Qaani's Efforts to Reach Political Understandings in Iraq Stumble at Barzani, Sadr's Demands

A picture hows few Iraqi lawmakers attending a scheduled parliament session in Baghdad, with most major political blocs boycotting it. (AFP)
A picture hows few Iraqi lawmakers attending a scheduled parliament session in Baghdad, with most major political blocs boycotting it. (AFP)
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Qaani's Efforts to Reach Political Understandings in Iraq Stumble at Barzani, Sadr's Demands

A picture hows few Iraqi lawmakers attending a scheduled parliament session in Baghdad, with most major political blocs boycotting it. (AFP)
A picture hows few Iraqi lawmakers attending a scheduled parliament session in Baghdad, with most major political blocs boycotting it. (AFP)

The Iraqi parliament announced on Monday that the postponement of the presidential elections will not impact the work of the legislature.

The parliament had on Monday cancelled the polls as it lacked the quorum to hold a session.

Only 58 members out of 329 were present, which is less than the necessary two-thirds quorum needed to choose a new president for the mostly ceremonial post.

On Sunday many lawmakers said they would boycott the proceedings after the Supreme Court suspended a former foreign minister's presidential bid over graft allegations.

The court said on Sunday that the candidacy of Hoshyar Zebari, a veteran Iraqi Kurdish statesman, could not proceed until corruption charges from a separate 2016 stint as finance minister were dealt with.

The elections have been postponed indefinitely until political parties can resolve their differences.

Political sources said commander of Iran's Quds Forces, Esmail Qaani, has become involved in efforts to reached political understandings to resolve the presidential elections and form a new government.

He has held several meetings with officials in Baghdad, Erbil and Najaf to reach agreements with officials.

His efforts have, however, stumbled at Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) leader Masoud Barzani's insistence on Zebari's nomination. The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan is meanwhile insisting on the reelection of President Barham Salih.

Qaani has also stumbled at Sadrist movement leader cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's insistence on the formation of national majority government that excludes the rival Shiite pro-Iran Coordination Framework. He is also adamant on the exclusion of the State of Law coalition, specifically its leader former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Sadr emerged as the winner in the October parliamentary elections, giving him control over the formation of the government.



Allawi to Asharq Al-Awsat Biden Tried to Persuade Me to Abandon Premiership in 2010

Iraq’s former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi. (Getty Images)
Iraq’s former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi. (Getty Images)
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Allawi to Asharq Al-Awsat Biden Tried to Persuade Me to Abandon Premiership in 2010

Iraq’s former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi. (Getty Images)
Iraq’s former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi. (Getty Images)

Iraq’s former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi revealed the details of how he was prevented from assuming the post of PM after winning a majority of seats in the 2010 parliamentary elections.

In a detailed account to Asharq Al-Awsat, he said then US Vice President Joe Biden had requested that he assume the post of president - which is reserved for Sunnis - and to work on persuading the Sunnis to accept this proposal. Biden said he would work on persuading the Kurds.

Allawi was responding to a three-part interview Asharq Al-Awsat held with Iraqi politician Fakhri Karim during which he spoke at length about the political process in Iraq in the post-Saddam Hussein era.

Karim acknowledged that he made a grave error when he opted for Nouri al-Maliki remaining in his position as PM even though Allawi had won the parliamentary majority.

Allawi told Asharq Al-Awsat that Biden proposed to him that he assume the position of president.

“Biden visited me after we won the elections in 2010. He requested that we talk in another room. He was accompanied by Llyod Austin, current Defense Secretary and then commander of the US forces in Iraq, then American Ambassador James Jeffrey and then State Department official Antony Blinken, who is now Secretary of State,” he revealed.

Biden proposed that Allawi become president to which he replied that he would be faced by “two major hurdles”: the Sunnis and the Kurds.

He also cited a third hurdle, the Iraqi people, “who had entrusted me to become head of government.”

Allawi then revealed that prominent Sunni figures, such as former Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, Saleh al-Matlaq and former parliament Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi had agreed to him becoming president.

“They agreed even though Biden informed them [the Sunnis] that they will get nothing in the state. They replied that this doesn’t matter,” recalled Allawi.

Allawi agreed Karim about the circumstances that led to ISIS’ takeover of swathes of Iraq and with his account of events related to attempts to withdraw confidence from former PM Maliki.

Karim had told Asharq Al-Awsat that Maliki did not heed Masoud Barzani’s warnings about the movement of extremists near Mosul city, which eventually led to ISIS’ takeover.