September 25, 2007

A Little Smarter Than People Think

Nouri al-Maliki has managed to ride out some strong political storms in his tenure as Prime Minister, and it hasn't been luck that saw him through them. Even when Sunni and Shi'ite Cabinet members walked off the job and his parliamentary coalition hung by a thread, Maliki has managed to operate from strength, and his new coalition appears to have shed the extremists:

Nearly two months after Sunni Arab ministers walked, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki appears to have weathered a political crisis that once threatened to bring down his government

Using a mix of brinkmanship, political cunning and strong U.S. support, the Shiite leader now appears to have seized the political initiative from his opponents. ...

Six Sunni Arab ministers quit al-Maliki's government in early August over his failure to meet demands that included the release of security detainees not charged with specific crimes, disbanding militias and wider inclusion in decision-making on security issues. ...

However, one of the six ministers who pulled out, Planning Minister Ali Baban, returned to his post last week. He was expelled by the Iraq Accordance Front and is currently in New York with al-Maliki. Another Accordance Front member, deputy prime minister Salam al-Zobaie, met with al-Maliki on Thursday against the advice of his comrades and is said to be considering a comeback.

Maliki has proposed replacing the missing Sunnis with tribal chiefs of the Anbar Awakening. Perhaps sensing that Maliki would win a large public-relations victory in western Iraq by promoting his alliances with the tribes, the Sunni politicians have begun reconsidering their boycott. They won their seats in a different time for Sunnis in Iraq, when their constituencies wanted to undermine Shi'ite rule through insurgencies and alliances with al-Qaeda affiliates. The ground has changed, and the Sunni representatives have not quite caught up.

Maliki's coalition no longer includes the worst of the Shi'ite extremists, Moqtada al-Sadr. He has been shunted off to the sidelines, an affect of his run for the border after the start of the surge. Maliki adroitly aligned himself with Sadr's opponents in the south and then allied them with the Kurds in the north. That coalition has not only kept him in power, but it has given him enough credibility to reach past the Sunni politicians in the National Assembly and work directly with the tribes in the west.

Time Magazine reported not long ago that George Bush felt the need to mentor Maliki and help him learn leadership within a democracy. So far, Bush's tutelage seems to be paying off -- and Maliki may still have more pleasant surprises when the Assembly gets down to serious work. None of it will matter, however, unless the Assembly can show that it can handle its legislative responsibilities.


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Comments (5)

Posted by SoldiersMom | September 25, 2007 10:56 AM

This is more good news CE. Thanks for the post. I'm cautiously optimistic that the tide has begun the turn in our favor.

Posted by kingronjo | September 25, 2007 11:13 AM

Perhaps this is another politician the MSM can misunderestimate. Lord knows they need one now that Pres Bush is about to ride off into the sunset.

But Maliki Derangement Syndrome doesn't roll off the tongue quite as fluidly as BDS. Maybe it sounds better in Arabic.

Posted by Carol Herman | September 25, 2007 12:08 PM

Captain, I'm not so sure!

Bush, in my estimation, has played his cards better than Maliki!

And, Bush wants the Sunnis in Iraq to profit from the oil reserves; while Maliki wants them ALL to flee. Or be dead. And, he has not gotten his way at all!

Sure, Maliki controls the stinking streets of Baghdad. But so what? That's Shi'a shit. And, the Americans haven't invested with the Shi'a.

What clued me in? Well, from here, where I sit, I see the "surge" (which is very successful), is actually America's attempt to help the Sunnis. Now that their bets with Al-Qaeda, went up in flames.

This tooks so much patience on Bush's part, you have no idea!

And, it has also taken YEARS for Americans, here, to adjust to the way Irak will gtet divvy'ed up. Into separate nations. ONE FLAG, though.

The Kurds figured this out, early.

They've been building in Irak. People are amazed at the safety of their streets. And, their progress. But from Michael Totten, I learned more than one year ago; that arabs could not come into Kurdish zones. Not even arabs friendly to Totten. He couldn't lift this barrier. And, it still remains in place.

What's ahead for Maliki? Well,now.

Iran's on the hot seat. And, syria's assad has had both his testicles, removed.

Violence only gets you "so far."

And, Assad still has to deal with the UN. And, it's "investigation" of Harari's murder.

The world's not flat. But if you want to picture it as flat, then you'd see assad flew over the edge; and only his nose is holding him up, from going under.

Iran? The trip to columbia was a disgrace!

How dare a school, full of wacky acadamicians, claim "that" invitation to speak, was done in the name of "freedom." THERE WAS NO TRUTH SPOKEN! No wonder Bollinger insisted on draping the stage in black crepe. And, doing the same with the podium. The midget from Iran could have been standing in a sewer, for all the information transmitted by video. Columbia should be ashamed! That they're not? Shows ya they're just a bunch of affirmative action losers. The time will come.

But Maliki has one thing going, as his Shi'a party is gonna be left holding the 40% bag, in a universe that contracts.

You don't think so?

Well, it was the Kurds who were waiting to see who their partner would be. The sunni. Or the Shia.

Baghdad's in worse shape for it.

Americans have now "pulled" in. And, are not sharing wealth, or infrastructure building, with teh Shi'a.

Dunno how you spell "loss" in that environment. But study the picture. Because it is there.

The Sunnis have let go of their terror, folks.

Stability comes first. But the rewards are already in place. Just ask General Petraeus.

Posted by j | September 25, 2007 4:05 PM

The Dems may want the Assembly to show more but let's look at this another way. Maliki is still in power; Bush did not make the 'Nam mistake of forcibly replacing the leader and Maliki is finding ways to get around his stumbling blocks. Maliki also had the guts to tell off the Democrats a couple of months ago - now that's impressive.

So, let him work it out his way. Remember, the ME has not had representative government anywhere but in Israel. It is a tribal society - heredity counts far more there than here yet they are lurching forward. Iraq's trade history and geographic location as the crossroads between the east and west bode well for the Iraqis b/c historically, they have dealt with many cultures (unlike most Arabs who were isolated much of their history. Yes, they conquered others but then made the others adopt the Arab language, Muslim law, etc. This is not the same as accepting other cultures and doing business with them.).

Bush is smart to guide but not demand; to mentor not berate. We will look back on this time as a turning point. The road forward will be tough but I think Maliki just may pull off this one and the defeatist, dhimmi Democrats will either wake up or fade away. (Of course we have to go through more rounds of the Clinton soap opera but we are resilient, too.) Overall I'm cautiously optimistic.

Posted by Terry Gain | September 25, 2007 7:48 PM

Thank you for this post Ed. The MSM has been content to dismiss Maliki as an incompetent and his task as hopeless. It is however a testament to the incompetence of the American MSM that we know so little about Maliki.

Will it take a series of in-depth intrviews with a conservative blogger for us to learn more about this important actor on the world stage?

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