Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Post-Occupation Iraq's Crippled Political Institutions

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Post-Occupation Iraq's Crippled Political Institutions

Article excerpt

Adeed Dawisha, professor of political science at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, appeared at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC on Feb. 15 to discuss "Post-Occupation Iraq: The Brittleness of Political Institutions." He offered a grim analysis on the progress of Iraq's democratic experiment.

According to Dawisha, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's "creeping authoritarian proclivities and attitudes" are a growing threat to the stability of Iraq's political institutions. Maliki, the leader of the largely Shi'i State of Law Coalition, recently ordered security forces close to him to detain members of the Sunni-backed al-Iraqiya political coalition, accusing those targeted of having ties with the outlawed Ba'ath Party.

These detentions, Dawisha said, outraged Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq, a member of al-Iraqiya, leading him to decry Maliki as a "dictator." According to Dawisha, Maliki took strong offense to al-Mutlaq's condemnation, and in retaliation sent tanks to surround the deputy prime minister's house. Furthermore, Dawisha noted, Maliki demanded that parliament fire al-Mutlaq for "not having faith in the democratic process." Despite classifying the overall performance of Iraq's parliament as "weak" and "abysmal," Dawisha did point out that the Iraqi parliament declined to act upon Maliki's request.

Dawisha cited as another source of concern the dysfunction of the Iraqi cabinet, which he described as a "brittle political institution. …

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