Inside the UIA, Round II

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.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.


  • Lorenzo says:

    It has been a while since I last had a chance to scan Fourth Rail, a most informative source!
    Sadr is the same style of goon that Saddam was. His political future may match the ousted dictator if he is merely arrested in this ongoing political process. I see a great chance for a tremendous cesation from daily killings as soon as this terrorist and his henchmen are dealt a swift fatal end.
    Bill is riding high above the MSM. Thanks

  • Neo-andertal says:

    This isn’t quite the road out of this political stalemate yet, but it does open up that possibility again. We will see what sort of reaction this gets from Jaafari’s supporters. Will we see any push back on this?
    At the very least, this make very unlikely that anyone would join Sadr in any sort of increase in violence. In that case Sadr would find himself isolated.

  • Lisa says:

    What appears to be causing this stalemate?
    Religion divisions? Territory? Failure to comprimise because they feel they would be departing from some of their religious beliefs or just plain pride?
    Has anybody (Iraqi politcal leaders) in Iraq come up with a solution for the continuing attacks and killings of innocent citizens? How do these miltia groups function…their thought process…is there some reading material on what motivates them because obviously thye have no problem killing innocent citizens.
    What policy could be put in place to control these mafia-style groups?

  • “What appears to be causing this stalemate?”
    The party with the power to nominate the Prime Minister, doesn’t have the votes to confirm the Prime Minister.
    “Has anybody (Iraqi politcal leaders) in Iraq come up with a solution for the continuing attacks and killings of innocent citizens?”
    The median age in Iraq is 19 and the unemployment rate is over 20% compared to France with a Median age of 38 and an unemployment rate of 10%.
    Until the permanent government is formed, there is no one on the Iraqi side that can sign the kind of long term investment and reconstruction contracts that will create real economic growth.

  • tblubrd says:

    I like the part where you say “While the pressure continues against Jaafari and by default Muqtada al-Sadr” – I would have to agree. This guy needs more than reigning in. As one red-neck momma in an old movie once said about one of her own really bad sons ‘ ..the boy needed killin”. Sadr needs more than just eliminating his “militia” – they’re just death squads.
    And I have to agree with Lorenzo – you always rise above the Antique Media.

  • Lisa says:

    Soldiers Dad,
    Thank you for your answers.
    I hope that they can get a permanent government formed.
    I am sure I will have more questions later.
    Have a good night everyone!

  • Lisa says:

    One more thing…
    In reading from the Rueters…
    Disbanding militias would be a complicated and potentially explosive task because they are tied to political parties.
    My goodness, what political parties? Why would we want people like that that have ties with militias governing Iraq?
    To me this news smacks of old Iraq and interference from Iran.
    Okay, that’s my questions.

  • Jamison1 says:

    Iranian militiamen were brought in by Britain
    The London Times
    MILITIAMEN from an Iranian-backed force were deliberately recruited by Britain to join the new Iraqi security services after Saddam Hussein was overthrown, the Government has admitted.
    The sectarian Badr organisation, trained in exile by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, is suspected of violently pursuing its own agenda after being allowed to enlist in national units. John Reid, the Defence Secretary, disclosed in a Commons written answer to the Plaid Cymru MP Adam Price that it had been official policy to welcome the Shia gunmen. “Following the end of the conflict in Iraq, the Coalition Provision Authority sought to reintegrate militia members into civil society,”

  • crosspatch says:

    I think Bill has again hit the nail on the head. Mookie al-Sadr is being tolerated because picking a full blown fight with him right this moment would further complicate an already complicated situation. Mookie’s support base is in the poor Shiia areas. They (the rest of the Iraqi parties) don’t need riots in these slums right now. These are poor people, they don’t really have much to lose or think they stand much to gain. It wouldn’t take much to get them riled up. If al Sadr were killed right now, it would be a real mess. I think steps have been taken to show him that there is a limit and to warn him to back off.
    I believe he will be delt with once a formal government is in place and things have settled down a bit. He will be given the opportunity to either participate within the rules or face the consequences but his days of being a loose cannon are numbered. In fact, he could be a major reason it is taking so long to form this government. al-Sadr might well realize that the power he holds right now is probably the most he is ever going to hold and he is reluctant to give it up. If he is going to have to give it up, he is going to do as much as he can with it while he holds it. I suspect that a lot of the killings going on now are al-Sadr’s men purging the opposition in and around Baghdad. He only has a brief window of time to continue doing that, and I believe the first signals to him that his time is just about up have been sent in the form of raids on some of his stooges and killing of some of his staff.
    I believe it will take up to another week for Jaafari to step down. It will take up to two weeks after that for support to gel around a replacement so I would not be surprised for it to take one more month for a new government to be formally placed. BUT, in the meantime, I expect things to start firming up in the next couple of weeks and Mookie (along with some others) will experiance some wing clipping as the new leader nominee firms up his position.

  • Jamison1 says:

    Iraq’s biggest Shi’ite Islamist party will urge Ibrahim al-Jaafari to resign as prime minister, a senior parliamentarian from SCIRI said on Sunday in the first publicly hostile comments from Jaafari’s key coalition ally.

    “I call on Jaafari to step down as nominee for prime minister because … the candidate ought to secure a national consensus from other lists and also international acceptance,” Jalal al-Deen al-Saghir told Reuters as U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was urging Iraqi leaders to find consensus.

    He said he was speaking not for SCIRI but for himself. But he made clear the party’s position was now against Jaafari: “This is just the beginning and the other calls will follow.”

    The Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), led by Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, is the biggest party within the Shi’ite Alliance bloc.

    Saghir sits on SCIRI’s main leadership council and is said by Shi’ite politicians to be close to top cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.

    rest of the story here

  • blert says:

    Sadr stepped on his own toes in February.
    Now he’s an outcast, all in slow motion.

  • Neo-andertal says:

    Thanks for the link Jamison1.
    If SCIRI has now publicly announced it’s opposition to Jaafari’s candidacy, I think it’s all over. Notice the announcement was made by someone who is also close to Sistani. The door on Jaafari’s candidacy was closed gently yesterday by Kasim Daoud. Todays announcement by Sagir, a representative of both SCIRI and Sistani, set the deadbolt on the door. They are giving him a couple days to collect himself and make a dignified exit. All that remains is for him to make a peaceful exit.
    We still haven’t heard much from Sadr or any other of Jaafari’s allies. Actually, we haven’t heard a lot from Sadr since someone put a few mortar rounds in his yard a few days ago. With a little luck he will take this all laying down. (underneath his bed)
    It doesn’t look like many in the public have really noticed yet. Go check your history books, you will find endless examples of this sort of maneuvering when there is no clear line of succession.
    I really do prefer something closer to real democracy. This sort of palace maneuvering is really too much.
    Again your link:

  • Neo,
    “If SCIRI has now publicly announced it’s opposition to Jaafari’s candidacy, I think it’s all over. Notice the announcement was made by someone who is also close to Sistani.”
    If they have a brain, they’ll offer Jafari a position as Amabassador to the UN or something. Pride is a big deal in that part of the world.
    If you’re going to have regular “Peaceful” transfers of power, you need to set the example that it is done honorably and with respect.

  • Neo-andertal says:

    Just so Jaafari doesn’t end up too close to the top. By the way what is the order of succession in the Iraqi government.

  • dj elliott says:

    From the Iraqi Constitution (I do not think they have gone any further than this.):
    “Article 72:
    First: The President of the Republic shall have the right to submit his resignation in writing to the Speaker of the Council of Representatives, and is considered effective after seven days from the date of its submission to the Council of Representatives.
    Second: The “Vice” President shall assume the office of the President in case of his absence.
    Third: The Vice President shall assume the duties of the President of the Republic or in the event of the post of the President becomes vacant for any reason whatsoever. The Council of Representatives must elect a new President within a period not to exceed thirty days from the date of the vacancy.
    Fourth: In the case the post of the President of the Republic becomes vacant, the Speaker of the Council of Representatives shall replace the President of the Republic in case he does not have a Vice President, on the condition that a new President is elected during a period not to exceed thirty days from the date of the vacancy and in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.”

  • dj elliott says:

    The rest of it, I had a hickup:
    “Article 73:
    First: The President of the Republic shall name the nominee of the Council of Representatives bloc with the largest number to form the Cabinet within fifteen days from the date of the election of the president of the republic.
    Second: The Prime Minister-designate shall undertake the naming of the members of his Cabinet within a period not to exceed thirty days from the date of his designation.
    Third: In case the Prime Minister-designate fails to form the cabinet during the period specified in clause “Second,” the President of the Republic shall name a new nominee for the post of Prime Minister within fifteen days.
    Fourth: The Prime Minister-designate shall present the names of his Cabinet members and the ministerial program to the Council of Representatives. He is deemed to have gained its confidence upon the approval, by an absolute majority of the Council of Representatives, of the individual Ministers and the ministerial program.
    Fifth: The President of the Republic shall name another nominee to form the cabinet within fifteen days in case the Cabinet did not gain the confidence.
    Article 74:
    First: The conditions for assuming the post of the Prime Minister shall be the same as those for the President of the Republic, provided that he has completed thirty-five years of age and has a college degree or its equivalent.
    Second: The conditions for assuming the post of Minister shall be the same as those for members of the Council of Representatives provided that he holds a college degree or its equivalent.
    Article 75:
    The Prime Minister is the direct executive authority responsible for the general policy of the State and the commander in chief of the armed forces. He directs the Council of Ministers, and presides over its meetings and has the right to dismiss the Ministers on the consent of the Council of Representatives.”

  • Lisa says:

    Iraq PM refuses to step down.
    Here is an article that is in Time Magazine about the militias:,9171,1179362,00.html


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