The Chronic Arab Political Impasse | Salem Al Ketbi


Although the group was the largest bloc in last October’s elections, it was unable to form a government due to opposition from rivals in the Coordination Framework, which includes the other Shiite forces who refuse to form a majority parliamentary government with their allies, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (PDK) and the Sunni Alliance for Sovereignty.

Far from discussing the reasons for Moqtada Al Sadr’s decision to recall members of his parliamentary bloc, the political deadlock is intensifying. Future political scenarios seem open to all possibilities. The parliamentary map could change against the will of the electorate.

This undermines the legitimacy of any new parliamentary and governmental formation that may replace the Sadrist MPs leading the elections, which means continued anger on the Iraqi street. Some believe the withdrawal of the Sadrist movement bloc from parliament gives it added clout as it reasserts its influence with the Iraqi public.

There is an element of pressure on his rivals who have blocked his plans to form a coalition government. But there are no guarantees. If new elections are called or if obstacles such as disagreements on electoral law, etc. are overcome, they will bring the stability that Iraq and its people need.

There are also voices who think the withdrawal is a tactical move to put pressure on rivals. But this scenario comes down to the vision of the rivals and their alternative plans to deal with the political reality created by the resignation of the Sadrist deputies.

What all Iraqi forces and currents must bear in mind is that Iraq no longer tolerates such political differences, especially under the current international conditions; it is difficult to hold this great country hostage to internal conflicts, many of which reflect a dictate from outside which only aims to maintain foreign influence and role, ignoring the will of the Iraqi people who have repeatedly protested against political proxies and manipulators.

Whatever the objectives behind the resignation of the Sadrists, it puts all of Iraq in a difficult situation. The crisis is taking on a new dimension that is difficult to predict, especially since the Iraqi political spectrum does not agree with the need to distance the country from its Iranian neighbor, who is mainly responsible for what is happening.

It is unwise to protect foreign interests while sacrificing the fate of one’s own country. Iraq, whose people dream of a rule of law, deserves that everyone overcome their differences and agree on a minimum of common principles that will allow their country to avoid chaos and turmoil.

This will not be done by presenting a party with a fait accompli, and trying to circumvent the results of the elections by maneuvers will only lose everyone. The Iraqi problem is similar to the Lebanese dilemma in its results and identical to it in its causes. The Iranian factor is the common denominator.

The only difference is the division within the Shia community. He is also not far from the influence of Tehran and its agents. The situation in Sudan, Libya, Yemen and elsewhere is no different from that in Iraq and Lebanon.

The fragmentation of political elites, external loyalties and personal interests play the main role in exacerbating political conflicts in these states. The problem of some Arab countries is not democracy and the ballot box. These mechanisms, long called for by many, are now part of the problem, not the solution.

This is not a call to reject or promote consultative processes, as some might conclude. But what I mean is that the crisis in these countries goes deeper than the mechanisms that are supposed to create favorable conditions, and we see that hateful bigotry prevents us from going past the ballot box.

Transnational interests and loyalties prevent the formation of governments that reflect the will of society. We see that those who invoke the vote do not accept its results. We are dealing with a state of stalemate that is the result of a one-sided culture that believes in democracy only when it serves its interests and goals, and turns against it when the results go against those interests.

It is often said that democracy needs democrats – those who believe in sovereignty and recognize the value of their homeland and the need to protect it from outside interference. Civilized political practice involves not just candidate lists and ballot boxes, but genuine beliefs rooted in the right of citizens to choose who will represent them.

In the total absence of these condemnations, the scene seems absurd, whether it is the eight months during which the electoral authorities failed to form a government in Iraq, the usurpation of power by militias in Sanaa, from the dissonance of two governments competing for power in Tripoli and Benghazi, or the pulsating Lebanese scene of all colors of the spectrum of political inanity.

Salem Al Ketbi is a United Arab Emirates political analyst and former candidate for the Federal National Council

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