News On Iran & Its NeighboursIraqSaleh Mutlaq pulls out of Iraqi elections threatening US...

Saleh Mutlaq pulls out of Iraqi elections threatening US plans

-

ImageThe Times: The Obama Administration has talked of next month’s elections in Iraq as being a transformative event that will put the country on track for a stable future and allow for the withdrawal of US combat troops. The Times

Oliver August, Baghdad

ImageThe Obama Administration has talked of next month’s elections in Iraq as being a transformative event that will put the country on track for a stable future and allow for the withdrawal of US combat troops. That scenario, however, looks increasingly doubtful after one of Iraq’s most prominent Sunni parliamentarians pulled his party out of the national elections and called for a boycott.

Saleh Mutlaq, who was banned from standing as a candidate, said his National Dialogue Front was withdrawing in protest at a “dirty tricks”campaign, thought to be masterminded by Iran and aimed at securing power for a Shia government.

The move is reminiscent of the Sunni boycott in the 2005 parliamentary elections that led to the disenfranchisement of a large part of the population, and is viewed as a major contributor to the sectarian war that followed.

Other Sunni groups have not, so far, joined Mr Mutlaq’s protest, but they, too, have complained about dirty tricks, as have some Shia politicians.

International observers have significantly lowered their expectations for the poll in recent days. Few diplomats in Baghdad now talk about “free and fair elections”, since they clearly won’t be. The new publicly stated goal is a “credible election”, but even that seems doubtful.

Pressed to sketch out a best-case scenario, several diplomats talk of an election that, despite its flaws, is merely accepted by the people. This is far from the democracy once envisaged. The new outlook is a significant reversal. Stability and reconciliation between the sects seemed a distinct possibility until a few months ago, but the decision to disallow Mr Mutlaq’s candidacy on spurious grounds has reversed Iraq’s positive momentum.

“The National Dialogue Front has made its final stand. It will boycott the election, but it will stay part of the political process,” a party spokesman, Haider al-Mulla, said. “The call is open for other political parties to take the same stand as our front. The whole issue is not related to [the candidate ban], rather the unsuitable atmosphere.”

Mr Mutlaq is one of about 145 candidates from different parties whose appeals against a decision by a Shia-dominated commission to bar them were rejected this month. His party was a member of a cross-sectarian coalition, Iraqiya, headed by Iyad Allawi, a former Prime Minister and secular Shia with ambitions to regain office.

The Iraqiya alliance said it would continue to participate in the election despite the boycott. “The list believes that the best reaction [against the candidate ban] is wide participation in the coming election and for our list to achieve a great win, and to make forward-looking change,” said Maysoun al-Damalouji, a spokesman for the group.

The ban on candidates with alleged ties to the outlawed Sunni-dominated Baath party of Saddam Hussein has fanned Sunni fears of a plot by Iraq’s majority Shia to marginalise them.

Latest news

Snapback Sanctions, a Must Response to Iran’s Human Rights Abuse and JCPOA Violations

The protests in Iran have been going on for more than two months, even though the regime is cracking...

Growing Disintegration Among Iran Regime’s Forces

Iran has been shaken by a wave of nationwide protests since mid-September. The trigger was the death of the...

Grim Tidings for Iran’s Regime After Approval of UN Fact-Finding Mission

After many discussions and debates, the United Nations Human Rights Council has approved a fact-finding mission to investigate the...

Iranian People’s Resistance Changed the Appeasement Policy

Soon after the new US government started its obligations in January 2021, hand in hand with the European governments...

Khamenei’s Disgraceful Campaign Against Piranshahr and Javanrud, Who Will Be the Loser?

On the 67th day of Iran’s revolution, the Iranian regime attempted to put a halt to the protests in...

Iran: Expensive Medicine, Cheap Human Life

A look at the equipment and weapons that the Iranian regime has been using against its people to suppress...

Must read

Weekly says U.S. furious at Iran-Iraq high-level exchanges

Iran Focus: Tehran, Iran, Dec. 01 – A radical...

Iran urges China to resist sanctions pressure

AP: Iran on Tuesday urged China to resist pressure...

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you