Iraqi Government Gridlocked: No Oil Law; No Election Law Likely
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So to recap: No provincial election law means, probably, no provincial elections this year. No oil law. No significant Shiite-Sunni reconciliation. Politics gridlocked in Iraq.
Westerners look for public opinion leaders to politicians. But the influence of preachers in Iraq is significant. They are clearly very interested in the provincial elections, and hoping to position the parties to which they are affiliated to do well in them. The disposition of the northern oil city of Kirkuk is emerging as a key nationalist issue for Iraqi Arabs, putting the Shiite fundamentalist Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, which is allied with the Kurds, in a difficult position (see Saghir's remarks below). This is an issue on which the Sadrists could do well if there were elections.
The USG Open Source Center translates Friday prayers sermons from Iraq last Friday , which often refer to the contentious upcoming provincial elections and the dispute over Kirkuk. It seems clear that the Sunnis and the Sadrists are urging their adherents to register to vote in hopes of changing the government through the polls.:
Roundup of Iraqi Friday Sermons 1 Aug
Iraq -- OSC Summary
Saturday, August 2, 2008 . . .
Baghdad Al-Iraqiyah Television in Arabic - government-sponsored television station, run by the Iraqi Media Network ... within its 1500 GMTnewscast, Al-Iraqiyah carries the following report on today's Friday sermons:
Juan Cole teaches Middle Eastern and South Asian history at the University of Michigan and is author of the forthcoming "Napoleon's Egypt: Invading the Middle East."