Sunday, May 03, 2009

Gaith Abdul-Ahad: Insightful report on Nouri al_Malaki's consolidation of power

Six years after Saddam, new Iraqi strongman tightens his grip | World news | The Guardian

"Any self-respecting Iraqi politician who wants to build his own power base must first establish or acquire his own intelligence service. After a couple of weeks in Baghdad talking to politicians, members of parliament and intelligence officials I came to the conclusion that Iraq has seven separate intelligence units. Or maybe eight. No one could agree on the precise number.

"An Iraqi journalist with links to some government officials explained. "People shouldn't blame Maliki. The security situation creates from the leader a dictator, and that's normal and logical, to surround yourself by people you trust; your friends and family, because you don't trust the others.

""Maliki and the leadership of Dawa [Maliki's party] managed to obtain the loyalty of military and civilian institutions and commanders and now those officers are loyal to Dawa and moved their alliances from other parties.

""Officers, even if they are not part of Dawa, want to kiss the hand that feeds them they become part of the matrix because they are appointed by Maliki. For example, officers attached to the supreme council changed their loyalties to that of Dawa."

"Faryad Rawandousi, a member of the security committee in the Iraqi parliament, said: "There are a lot of appointments of officers, brigade commanders and above - 140 ranks that come directly from the prime minister without obtaining the approval of the parliament. These appointments are done without going back to the constitution, using existing laws of the former regime without taking into consideration that we are in a very different political system."

""The big commanders are loyal to whoever puts them in power," an official in the ministry of defence said. "They support Maliki because he is not imposing on them difficult conditions and some moved their alliances from other parties.""

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