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Iraqi Dinar Buzz Updates

Enorrste Post: G.E.T. (Where We Are as of 8/22/10)
2010-08-22 11:57:01

As we proceed another “few days” into this sea of confusion we see that we are still just a “few days” away from the formation of the new government. Therefore the term “a few days” clearly has a different meaning in Iraq than it does in the US.

Actually they have changed the term from “a few days” to “this week” or even by the “end of this week”, so we can be fairly certain that we won’t see the announcement of the new government now until the end of this coming week.

We do have a positive note in that outgoing ambassador Hill stated that the grand ayatollah Sistani is “doing whatever he can” to expedite the process. His efforts are always behind closed doors, so we should not expect any statements from him during the week.

For poor Mr. Maliki it appears that he has come up short. More to the point, he is now found to be too late and with too little to offer.

We know that the INA had stopped negotiating with him some time ago, insisting that he not be the candidate for the National Alliance. This stalemate has lasted for well over a month now. However, perhaps because he now sees the handwriting on the wall, Maliki sent an olive branch to the INA asking them to re-open negotiations with him. I can assure you that this offer fell on deaf ears.

At the same time Maliki realized, finally, that he had made an inappropriate statement about the Iraqiya List when he called them a “Sunni Coalition”. Allawi insisted that Maliki apologize for his statement which he of course refused to do. But as the days passed from one to the next it became clear to Maliki that he would have to apologize, so he did, by letter, yesterday. He also requested that the State of Law and the Iraqiya List re-open negotiations as well. However, once again, his efforts have proven to be too little and too late. Allawi has ignored his request outright.

In the meantime we are now finally getting some statements about what has been happening behind closed doors. Allawi has been quietly negotiating with Al-Sadr, the Shiite leader from within the National Alliance. Fortunately these negotiations have proven successful and Al-Sadr has now come out publicly. He has not only announced that he now backs Allawi for the Prime Minister position, but he has also made a statement that the new government will be formed by the end of this week. He has clearly stated that the new government will consist of the Iraqiya List, led by Allawi, the National Alliance, which includes Sadr’s group plus the INA, and the Kurdish Alliance, with Talabani remaining in the role of President of the Republic. 

You will note that Maliki’s State of Law is not mentioned here. It appears, based on Sadr’s statement, that the National Alliance has fallen apart in practice, if not in legal terms. Maliki will not be offered any significant position as far as Sadr is concerned.

There is a possible “fly in the ointment”, however, in that the INA is still talking about offering up several candidates for the position of Prime Minister, four to be exact. Two I am not familiar with, but the other two are Mahdi and Jafaari. Once again, though, we see that Maliki’s name is not on the list.

There could be some potential problem with the fact that the INA is offering up its own candidates for the PM slot. First we may see some delays while the National Alliance determines its favorite candidate for the PM position to run against Allawi. Or, they may work this out with Allawi this week and go into parliament with Allawi as the final candidate. If not, this means that Allawi will have to contend with one or more of these potential candidates in parliament when the final vote is taken for the PM slot. This could get messy. Let’s hope that they resolve this before the end of the week and that the parliamentary vote is a rubber stamp instead of a long drawn out fight. Let’s also hope that the National Alliance really is dead. Then we won’t have to deal with the “constitutional crisis” as to which group gets to go first in parliament. I still think that Allawi will prevail, since Sadr has thrown his hat into Allawi’s ring. We can reasonably also assume that the remainder of the INA will capitulate, as long as one of those four persons, at least, is given a position of power in the new government.

The Kurds have steadfastly stayed outside the fray to this point, neither accepting nor outright rejecting any person for the PM slot. They will go with Allawi as long as Talabani remains in the Presidency of the Republic. There may be some flack from them if Maliki’s State of Law is left out. The Kurds have steadfastly insisted that all blocks be allowed to participate in the new government.

One interesting sidelight was that some member of the Iraqiya List actually proposed that Ayad Allawi’s cousin, Mohammed Allawi, be offered the PM slot. Needless to say I’m sure that Ayad Allawi was not pleased with that recommendation from within his own group. In any case, Mohammed Allawi quickly withdrew his name from consideration, stating that the responsibility was way over his level of competence. At least someone in the leadership of Iraq has his head set squarely on his shoulder.

Without trying to sound “alarmist” I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the possibility of a coup d’etat came out in the news in the last two days. An article that apparently came out of Canada indicated, as the opinion only of the writer, that Maliki is so stubborn that he might attempt a coup in order to remain in power. After thinking through this possibility for some time I’ve come to the conclusion that this is not a real threat at all, and that no coup attempt will be made by Maliki.

So what will become of Maliki, or should we even care? In my opinion this man will get just what he deserves: he will be left on the sidelines, as one article put it, a man with no position in the new government at all. Actually, I really don’t care, as long as the new government gets formed.

With respect to our investment it appears to me that we are looking at the end of this coming week at best to see the RI. Unless Allawi can pull off his super coalition in the early days of the week we won’t see the RI until a week from tomorrow, in my opinion. However, even though this is very frustrating for us all, at least we are seeing some real light at the end of this long tunnel. Once the announcement of the three presidencies is made we should see the RI any day thereafter. With that I am done with my attempt to bring us all up to date. I hope you found it valuable to see this mass of conflicting material summarized.

Of course I could be wrong.

Thanks for listening.