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Old 05-03-2007   #1
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Default Iraqi Perceptions of the War

CSIS, 2 May 07: Iraqi Perceptions of the War: Public Opinion by City and Region
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The patterns of conflict in Iraq have grown steadily more complex with time, adding sectarian and ethnic conflicts to what began as a largely Ba’athist dominated resistance in mid-2003. There are now five major patterns of violence:

Sunni Islamist extremist insurgents, where Al Qa’ida plays a major role along with at least two other movements. These are the primary source of suicide attacks, car bombings, and attacks on Iraqi and Coalition forces.

Iraqi Arab Sunni versus Arab Shi’ite conflicts, where Shi’ite militias and death squads play a major role, and where sectarian violence, threats, and pressures are forcing the segregation of many areas, leading to displacements, and creating ethnic “cleansing.”

Iraqi Arab versus Iraqi Kurdish ethnic conflicts center around the “ethnic fault” line, where control of Kirkuk and the oil fields around it have become a major source of tension and potential conflict that extends to the West to the area around Mosul. The future of the Turcomans and other minorities is directly affected by the outcome, as is national unity. This ethnic struggle also interacts with similar Kurdish ethnic tensions and struggles affecting Turkey, Iran, and Syria.

Arab Shi’ite on Arab Shi’ite struggles for political control and power, particularly in Southeastern Iraq. Each of the three major Shi’ite parties is a rival for power along with smaller parties that play a major role in key cities like Basra. Clashes between Shi’ite factions and militias have so far been limited, but the struggle for control of the Shi’ite shrine cites and the oil-rich provinces in the Southeast may have only begun.

Arab Sunni on Arab Sunni violence now concentrated largely in Al Anbar but spreading eastwards into Diyala. This is partly a struggle for tribal control of given areas, but also a struggle between Sunni Islamist extremist elements like Al Qa’ida in Iraq. These struggles ease the pressure on the ISF and Coalition to some degree, but the enemy of an enemy is not necessarily a lasting “friend.”

These divisions, however, tell only part of the story. Many Iraqis have divided or multiple loyalties, and the patterns of violence in one area may well differ from another. This becomes far clearer from the detailed results of a recent public opinion poll by ABC News, USA Today, the BBC, and ARD. This poll provided important insights into the overall trends in Iraqi “hearts and minds,” but it also provided an important window into just how much Iraqis differ by major city and province. It also shows that any successful effort at counterinsurgency and conciliation must carefully consider all of the patterns in Iraqi perceptions and civil conflict.
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Old 01-12-2010   #2
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Default The rumor mill in action vs political analysis...

From the 12 Jan '10 LA Times IRAQ: Coup rumors paralyze Baghdad

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When Baghdadis awoke this morning to find their streets sealed off and the city under virtual lockdown, the rumors began to fly.

Army officers had staged a coup in the Green Zone, one version said. No, it was Baathists loyal to the former regime who had taken over, according to another.

Mostly, the rumors concerned the Sunni lawmaker Saleh Mutlak, who has been recommended for disbarment from the upcoming March elections by the former De-Baathification Committee, now known as the Accountability and Justice Committee.
Iraqi political analysis at Iraq and Gulf Analysis by Reidar Visser
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Old 01-13-2010   #3
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Right. That was an echo back to Phebe Marr's explanation of Coup vs. Coup in the 50s.

I scratch my head sometimes about this rumour vs opinion stuff.

I guess I am just being ideosyncratic but my first reaction to the recent survey on Afghanistan (they love us, and expect a wonderful future) was: either the poll was done before recent events, or they have a very overly optimistic view of the President's message and intent.

Something doesn't sound quite as sustainable as it should unless big things change quickly.

My guess is that Springtime will be no picnic in Kabul.

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Old 01-15-2010   #4
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The Council of Ministers of Iraq

Iraqi Presidential Divan

United States Ambassadors to Iraq

United Kingdom Ambassadors to Iraq

German Ambassadors to Iraq
Paul Freiherr von Maltzahn

Chinese Ambassadors to Iraq
Zhang Weiqiu

Turkish Ambassadors to Iraq
Unal Cevikoz

Syrian Ambassadors to Iraq
Nawaf Fares

Jordanian Ambassadors to Iraq
Nayef Zeidan

Saudi Arabian Ambassadors to Iraq

Iranian Ambassadors to Iraq
Hassan Kazemi-Qomi

Aswat al Iraq website
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Old 01-15-2010   #5
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Iraqi Politics and Zombies Posted By Marc Lynch at FP, Friday, January 15, 2010 - 7:07 AM

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The story, of course, is the Committee's surprising decision to disqualify some 500 politicians, including the Sunni leader Saleh al-Mutlak and the current Minister of Defense Abdul-Qadir Jassem al-Obeidi, from contesting the upcoming Parliamentary elections on the grounds of alleged Baathist ties. The Higher Election Commission disappointed many observers by accepting the recommendation; the issue now goes to appeal. Mutlak's list -- which includes such figures as former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi and current Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi -- is talking about boycotting the election, which many fear could have a major negative impact on the elections and on longer-term prospects for Iraqi political accommodation. Not bad work for a zombie!
Musings On Iraq a blog by Joel Wing

Alsumaria Iraqi Satellite TV Network website

Niqash a blog concerned with briefings from inside and across Iraq

Mosaic: World News from the Middle East, Link TV
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Old 01-19-2010   #6
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At FP The Iraqi DeBaath Fiasco Continues, Posted By Marc Lynch Monday, January 18, 2010 - 9:12 AM

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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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Old 01-21-2010   #7
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From the 18 Jan 2010, NYT, The Rise and Fall of a Sunni in Baghdad By NADA BAKRI

Quote:
BAGHDAD — Saleh al-Mutlaq has never shied from controversy, sometimes relishing his plunge into the turbulence of Iraqi politics. But even Mr. Mutlaq, a disheveled former agronomist, seems taken aback at landing square center in a growing dispute that threatens to unleash turmoil ahead of Iraq’s parliamentary elections in March.
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Old 02-19-2010   #8
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Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq, December 2009, Report to Congress In accordance with the Department of Defense Supplemental Appropriations Act 2008 (Section 9204, Public Law 110-252)

Quote:
As a consequence of the movement of U.S. combat forces out of Iraqi cities on June 30, 2009, the
United States has reduced visibility and ability to verify Iraqi reports. Without a robust U.S. presence,
MNF-I metrics include host nation reports that are not independently verifiable. The overall trends
between Coalition force data and host nation data are very close, but some values may differ. Current
charts show a combination of Coalition and Host-Nation reported data. The combination of these
reports causes baseline numbers to increase, making it difficult to compare these charts with those
from previous publications of this report. Each slide is annotated to indicate the types of reports
included.
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Old 02-23-2010   #9
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Default US perceptions of Iraqi perceptions...

Bolding was added by me and is not in Dr. Lynch's post.

Posted by Marc Lynch on 23 Feb 2010 at FP.com, Iraq contingencies

Quote:
The drawdown will probably matter considerably less than people expect. With the new SOFA-defined rules of engagement, U.S. forces have already stopped doing many of the things associated with the "surge." The Iraqi response to American efforts on the de-Baathification circus demonstrate painfully clearly that the nearly 100,000 troops still in Iraq gave very little leverage on an issue which the U.S. at least publicly deemed vital -- a point made very effectively by Ambassador Hill at the Council on Foreign Relations last week. The sharp backlash against even the measured criticisms by U.S. officials offers an important lesson: Doing the sorts of assertive things which may please Obama's critics are highly likely to spark a negative reaction among Iraqis, generating more hostility to the U.S. role without actually accomplishing anything. The U.S. is wise to avoid them.

That doesn't mean that things are rosy. The de-Baathification circus has demonstrated the fragility of Iraqi institutions, and helped to reignite sectarian resentments and fears (many Sunnis feel targeted, while many Shia are being treated to an endless barrage of anti-Ba'athist electoral propaganda). There's very much a risk of long, drawn-out coalition talks after the election. It isn't certain how a transition from power will go, should Maliki's list lose, given the prime minister's efforts to centralize power in his office over the last few years. There may well be a spike in violence by frustrated losers in the elections. If there's massive fraud on election day, things could get ugly. The elections, already marred by the de-Baathification fiasco, may well end up producing a new Parliament and government which doesn't really change much. There are big, long-deferred issues to confront after the elections, such as the Article 140 referendum over Kirkuk.

Iraq: The Way Forward–U.S. Ambassador's Assessment

Quote:
Speaker: Christopher R. Hill, U.S. Ambassador To Iraq
Presider: Karen J. DeYoung, Associate Editor and Senior Diplomatic Correspondent, The Washington Post

February 18, 2010
Council on Foreign Relations
Quote:
This election -- it's a very important election. It's an important election, not because if we have a successful election we can pull our troops out. It's an important election, because it will really help define what Iraq is in the future. And in so doing, define a relationship that we're going to be able to have in the future. This is, you know, I do think all problems should start by, you know, look at the map. And when you see what Iraq is, it's where the Shi'a world meets the Sunni world; it's where the Kurdish world meets the Arab world. It's in a very important position in the world. And so we want it to be successful and we want to have a long-term relationship.
Quote:
You know, because of the improvement in the security situation, I've been able to get out to almost all the provinces in Iraq, which was -- you know, could not be done by my predecessors due to security. And it was just -- it's been striking, you know, to go to some of these campuses -- I was at the University of Baghdad a couple of weeks ago and, you know, talking to these students. And, you know, they didn't talk to me about the Sunnis and the Shi'a and, you know, Article 140 of the constitution as the solution for Kirkuk.

They want to know, you know, are the oil companies coming in? Are they going to recognize these engineering degrees from Baghdad? You know, what do they need to do to assure that their degrees are going to be acceptable to international firms? You know, know can we improve our English in how can we improve, you know, relationships with American universities? Can we do more on distance learning? You know, this sort of thing.

It's what these kids are all asking. I mean, they're all very much wanting to be part of sort of global climate -- I mean, a global, you know, interaction and education. I was up in Erbil talking to Saladdin students there -- the same reaction. I mean, it's kind of gratifying that they kind of got it. And I must say one of these kids came up to me and said I just want to talk to some native speaker to really work on my English. And I said, well, I think we've got some various programs. And this kid said, well, you know, can't something be done more quickly?
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Old 02-23-2010   #10
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At the Jamestown Foundation, Who Speaks for the Shi’a of Iraq? By: Rachel Schneller

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Iraq’s Shi’a Arabs, the demographic majority with an estimated 60-70% of the population, wield the most political influence in Iraq. But the Shi’a of Iraq are a diverse group, with major regional differences between the Shi’a of Basra and the deep South and the Shi’a of the north-central region. Iraq’s Shi’a hold divergent views on the appropriate role of religion in government. Other areas of internal division among Shi’a parties exist, such as a common position on cooperation with the United States, but these are secondary in their influence on Shi’a voters.

Iraq’s Shi’a political parties have fought battles with each other that at times were as bloody as the sectarian war between Sunnis and Shi’a in 2006-2008. From 2005-2008, the Badr Corps of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI) and Sadrists fought militia battles in the streets of Basra. In 2009, the two groups reconciled and formed a coalition for the March 2010 elections. How could two groups bent on eliminating each other become allies only two years later? Why did Da’awa—the compromise party supported by both ISCI and Sadrists in 2006 for the Prime Ministership—break from the coalition in 2009?
Quote:
One of the trends to watch in the Shi’a political landscape will be the “migration” of Shi’a politics southward. In the January 2009 provincial elections, Da’awa came to power in the Basra provincial council. The Fadillah governor was replaced with a Da’awa member. Subsequently, Da’awa began moving away from its strongly centrist position and toward greater regional resource sharing, as reflected in the 2010 budget that accords the Basra provincial government a dollar per barrel of oil produced, a move that puts Da’awa more at odds with centralists but is more representative of the interests of Shi’a in Basra. [6] If Da’awa can maintain a strong power base in Basra, it may not need to ally with the “nationalist” INA to maintain primacy among the religious Shi’a parties. [7]
Sadrists

ISCI/SCIRI

Fadhila

Da'wa

Iraqiya/Iraqi National Accord

Ahrar
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Old 02-24-2010   #11
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Tales of the Tyrant by Mark Bowden at the Atlantic

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In what sense does Saddam see himself as a great man? Saad al-Bazzaz, who defected in 1992, has thought a lot about this question, during his time as a newspaper editor and TV producer in Baghdad, and in the years since, as the publisher of an Arabic newspaper in London.

"I need a piece of paper and a pen," he told me recently in the lobby of Claridge's Hotel. He flattened the paper out on a coffee table and tested the pen. Then he drew a line down the center. "You must understand, the daily behavior is just the result of the mentality," he explained. "Most people would say that the main conflict in Iraqi society is sectarian, between the Sunni and the Shia Muslims. But the big gap has nothing to do with religion. It is between the mentality of the villages and the mentality of the cities."

"Okay. Here is a village." On the right half of the page al-Bazzaz wrote a V and beneath it he drew a collection of separate small squares. "These are houses or tents," he said. "Notice there are spaces between them. This is because in the villages each family has its own house, and each house is sometimes several miles from the next one. They are self-contained. They grow their own food and make their own clothes. Those who grow up in the villages are frightened of everything. There is no real law enforcement or civil society. Each family is frightened of each other, and all of them are frightened of outsiders. This is the tribal mind. The only loyalty they know is to their own family, or to their own village. Each of the families is ruled by a patriarch, and the village is ruled by the strongest of them. This loyalty to tribe comes before everything. There are no values beyond power. You can lie, cheat, steal, even kill, and it is okay so long as you are a loyal son of the village or the tribe. Politics for these people is a bloody game, and it is all about getting or holding power."

Al-Bazzaz wrote the word "city" atop the left half of the page. Beneath it he drew a line of adjacent squares. Below that he drew another line, and another. "In the city the old tribal ties are left behind. Everyone lives close together. The state is a big part of everyone's life. They work at jobs and buy their food and clothing at markets and in stores. There are laws, police, courts, and schools. People in the city lose their fear of outsiders, and take an interest in foreign things. Life in the city depends on cooperation, on sophisticated social networks. Mutual self-interest defines public policy. You can't get anything done without cooperating with others, so politics in the city becomes the art of compromise and partnership. The highest goal of politics becomes cooperation, community, and keeping the peace. By definition, politics in the city becomes nonviolent. The backbone of urban politics isn't blood, it's law."
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Old 02-27-2010   #12
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Dr. Reidar Visser on Iraq and Gulf Analysis, Secret Election Manifesto, 25 Feb 2010

Quote:
In line with predictions, the Iraqi National Alliance seems determined to keep the de-Baathification issue on the agenda all the way down to the wire. They keep prodding their allies in the governorates to push the issue, thereby perpetuating a climate of fear where few civil servants may feel safe about their positions. Just today, it was announced that 10 professors at the University of Karbala had been singled out for exclusion in the name of de-Baathification. Earlier, it was reported that the all-important South Oil Company – the keystone of Iraq’s oil-based economy – had similarly been targeted for additional de-Baathification. Large numbers of competent professionals that are vital to maintaining decent output levels in Iraq’s struggling oil industry are at risk because of the insistence of the Iraqi National Alliance to push a fear-oriented agenda that was hatched in exile in Iran and is now being rolled out across Iraq.
Quote:
In sum, the parties behind this proposal wanted to strengthen religious law in Iraq, keep Baghdad weak, and perpetuate the Bremerian model of government of oversized governments of national unity and strong presidential vetoes at least until 2015. Today, when everyone talks about “unity” and being a “nationalist”, the draft for a revised constitution may serve as a more faithful manifesto of where parties like the Kurdistan alliance, the Iraqi National Alliance and Tawafuq really want to go. The interesting thing is the position of two of the minority parties on the constitutional committee that are today considered among the strongest candidates for providing the next premier of Iraq: Daawa and Iraqiyya. In terms of getting the political debate back on track, perhaps issues like these could be a useful vantage point for Iraqiyya, which traditionally has had a firm nationalist position on constitutional issues. And what about the Daawa, whose centralism and resistance to power-sharing has sometimes put them at odds with fellow Shiite Islamists? Recent reports from Iraq say that the accountability and justice board is now attacking high-level security officials that have ties to Maliki, possibly with the aim of marginalising him as a future premier; is this the point where Maliki might finally wake up and reverse his position on the de-Baathification disaster?
Dr. March Lynch on Foreign Policy, Chalabi and Lami ain't done yet, February 24, 2010


Quote:
So you thought that Ahmed Chalabi and Ali al-Lami's Accountability and Justice (De-Ba'athification) Committee had done all they could to wreck Iraq's elections and advance their political agendas? Not even. Yesterday, in what al-Hayat calls a surprise move, Lami announced that the AJC had named 376 military, police and intelligence officers for de-Ba'athification. The list includes a number of important people in senior positions.

The political calculations here are transparent. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has the Constitutional right to except individuals from de-Ba'athification in the national interest, but presumably he won't out of fear of being portrayed as "soft on the Ba'ath" in the last days of the election campaign. Lami's move will likely further inflame the situation, demonstrating the degradation and politicization of Iraqi state institutions and further antagonizing many Sunnis (Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi said today that the Iraqi government had "failed" at national reconciliation, though a return of civil war remains unlikely, while Ayad Allawi is on the defensive over his visit to Saudi Arabia to launch his election campaign). That polarization will strengthen the electoral hand of the more sectarian parties, including of course the one for which Lami is personally a candidate.
Estimated size of Iraqi Oil Reserves from EIA: 115.00 billion barrels

Estimated size of Iranian Oil Reserves from EIA: 136.27 billion barrels

Estimated size of Saudi Oil Reserves from EIA: 262.30 billion barrels

Watani List aka National Iraqi Alliance aka United Iraqi Alliance

Tawafuq aka Iraqi Accord Front

Kurdistan List

Quote:
Politics is a process by which groups of people make collective decisions. The term is generally applied to behavior within civil governments, but politics has been observed in other group interactions, including corporate, academic and religious institutions. It consists of "social relations involving authority or power"[1] and refers to the regulation of a political unit,[2] and to the methods and tactics used to formulate and apply policy.[3]
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Old 02-27-2010   #13
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De baathification is one of the worst ideas ever. 30 years of skill and experience stripped from any position of authority on a "survivor" pledge to the Baath. I thought they had a grand "reconciliation" back in 2007. Things are not going to go well.
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Old 02-27-2010   #14
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Default The onion that is Iraq...in a field of onions...

Throwing out the technocrat's who ran things via De-Ba'athification, privatizing SOE's (unemployment rates went through the roof), and disbanding the Army (trained and unemployed soldiers with unlimited access to weapons) had very significant consequences to stability in the region.

It's interesting to think about the why's behind some of those decisions:
  • Perhaps sending a noteworthy and long lasting message to the region was part of the decision making process. There are historical examples to consider such as The Morgenthau Plan.
  • Perhaps the history of the military and the Ba'ath Party in Iraq was part of the decision making process.

Chronology of Iraqi Coup's

1941

Quote:
The 1941 Iraqi coup d'état, also known as the Rashid Ali Al-Gaylani coup or the Golden Square coup was a military coup in Iraq on April 1, 1941[1] that overthrew the regime of Regent 'Abd al-Ilah and installed Rashid Ali as Prime Minister. It was led by four Iraqi nationalist army generals, known as "the Golden Square." The Golden Square intended to use the war to press for full Iraqi independence following the limited independence granted in 1932. To that end, they worked with German intelligence and accepted military assistance from Germany. The change in government led to a British invasion of Iraq and subsequent occupation until 1947.
1958

Quote:
Inspired by Nasser, officers from the Nineteenth Brigade known as "The Four Colonials", under the leadership of Brigadier Abd al-Karīm Qāsim (known as "az-Za`īm", 'the leader') and Colonel Abdul Salam Arif overthrew the Hashimite monarchy on 14 July 1958. The new government proclaimed Iraq to be a republic and rejected the idea of a union with Jordan. Iraq's activity in the Baghdad Pact ceased.
February 1963

Quote:
The February 1963 Iraqi coup d'état was a February 8, 1963 armed military coup which overthrew the regime of the Prime Minister in Iraq, Brigadier General Abdul-Karim Qassem. Revolutionary leaders and supporters of the coup referred to it as a movement, rather than a coup. Some time after the Homeland Officers' Organization, or "Al-Ahrar" ("The Free") succeeded in toppling the monarchy and transforming the Iraqi regime into a republic in 1958, signs of differences between political parties and forces and the Homeland Officers' Organization began when Pan-Arab nationalist forces led by Abdul Salam Arif and the Baath Party called for immediate unification with the United Arab Republic.
Another view of the February 1963 coup

Quote:
Qasim’s removal took place on February 8 1963, the 14th day of Ramadan and therefore called the 14 Ramadan Coup. The coup had been in its planning stages since 1962, and several attempts had been planned, only to be abandoned for fear of discovery. The coup had been initially planned for January 18, but was moved to January 25, then February 8, after Qasim gained knowledge of the proposed attempt and arrested some of the plotters.
The coup began in the early morning of February 8 1963, when the Communist air force chief, Jalal al-Awqati was assassinated and tank units occupied the Abu Ghrayb radio station. A bitter two day struggle unfolded with heavy fighting between the Ba’athist conspirators and pro-Qasim forces. Qasim took refuge in the Ministry of Defence, where fighting became particularly heavy. Communist sympathisers took to the streets to resist the coup adding to the high casualties. On February 9, Qasim eventually offered his surrender in return for safe passage out of the country. His request was refused, and on the afternoon of the 9th, Qasim was executed on the orders of the newly formed National Council of the Revolutionary Command (NCRC)[73]. His successor was his fellow July 14 conspirator, Arif.
1968

Quote:
In 1968, Abdul Rahman Arif was overthrown by the Arab Socialist Baath Party.
Back to De-Ba'athification:

Joel Wing at Musings on Iraq, Timeline of Iraq’s De-Baathification Campaign
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Old 03-01-2010   #15
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International Crisis Group, Iraq’s Uncertain Future: Elections and Beyond, Middle East Report N°94 25 February 2010

Quote:
As a rule, Iraq’s post-Saddam elections have tended to magnify pre-existing negative trends. The parliamentary polls to be held on 7 March are no exception. The focus on electoral politics is good, no doubt, but the run-up has highlighted deep-seated problems that threaten the fragile recovery: recurring election-related violence; ethnic tensions over Kirkuk; the re-emergence of sectarianism; and blatant political manipulation of state institutions. The most egregious development was the decision to disqualify over 500 candidates, a dangerous, arbitrary step lacking due process, yet endorsed by the Shiite ruling parties. Under normal circumstances, that alone might have sufficed to discredit the elections. But these are not normal circumstances, and for the sake of Iraq’s stability, the elections must go on. At a minimum, however, the international community should ramp up its electoral monitoring and define clear red lines that need to be respected if the results are to be considered legitimate. And it should press the next government to seriously tackle the issue – long-neglected yet never more critical – of national reconciliation.
Quote:
That leaves what happens after the elections, assuming they pass this threshold. The question then will be whether the incoming government is able and willing to address the country’s numerous political deficiencies, from sectarianism to politicised institutions and much in between. Serious work toward national reconciliation is long overdue. This time, forming a coalition government and holding it up as an example of national unity will not suffice. There will have to be meaningful progress on opening up political space, increasing cross-sectarian participation and improving transparency and accountability.
Rachel Schneller at CFR, Avoiding Elections at Any Cost in Iraq, December 3, 2009

Quote:
The new election law expands the seats of the governing council from 275 to 323, but Iraqi Kurds and Sunnis dispute the allocation of the forty-eight new seats, saying Shias are overrepresented.
Quote:
The United States would do well to back away from the policy of elections at any cost. Elections in Iraq do not signify stability. In Iraq, the sequence of events is more important than the chronology of them. That is, the order of constitutional reform, oil law reform, and election law reform is more important than ensuring they occur according to schedule. In this light, the current delays on Iraq's election law are a good sign, because it appears Iraq's Sunnis, Shias, and Kurds are seriously trying to work out a power-sharing arrangement acceptable to all.
Iraq's constitution requires a new government to be in place before existing mandates expire in March 2010, but Iraq's current government is certainly capable of finding a way to legalize a further delay on elections if needed. It is more important to ensure that elections, when they do happen, have the buy-in of all Iraqis, rather than being bound to a timetable that appears, from within the country, to be arbitrary and imposed from the outside. An election that does not have the confidence of all three groups could result in a boycott by one of them, as the Sunnis did in 2005, or in protracted disputes after the election regarding acceptable power-sharing arrangements, which also occurred after the 2005 elections.
Steven Lee Myers at NYT, Vote Seen as Pivotal Test for Both Iraq and Maliki, Published: February 28, 2010

Quote:
A few months ago, building on genuine if not universal popularity, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki appeared poised to win a second term as Iraq’s prime minister. Now, as Iraqis prepare to vote in parliamentary elections on March 7, his path to another four years in office has become increasingly uncertain, his campaign erratic and, to some, deeply troubling.
Quote:
Mr. Maliki, who turns 60 in June, could yet prevail. According to politicians and polls conducted by parties and American officials, though not released publicly, Mr. Maliki’s coalition will very likely win the largest plurality of the new Parliament’s 325 seats. But it is unlikely to be anywhere near a majority.
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Old 03-03-2010   #16
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Liz Sly, at the LA Times, Maliki's hold on power uncertain, 2 March 2010

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The unified Shiite bloc that swept the vote in the last election has split into two camps: Maliki's State of Law coalition, which has attempted to portray itself as nonsectarian, and the more religiously inclined Iraqi National Alliance.

The Iraqiya bloc headed by secular Shiite Iyad Allawi, who was the U.S.'s choice to lead the first postoccupation Iraqi government, is the favorite to pick up the Sunni Arab and secularist vote, but it will face competition from the Sunni religious Iraqi Accordance and the Iraq Unity Alliance, a new coalition headed by Shiite Interior Minister Jawad Bolani and Sunni Awakening leader Ahmed abu Risha. Even the main Kurdish Alliance that emerged as the kingmaker in the last parliament is confronting a challenge from the breakaway Kurdish Goran, or Change Party.

Perhaps the only issue on which these disparate groups agree is their desire to replace Maliki as prime minister, said Mowaffak Rubaie, Maliki's former national security advisor who is running as a candidate with the rival Shiite alliance.

"Anti-Maliki-ism will unite us," he said of the various parties, all likely to win seats. "There is a lot of strong opposition to Maliki personally."
Quote:
"He's paranoid about plots and it's not a delusion, because everyone is trying to get rid of him," said a Western diplomat in Baghdad who spoke on condition of anonymity. "It contributes to an atmosphere where you don't trust others and therefore it's hard to build relationships of trust."

If not Maliki, then who? That's something no one seems prepared to predict. Potential candidates include Adel Abdul Mehdi, a longtime American favorite from the Shiite alliance; former Prime Minister Allawi; and even perhaps Ahmad Chalabi, the mercurial onetime Pentagon protege who hopes to emerge as a compromise candidate.

Given the fierce political rivalries, it is possible the factions will settle on a complete unknown -- in the same way Maliki was plucked from relative obscurity to head the last government after the chosen Shiite nominee from his party, former Prime Minister Ibrahim Jafari, was essentially vetoed by the Kurds and U.S.
Steven Lee Myers, at the NYT, Iraq’s Top Cleric Refuses to Influence Elections, 2 March 2010

Quote:
In Najaf, the world’s most venerable seat of Shiite scholarship, clerics say Ayatollah Sistani, a pivotal figure ever since the American overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003, hopes to create for Iraq a model that is starkly different from the clerical rule that has governed Iran, which also has a Shiite majority.

The “quietist” Najaf school of Shiite thought, with Ayatollah Sistani in the lead, has long insisted that clerics play no direct role in government, and its proponents have opposed Iran’s model out of fear it could tar clerical authority and prestige.

If this approach outlasts him, which is not a given, since he is 79 and said to be ill, the impact on Iraq could be profound.
Quote:
Some in Iraq view Ayatollah Sistani’s stance skeptically, arguing that he remains by definition a sectarian figure, concerned above all with ensuring Shiite political control. But by not insisting on a unified Shiite coalition, he has given Sunni parties the opportunity to compete.

“The supreme religious authority does not endorse any of the parties standing in the elections and maintains that voters should choose those lists that best serve Iraq’s current and future interests and that are most capable of bringing the people the stability and development they desire so much,” he said when the campaign began.
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Old 03-05-2010   #17
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Marisa Cochrane Sullivan and James Danly at the Institute For The
Study of War,
Iraq on the eve of elections

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This backgrounder provides an update on the political landscape in Iraq on the eve of parliamentary elections. The paper begins with a brief overview of the electoral process. The second part of the backgrounder documents the Shi’a, Sunni, and Kurdish political landscapes. This paper concludes with some considerations on the post-election period of government formation.
Quote:
Roughly 18.9 million Iraqis are registered to vote in the upcoming election, at more than 10,000 polling centers across the country.8 Each polling center comprises one or more polling stations, of which there are more than 50,000 in total.9 More than 300,000 domestic election observers and observers from various political parties will monitor the election; in addition, eight diplomatic missions and international organizations have been asked to participate as international election monitors.10 Security for the polling sites will be provided by the Iraqi Security Forces, with some planning assistance and enablers provided by U.S. forces.11

In all, 6,172 candidates are vying for 325 seats in the Council of Representatives.12 310 seats are allocated into eighteen electoral constituencies, with each province considered one constituency.13 Eight of the remaining seats are reserved for minorities, including five for Christians, and seven of the remaining seats are compensatory seats that “are awarded to winning lists in proportion to the governorate seats they won in the country as a whole.”14 Candidates are registered to run in a specific province, and voters may only cast a ballot in their home province. Ballots from out-of-country voters are tallied in their home province. The 2009 electoral law stipulates an open list arrangement, allowing voters to select an individual candidate from a political party or a political party itself. Seats are awarded to the candidates with the highest number of votes.15 Once the results are certified and the winning candidates are seated in the Council of Representatives, the alliance-making continues in earnest as political parties vie for key concessions from one another in the distribution of ministerial appointments. This process of government formation will be discussed in greater detail at the end of this paper.
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Old 03-20-2010   #18
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Mosul Vilayet

Wilayah

Governates of Iraq

Institute for the Study of War, March 17th, 2010, Fact Sheet: Iraq's Preliminary Elections Results

Ninevah: 31 seats available, 17 seats to Iraqiyyah, 6 seats to the Kurdistan Alliance

Baghdad: 68 seats available, 24-25 seats to State of Law, 21-22 seats to Iraqiyyah

Basrah: 24 seats available, 12-13 seats to State of Law, 7 seats to the INA

Dr Reidar Visser, 17 March 2010, The Internal Dynamics of the Iraqi National Alliance: The Sadrist Factor

Quote:
Back in 2005, it was often an uphill struggle to argue that the influence of ISCI (then SCIRI) within the grand Shiite coalition known as the United Iraqi Alliance (UIA) was generally exaggerated. Only after the local elections in January 2009 was the gradual weakening of ISCI acknowledged more widely, even if that trend in reality had been in the making for many years.

Today, the partial results of the parliamentary elections indicate that the open-list system – whereby voters may override the backroom dealing and wheeling of the party cadres – has contributed to a further marginalisation of ISCI within the reconstituted Shiite alliance known as the Iraqi National Alliance (INA). Based on a prognosis of 67 INA seats, the results so far clearly indicate a Sadrist lead with 34 or more than half of the seats. Given the increasingly critical condition of ISCI with an obvious leadership vacuum after the death of Abd al-Aziz al-Hakim, it now makes sense to distinguish between the former militia (Badr) and the political wing (ISCI), especially since it seems Badr has a certain core electorate in some southern provinces. They get around 8 seats each, which is less than half of what the Sadrists get even if Badr and ISCI are counted together. The women’s quota will interfere with the final count: It does seem that the Sadrists have made a point of including a substantial number of female candidates on their lists, but in practice the women’s quota in this game will sometimes serve to strengthen the default ordering of the party elites against the wishes of the electorate. It is difficult to predict exactly what effect this will have, not least since some lists have fewer women on them than they should have had.
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Old 03-22-2010   #19
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Rachel Schneller at Jamestown Foundation, February 26, 2010, No Place Like Home: Iraq’s Refugee Crisis Threatens the Future of Iraq

Quote:
Demographic Warfare

The dynamic of Iraqi IDPs and refugees since 2006 has altered the demographic fabric of Iraq. The country in 2010 looks vastly different than it did before the Coalition invasion and the Samarra mosque bombing. Previously mixed Shi’a-Sunni neighborhoods are now almost entirely homogenous. Northern territories which used to house Kurds, Arabs, Turkomen, and other ethnicities are now less diverse, with Kurds claiming more area for the independent Kurdish region through tactics intended to chase away minorities.

One result may be greater regional stability, as ethnically homogenous populations more readily agree on social and political goals. Regional stability, however, will come at the cost of decreased national stability and greater fragility in relations between Iraq and its neighbors.

A homogenous Kurdish area will have less incentive to engage with Arabic-speaking areas of Iraq. A homogenous Shi’a region will have little incentive to listen to Sunni concerns, let alone make concessions to them. Ten years ago, many areas of Iraq were home to mixed populations of Kurds, Shi’a and Sunni who made the necessary political compromises to co-exist peacefully. The population displacement that has occurred in Iraq, however, has exacerbated sectarian and ethnic tensions and greatly decreased incentives for negotiation and compromise.

As demographically homogenous regions become stronger and more unified in their aspirations, the central government will become less capable of unifying the nation. Already, provincial governments have become more capable at exacting monetary tribute from the weak national government. In 2009, Baghdad bowed to Basra and the Kurdish Regional Government, according them one dollar per barrel of oil produced or refined. For each religious visitor, Najaf will receive a fee from the national government. National unity achieved through buying off provincial governments is tenuous, dependent on unstable oil prices in Iraq and a government struggling with corruption and inefficiency.

A national Iraqi census envisioned for late 2010 will reveal the extent to which the country has become divided (Aswat al-Iraq, August 31, 2009). This census is likely to be controversial, fraught with implementation challenges and marking a new phase of instability in Iraq. Determining the status of disputed territories such as Kirkuk will be linked to completing a census, which will reveal the demographic make-up of these highly sensitive areas. National elections slated for March 7 will also expose the extent to which Iraq has changed demographically since the 2005 elections, likely triggering further sectarian violence.
Aswat al-Iraq website, and description

Al Sabah

MEMRI (Middle East Research Institute) website, and description
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Old 03-28-2010   #20
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Dr. Marc Lynch at The National, Iraq's moment of truth, Last Updated: March 25. 2010 6:43PM UAE / March 25. 2010 2:43PM GMT

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There should be no illusions that the elections will decisively solve Iraq’s many problems, even if disaster is averted. The catalogue of challenges following the election remains as daunting as ever. Beyond the fears about electoral fraud or violence, deeper problems remain unresolved. The de-Baathification crisis demonstrated the limits of the independence of state institutions and inflamed Sunni-Shia tensions. Arab-Kurdish conflicts over Kirkuk, the distribution of oil revenues and contracts, and power in mixed areas remain exceedingly dangerous. Refugees and the internally displaced continue to live in limbo, with few prospects of return and reintegration. A battered but resilient insurgency still lingers, able to inflict pain in episodic outbursts of terror. Iran may still seek to use Iraq as a vehicle for confronting the United States should that relationship take a turn for the worse. Corruption, ineffective state institutions, unemployment and an array of social and economic problems continue to fester. The real test for the election will not be who ends up in the prime minister’s seat, but whether the new Iraqi Parliament can be more accountable to voters and convince alienated constituencies that politics pays more than violence.
The National, website, and description.
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