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Iraq’s Upcoming Parliamentary Elections – Challenges and Opportunities

By: Meir Javedanfar

26/01/2009

The Iraqi parliamentary elections are scheduled for Saturday and the Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki has a lot to win and lose from its results.

Some Iraqis see him as a strong leader, whose authority was needed to bring the country together after the civil war.

Others see him as someone who is a milder version of Saddam Hussein; authoritarian and power thirsty.

The results of the elections are also likely to have an impact on Obama’s plans to withdraw troops from Iraq.

The withdrawal is a serious concern for Iraqis, especially for Maliki.

As mentioned in a recent article in NYT:

“If Bush and Obama were to suddenly leave, then Baathist officers would surround the Green Zone and kill all the leaders,” said Mohammed Ridha al-Numani, a Shiite cleric who has known Mr. Maliki since they lived in Iran in exile in the 1980s.

Iran will also be watching to see how the new parliament will represent its interests, and so will the Saudis who also want a slice of the Iraqi pie.

What is very interesting is the entrance of Iraqi tribal leaders into Iraqi politics which the elections will facilitate.

The piece below by Alissa J Rubin of NYT provides a good description and analysis of the challenges ahead in the elections.

To read click here


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