A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Shi‘ite Bloc in Iraq

The agreement between the two main Shi‘ite blocs in Iraq over forming a coalition that would exclude ‘Iyad ‘Allawi's ‘Iraqiyya Bloc could break the logjam left by the electoral stalemate, but not necessarily in a good way.

Reidar Visser on the deal here. He sees it as a step backward, a sectarian Shi‘ite bloc that would presumably try to forge a coalition with the Kurds, leaving Sunnis (which in this context means Arab Sunnis as opposed to Kurds) out in the cold. Juan Cole notes reports that a council of "wise men" chosen by Ayatollah Sistani will choose the candidate for Prime Minister, and that this is being seen as a victory for Iran.

Certainly it's a blow to ‘Allawi's hopes of becoming Prime Minister, and may leave the Sunnis feeling marginalized again after making strides towards finding a role to play. It's probably not the scenario the US Administration would have preferred, and no government has been formed yet, but it certainly looks like a sectarian bloc has been restored.


Anonymous said...

You tell me - Why these so called experts don't report this?


Michael Collins Dunn said...

I'm not an Iraq expert and don't pretend to be, but in part I suspect they don't report it because they don't trust al-Shuruq. I may post later ahout this, but for those reading the comments who don't read Arabic it's a claim that the US and Iran reached agreement on the formation of the Shiite alliance, allegedly through Kurdistan and involving Zalmay Khalilzad and the commander of the Al-Quds force. I'm skepticsl myself.

Michael Collins Dunn said...
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