Iraqi Prime Minister Consolidates Power, Leans Towards Iran

According to Muhsin Hamadah, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is at the head of a radical, sectarian party which has been involved in terrorism for decades. Since the US helped him come to power in post-Saddam Iraq, he has consolidated an authoritarian grip on virtually every sector of the government. The recent US withdrawal from Iraq has allowed him to quickly undercut and marginalize his political opponents in the same manner employed by Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979.

al-monitor Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown meets Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Baghdad 17/12/2008. Photo by REUTERS/POOL New.

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Jan 11, 2012

[Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri] Al-Maliki is one of the leaders of the Dawa Party, a sectarian party that has resorted to terrorism against its opponents. In fact, it has practiced terrorism in Iraq with the aim of [importing] the Iranian revolution into the country. This party was a crucial factor behind the [eruption of the] Iran-Iraq war. It was responsible for dangerous explosions in Kuwait, including the bombing of one of the late Highness’s [Emir Sheikh Jaber Al-Sabah] convoy [in 1985], as well as the bombings of popular cafes and state institutions in retaliation for Kuwait's position during the Iran-Iraq war.

During the war, Maliki lived in Damascus under the rule of the Assad family. [The Assad family] is associated with the ideology of [Ayatollah] Khomeini's revolution [in Iran in 1979], and has contributed to the dissemination of their beliefs. He came to Iraq out of deference to the US. His party fought against the Iraqi resistance [to the US]. [The Dawa party] formed groups to assassinate leaders of the Iraqi army, as well as doctors and scientists, sparking a sectarian war.

When [Maliki] became prime minister, he dominated the ministries of Security, Defense, Media and the Economy, paving the way for corruption. But his [party’s] list came in second during the last elections, despite the fact that he then dominated the state’s ministries [which should have ensured that] his [party] list could achieve a landslide victory. However, he refused to hand over power to the winning list, threatening to use force - for he was the commander of the army and security services.

With Iranian support and US acquiescence, he became prime minister for a second term, which required participation in a national unity government. He forged an alliance with both the [Iraqiyya] list, which had placed first, and the Kurdish list, which came in third.

Since he became prime minister for the second time, he sought to undermine the independence of the judiciary and dismantle independent institutions that sought to support clean elections and fight corruption.

He gained unprecedented powers. He was the prime minister, the minister of interior and national security, the minister of defense and the head of intelligence. He was in charge of [managing accusations and sentencings within the justice system], as well as carrying out investigations and reviewing evidence.

His advisers have started to promote the idea that Maliki is entitled to run for a third term. Consequently, he will work throughout the remaining period of his reign to get rid of his rivals and those who oppose his dominance in Iraq. This comes as no surprise. In fact, the same steps were taken in Iran after Ayatollah Khomeini came to power. Indeed, after returning to Tehran, he got rid of the supporters of the Shah and sent people to assassinate them in exile, [suppressing] all of his opponents. The same methods were adopted by Hezbollah, their ally in Lebanon. Indeed, after killing [former Prime Minister Rafik] Hariri, they forced the March 14 [movement] to participate in the national unity government at gunpoint. Afterwards, they turned against the government, politically liquidating [his son Saad] Hariri and imposing a one color government.

Exactly the same thing is underway in in Syria. Upon his return from America, and with the US military’s withdrawal from Iraq, Maliki sparked the crisis which he had been planning for with Tehran. He accused Tariq al-Hashimi, Vice President of the Republic [of Iraq], of terrorism, claiming that he was planning to assassinate [Maliki], and demanding his arrest. [On December 20] he asked [the Iraqi] parliament to deny a vote of confidence to MP Saleh al-Mutlaq because the latter described Maliki as the new dictator of Iraq, threatening to resign should the parliament ignore his request. Eventually, the parliament [did follow his orders and deny Mutlaq the vote of confidence], allowing Maliki to boot Mutlaq from his post as deputy prime minister.

In letters to [President] Obama, members from the Iraqiyya list made it ​​clear that Maliki’s security forces had surrounded their homes and offices. [They were able to do so] with the blessing of both the politicized judiciary and law enforcement officials on the orders of Maliki's personal bureau.

A week earlier, one of Maliki’s supporters appeared on an [allied] Lebanese satellite channel to comment on the crisis. "All of of Iraq's Sunni Arabs and Kurds do not account for more than 36% of the population, therefore the Shiite majority can form a government without the need for a coalition,” he said. No one knows which source was used to come up with these statistics. Two days later, the same shameful words were echoed by another MP from Maliki's bloc on [Al-Jazeera]. Will [Maliki and his party] succeed in applying Iranian methods of excluding and marginalizing their opponents in Iraq?

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