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Old 01-19-2010   #6
Surferbeetle
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At FP The Iraqi DeBaath Fiasco Continues, Posted By Marc Lynch Monday, January 18, 2010 - 9:12 AM

Quote:
As the disqualification of some 500 leading Iraqi politicians on the grounds of alleged ties to the Baath Party is continuing to roil Iraqi politics, Arab papers today report that both U.S. Ambassador Christopher Hill and Vice President Joseph Biden have been intervening with Iraqi officials in an attempt to find a way to walk back the disastrous decision -- perhaps by postponing the implementation of the committee's decisions until after the election. The commission in turn is complaining about foreign interference, while Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki broke his silence by calling to "not politicize" the process (a bit late for that, no?) and some Iraqi outlets are screaming about alleged American threats. There is still a chance that the appeals process could provide an exit strategy, but this doesn't seem hugely likely at this point; the final list of those disqualified is set to be released tomorrow.

Iraqi politicians, especially those associated with Mutlak's bloc such as Ayad Allawi and Tareq al-Hashemi, have been loudly complaining about alleged conflict of interest and abuse of power behind the moves. The indefatigable Norwegian researcher Reider Visser deserves credit for unearthing that Ali Faysal al-Lami, who spent about a year in a U.S.-run prison on charges of complicity with attacks by Shia militias and runs the Parliamentary committee responsible for the disqualifications, is actually standing for election on Ahmed Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress list. Visser, like a number of Iraqi analysts, argue that they are using their official positions to stack the deck in their own favor: "It is they who effectively control the vetting process for the entire elections process. They enjoy full support in this from Iran; meanwhile their leaders are being feted in Washington, where Adil Abd al-Mahdi has just been visiting." The committee's defenders claim that it is simply enforcing the law. Finally, the editor of the Saudi al-Sharq al-Awsat complains that Iran's allies in Iraq are using their control of the mechanisms of Iraqi democracy to seize power for themselves on behalf of Iran -- and the similarity between the DeBaath "vetting" of candidates and Iran's Guardians Council's vettting of candidates has been noted.
NYT link (U.S. Will Release More Members of an Iraqi Militia By Rod Nordland and Sam Dagher
Published: August 17, 2009 ) mentioning Ali Faysal al-Lami. I would add that Iraqi politics have many layers and, for me at least, it's difficult to gain a balanced understanding...things may or may not be what they appear to be.

Reidar Visser's January 17 2010 post The Bloc That Has No De-Baathification Worries at the blog Iraq and Gulf Analysis

Quote:
How can the Watani list be so confident and go ahead with the publication of its candidate lists even before the IHEC has formally approved them? The explanation is very simple, and is contained in the Watani lists themselves: Its candidate number twenty-four in Baghdad is named Ali Faysal al-Lami and belongs to the Iraqi National Congress headed by Ahmed Chalabi. Sounds familiar? Yes, that’s right, Lami is the director of the accountability and justice board that recently moved to bar several hundred candidates from taking part in the elections. No resistance was offered, and today no one in Iraq seems to be making a big point of the fact that he himself is a candidate in the elections! Little wonder, then, that the Watani leaders seem confident about proceeding with the release of their list: It is they who effectively control the vetting process for the entire elections process. They enjoy full support in this from Iran; meanwhile their leaders are being feted in Washington, where Adil Abd al-Mahdi has just been visiting.
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