Support for Jaafari within the UIA appears to be crumbling; The Battle for Baghdad is in full swing
The support for Ibrahim al-Jaafari, the current Prime Minister and candidate to lead the newly elected Iraqi government, is waning. Reuters reports a large majority of the United Iraqi Alliance no longer backs his candidacy, and a member of the UIA has publicly spoken out against Jaafari:
“I call on Jaafari to take a courageous step and set a fine example by stepping down,” Kasim Daoud, a senior member of the independent group within the Alliance, told Reuters…
“Daoud’s call is supported by at least 60 percent of Alliance members of parliament,” another senior Alliance official from another group within the bloc told Reuters. “We need another 24 hours before starting the battle” to pressure Jaafari into resigning, he added
Jaafari has been given one last chance by the UIA to convince the outside parties to approve of his candidacy; “Alliance officials said the seven key groups inside the bloc, known to diplomats as the G7, met on Thursday and Friday and decided by four to three to give Jaafari days to persuade Kurds, Sunnis and secular leaders to rally behind him or quit.”
It is interesting the call to oust Jaafari was led by a UIA faction other than SCIRI. This reinforces the point that opposition to Jaafari is not just led by SCIRI, and allows SCIRI to remain the silent power broker in the process. SCIRI’s candidate, Aadil Abdul Mahdi, will now rise in further prominence, as he is the preferred candidate of the secular Shiites, Kurds and Sunni factions outside the UIA.
While the pressure continues against Jaafari and by default Muqtada al-Sadr, the United States reiterates the demand to disband the militias. An ‘anonymous senior U.S. military official’ stated the Iraqi government must reign in the militias; “When you are putting a government together you cannot have extra armed groups out there… The government is going to have to get a policy to deal with this. It’s something that has to be a clear cut policy.”
The strike against Sadr’s Mahdi Army militia in the Hayy Ur neighborhood last Sunday was certainly the opening salvo of the campaign to bring the militias to heel. Richard Hernandez illustrates the political and military strategies of the Iraqi government and Coalition verses the insurgency. The Battle for Baghdad is moving forward, and the election of a unity government will go a long way in subverting the power and political plans of al Qaeda, the insurgency and Sadr.
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