran has proxy armies in Iraq and Iranian leaders have said that they wont let a government be formed that contains Communists and Liberals so we could see a straight divide pro Iran v anti Iran. Anti Iran Sadr 54, Victory 42, KPD 25, National Alliance 21, Decision 14 = 156
    Pro Iran Conquest 47, PKU 18, State of Law 25, National Wisdom 19 =109
    Now this assumes that the Kurds will split but I dont think that they will I think that the PUK will abandon its traditional ties to Iran because they hold Kurdish unity to be more important they will have to swallow hard because uniting with victory after what happened when the army took Kirkuk
    That would give the Sadr lead block 174 and government or Victory could go into the pro Iran group and they might be able swing it the other way.
    Iraq has had a decade of pro Iranian government Im hoping that Sadr does play a leading role in the next government I would hate for Iraq to endure more of the same. The 2 leading blocks are covered in blood both ran Shia death squads but it is a good sign that they have dropped the weapon and picked up the ballot despite both still maintaining para military armies.
    ps Abadi is getting a lot of publicity over his discussions with Sadr now this might be genuine or it might be so that he has more bargaining power when he talks to Amiri. We will know when the smoke clears

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  6. Not much point discussing Iraqi politics that I don’t know much about. Certainly no point at all discussing with anybody who thinks PUK and State of Law are pro-Iran or that Sadr is anti-Iran in any meaningful sense relevant to government formation. Iran and US both have some influence. But neither is remotely central to Iraqi politics. Iran certainly has more influence than US and does have major influence on Badr corps and some Iraqi Shia militias and their coalition Fateh alliance (“Conquest”) but they are not merely “proxies” (nor is Lebanon’s Hezbollah although it is perhaps closer). This Fateh alliance includes some Sadrist militias. Iran used to have perhaps more influence on Supreme Council, but Amiri’s “National Wisdom”, like others is a result of ongoing realignments.

    Looking at Iraqi politics through the lense of pro and anti Iranian proxies is result of western and especially US ignorance and blinkers typical of both mainstream and “stoppers” (though singing the praises of a Sadrist as “hardworking, honest … national folk hero” is in a category all of its own).

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    • PS It was KDP that pushed the “independence” referendum that resulted in central government reasserting control over Kirkuk. PUK promptly withdrew from Kirkuk when told to do so by army as they understood the situation was untenable. As a result nothing much happened so there is no great grudge about it. There are neither “traditional ties to Iran” nor feelings of solidarity with KDP that would inhibit PUK from joining with most likely core of future government – Dawa (Victory plus State of Law).

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  7. What I meant by traditional ties is stuff like Halabja. In the closing days of the Iran-Iraq war the PUK with Iranian support liberated Halabja. Saddam then bombed Halabja with chemical weapons. The Iranians sent humanitarian support. During the civil war between the KDP and the PUK Iran supported the PUK. Saddam supported the KDP. I think that this constitutes traditional ties plus where did Jalal Talibani flee to when necessary, he went to Iran. You may be correct that the Kurds wont need to swallow hard about Kirkuk and yes you are correct that the referendum was mainly a KPD thing but its still Kirkuk and has special significance for Kurds
    As to me singing the praises of Lazem the Sadrist governor of Maysan province well its not just me the current Iraqi Prime Minister Abadi described Maysan as a model of good administration.
    Your suggestion that the next government will have at its core Victory, State of Law and Kurds KPD and PUK well thats 109 seats well short of whats needed for a majority.
    As to not wanting to discuss stuff with such an dolt as me well I beg your indulgence as I find that the best method of learning comes through discussing stuff. Im happy to be corrected by people who know more I just wish that more people would discuss. Ive been around the left long enough to know that people learn to keep quiet rather than embarrass themselves.

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    • I agree with the last paragraph. But I don’t know enough about Iraqi politics to express strong opinions about outcomes while you think you do. You accurately indicated that I merely “suggested” Dawa would form the core with PUK not inhibiting from joining them. But you not only did not just leave it as I said it but expresing my views in your language threw in something I didn’t say at all about KDP. Although I agree with learning through discussion of opposing views and you do sometimes help get such discussion going, I find it tiresome with you as you are not generally “happy to be corrected” and do not generally acknowledge when a factual error or a distortion of position taken by others is pointed out to you.

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  8. Do I really express strong opinions about outcomes? I started my reply to you by saying “lets guess” about what the main dividing line will be. Now this “guess” was based on 2 facts, 1 That Sadr had campaigned on reducing Iranian influence and 2 that a high official in the Iranian government had stated that Iran would not allow the Sadr block to form the next government. I stand by my “guess” If anyone has a better idea about what question the next government will coalesce around I would like to know it.

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    • Even in Australia I would not attempt to “guess” what the main political dividing lines will be based on statements by any one of the contending campaigns, let alone statements by “a high official” in some other government.

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    • PS The two “facts” cited would rather more tend to indicate that an important dividing line will be about minimizing Sadr’s influence on the government. Actually becoming the largest bloc gives the other 5/6 strong reasons to take countermeasures.

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    • And, 3 hours later despite responding with more on your guesses, you have still not bothered to add a PS acknowledging my correction of your misquote that you added the KDP to my list of which did not include it.

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  9. At first I wasn’t sure what you were referring to and then I went off to work and was without computer. You drew up list and I added KDP I’m still at work and haven’t got figures in front of me but OK you drew up core grouping and I added KDP to it probably because I believe that the Kurds will act as one eventually but I may be wrong. I put the number at 109 but now it is significantly less if we don’t count the biggest Kurdish Party.

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    • Fine. Noticing when a correction is made will make you significantly less irritating and more likely to successfully engage discussion. (I cannot resist adding that even better of course would be to avoid needing correction by being VERY careful to understand exactly what others are saying. That of course is an illustration that I know I am also irritating, but in different ways.)

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  10. I agree that I can avoid the need for correction by being VERY careful. Normally I let the errors of others pass but seeing that I need to be VERY careful maybe Im not alone. In this thread on 22 May 12.07 Arthur said….”Amiri’s National Wisdom” Whooo I thought when I first read that doesnt Arthur know that Ammar al-Hakim runs National Wisdom and that Hadi Al-Amiri runs Fatah Alliance. As I said small error and prepared to make nothing of it. This is what we have been reduced too nit picking.

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    • Not nitpicking. I did confuse the names. Meant the previous leader of Iran aligned Supreme Council al Hakim. As I understand it (which is not much) Fateh Alliance led by Al-Amiri has elements more dependent on Iran for militia logistics and National Wisdom less aligned so cannot assume they would be part of same pole as “pro-Iranian” now even if they were once.

      The thing to be VERY careful of is restating other people’s views which you frequently do in an irritating way. Above comment indicates you still don’t get the difference between nit picking mistakes and finding it is not worth the trouble to discuss with people who wont acknowledge when they have misrepresented somebody else’s position and thus wasted their time on having to make a correction.

      BTW you DO frequently nitpick, including phrasing that isn’t a mistake but that you don’t understand. That is NOT particularly irritating. The misrepresenting and failing to acknowledge corrections to MISREPRESENTATION is EXTREMELY irritating. Your nitpicking is only mildly irritating.

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  11. Sadr will play a leading role in government because he is a very clever politician. Heres a man who lead an anti US insurgency but who when ISIL was at Baghdad’s door was OK with US forces fighting alongside Iraqi forces. Heres a man who fled to Iran only to return and campaign against Iranian influence. He’s always been underestimated, as a younger person he gained the nickname “Ayatollah Atari” because he loved video games and people thought that he lacked intelligence.
    ” BY 2015, A GRAY-HAIRED and more muted Sadr had carved out a niche for himself as an anti-sectarian Shiite committed to a functional Iraqi state. That summer, protests broke out across Iraq against the government’s epic failures to provide security, jobs and even basic services like electricity. Sadr shrewdly reached out to the communists and secular reform activists leading the protests. He sent emissaries to Sunnis who felt disenfranchised from the state.

    Out of those early meetings an enduring alliance took shape. He took aboard the suggestions of the seasoned reform activists, and decided that what Iraq needed most of all was fresh faces: qualified, independent professionals who could run its eroding government. The housecleaning began inside his own movement. Sadr stunned his parliamentary delegation, telling them he wouldn’t allow any of them to stand for reelection. His successful slate of candidates this year consisted entirely of “technocrats,” people with managerial experience but not any disqualifying political history. Some of Sadr’s own lieutenants questioned the move, arguing that political connections and party backing are crucial for getting things done in Iraq’s fractious and corrupt government, but Sadr was adamant.

    He visited Saudi Arabia and endorsed warmer relations between Baghdad and Riyadh, vowing to balance Iraq’s position among the foreign powers with a hand in its politics and security.”
    This guy has got serious political smarts he calls militias into existence and disbands them. He creates politicians and then slides in a completely new set of faces. Its staggering to think that he dismissed all his previous members of parliament and then won the most seats with a brand new bunch.

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  12. PS I forgot to mention that Sadr has supporters among Kurds. Not only was he against the military taking Kirkuk but his militia was held in high esteem when they were eradicating ISIL as this quote from a Kurdish pundit acknowledges. “Saraya al-Salam was the only Shiite group not involved in attacking or looting Kurdish houses and properties and instead became the protector of them,” said Qurbany. “Hence, I am optimistic that I am going to see a strong Kurdistan in the future.” Saraya al-Salam being the name of Sadr’s militia.

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  13. One this is a conversation between willing participants and I can present material any way I want and anyway the moderator will allow.
    Two links are outdated because as your link to the Boston Times shows they often don’t work, they are outdated because you can high-lite a bit of text and with 2 clicks you have the article plus they are outdated because over time they break so if you go look at an old argument often the link no longer works whereas if you cut and paste the relevant argument is always there and with 2 clicks you can see the whole article.
    Three you go on about me making mistakes but mistakes are useful. OK I added KDP to your core group list it can easily be corrected just say hey Steve KDP wernt on my list but the useful bit to me is that I assume KDP and PUK will end up on the same list now I have to question that assumption and isnt that what arguing is all about?
    You go on and on about me knowing nothing well OK point taken give it a rest pal. Ill be happy to stop contributing as soon as some knowledgeable people turn up and I can listen more but right now trying to provoke a discussion seems like the best path forward.

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    • Not sure what it is supposed to be closer to. Tends to confirm my view that Sadr anti-Iran posturing is ludicrous and that his success (and that of the militias) will tend to line up the rest against them, with the two Dawa lists as core. That could of course turn out to be wrong but the announcement seems more significant for the absence of any sign of alliance of either of them with either wing of Dawa. Anyway, I am not attempting to follow as pointless, will read final result when it is in (which may also be delayed by recount and other disruptions).

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