U.S unlikely to impact on January elections in Iraq
Azerbaijan, Baku, October 21 / Trend U. Sadikhova /
Washington is unlikely to influence the upcoming January elections in Iraq. According to experts, the elections will face with differences between Shiite parliamentary bloc and Baghdad's current government backed by Sunni political parties.
"The U.S will play an observer role. Washington can only influence so much," Director, Research and Development INEGMA- institute for near east and gulf military analysis, Theodore Karasik, told Trend via e-mail.
On Monday U.S Deputy President Joe Biden called for the Iraqi government to hold transparent elections, BBC Arabic's website reported
The White House officially said that Biden advised the Iraqi Council of Representatives to approve the law on elections rapidly.
During his visit to Baghdad last month, he said that the upcoming parliamentary elections in Iraq in January will be crucial for future of this country.
Adviser to the Vice-President of Iraq, Khalil al-Azravi, thinks that Biden's appeal to hold transparent elections is wel-grounded.
"There were many violations during last elections. We called for the EU, UN and Arab League to send a special commission to monitor transparency of the elections," al-Azravi told Trend over phone from Iraq.
He said that Biden's appeal reflects requirements of the law and Iraqi people
Experts think that that the current government of Nouri al-Maliki will face problems with the upcoming elections, including the coalition split between Shiites and al-Maliki's party, supported by the Sunni majority.
In late August, leading Shiite parties of Iraq, including the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council and the anti-American bloc headed by the biggest Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr to participate in the elections, have created the "Iraqi National Coalition", without including the Islamic Ad-Daawa party, headed by the Prime Minister Al-Maliki
Al-Maliki thinks that new Shiite coalition will not be able to draw major Sunni and Kurdish parties. He does not rule out the possibility to unite with the Sunni parties to participate in January elections, Xinhua News Agency reported.
"There was a tendency for al-Maliki and others to be supported by secular voters in Iraq during the lections in 2005. The question will that happen again (during elections in January)," analyst on security in the Gulf countries, Karasik said.
Other analyst on Iraqi policy Amatzia Baram said that Biden's statement demonstrates the U.S willingness to hold elections in Iraq on the basis of voting through open lists, as al-Maliki's allies want.
"If the elections are held through close lists (voting for a party, but not separate candidates), the Shia coalition will win and al-Maliki is no longer member of the Shia coalition," professor in the Department of the History of the Middle East and former member of the U.S Institute of Peace on Iraqi Program, Baram told Trend over phone.
Voting through open lists in which a candidate but not a party is represented gives al-Maliki more chances for victory as he can included names of candidates from several parties," Baram said.
Al-Azravi said that the problem of Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq is a political problem, but not public one.
"There is no problem between Sunni and Shiite communities in Iraq. There are problems between political parties", he said.
The U.S.A. can offer Baghdad economic or military aid in return for the elections to be held on the basis of open lists. But they fail to openly declare about it, Baram said.
"It can be taken as open interference in Iraqi internal affairs. Iraq does not welcome it," Baram said.
Analysts said that the Iraqi elections are important for the U.S.A., given the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq by late 2011.
The first part of the withdrawal, according to Barack Obama's plan, will be completed in 2010.
Further events after Iraqi elections remain a key question, Karasik said.
The issue is for the USA not to allow a fiasco like we they seeing in Afghanistan, Karasik said.
Baram said that even if the U.S.A. can not now change the course of domestic policy in Iraq, U.S economic and diplomatic support will remain principal for Baghdad, even after withdrawal of U.S contingent in 2011.
U.S Diplomatic support can assist Iraq in establishing relations with the Arab Gulf countries, particularly Kuwait, as well as in relations with Turkey, Baram said.
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