Iraq politics, Beirut style

Iraqi new parliament members argue during the first session of the new parliament in the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, July 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

While many have warned of the “Iraqization” of Lebanon for years, what with the increase in car bombings and suicide vests, Baghdad should now be wary of turning into a Beirut, as the parliament, tasked with electing a new government, failed to meet its quorum Tuesday.

As initial election results emerged before the current crisis began, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was confident of reaching a consensus, having secured the largest number of seats. But with the apparent Sunni and Kurdish boycott of parliament, and opposition from all sides, including many Shiite groups, Maliki appears to face an uphill battle.

The U.S. and Iran, while keen to see Maliki out of power, are unsure of how to go about this, or how far to go in applying pressure on him to go. Both have stressed the need for an inclusive government and a political solution, but both are ready and poised to intervene militarily.

It appears none of these powers have learnt anything from the Syrian catastrophe. There too, the obstinacy of one man has led to the destruction of an entire country, and the loss of over 160,000 lives. In the month of June alone, nearly 2,000 people have died in Iraq. Once again we have words, words and more words from the U.N., while the Iraqi people suffer, their homes and lives torn apart as the big powers ravage the country for their own ends.

Until a genuine unity government is formed, with Sunnis’ legitimate grievances addressed and Maliki’s mistakes accounted for, the bloodshed will continue.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 02, 2014, on page 7.




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