Iraqiya bloc leader Ayad Allawi today reiterated what has been a regular warning to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, cautioning that his bloc would leave the coalition government if Maliki does not follow through with promises of power-sharing.
Iraqiya is nominally a member of the coalition at the moment, but as both their demands and Maliki’s intentions seem to change by the hour the side has anonunced its withdrawal several times and threatened to do so several more.
The group is a key partner for Maliki, as they represent virtually the entire Sunni Arab portion of Iraq, but are also very much a reluctant partner, as Maliki has clear designs on a Shi’ite dominated cabinet, with a few Kurds thrown in for appearances’ sake.
Iraqiya has designs on as many as 11 portfolios in the new government, while the Maliki government’s initial indications were that they would receive nothing beyond the parliamentary speaker’s position and the promise to give Allawi control over a council that was invented on the spot. The Defense Ministry is also sought, complicating matters as Maliki’s attempts at centralizing power would be serious curtailed if the military is not under his direct control.
Far from the usual disputes over cabinet that one might see in any nation with a coalition government, however, the Iraqiya dispute seems to be a very real battle for the future of Iraq, with the prospect not only of Iraqiya leading a powerful opposition if the coalition falls, but the likelihood of an escalating insurgency among the disaffected Sunni voters who made Iraqiya the largest bloc in the nation, only to see it given no serious role in governance.
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