no loyalty, no law: as iraqi govt forms, political defection is a trend

As Iraqi politicians jockey to form the next government, it is becoming clear that just one or two MPs could tip the balance of power. Many believe the any defectors will be tempted by money, power or the promise of senior positions. And the long-delayed law on political parties is what makes it so easy for them to jump ship. by Mustafa Habib in Baghdad more

attacks on harvest workers in northern iraq signal new security crisis

Every year thousands of the ethno-religious Yazidi group take part in the harvest on nearby Arab-owned farms. However this year deadly attacks on Yazidi labourers have sent most of them back home early. There are political and economic repercussions. And this is yet another example of how Iraq’s deteriorating security situation and the Syrian crisis is affecting ordinary Iraqis. by Christine van den Toorn and Nawaf Ashur in Sulaymaniyah more

kirkuk’s biggest losers: two of the country’s most powerful politicians

Kirkuk is a major flashpoint for any conflict between Iraqi Kurdistan and the federal Iraqi government in Baghdad. Each side says it belongs to them. However recent elections saw two of the major competitors over the province – Iraqi Kurdish President Massoud Barzani and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki – defeated. by Shalaw Mohammed in Kirkuk more

security overload: weeks later, baghdad streets still blocked because of elections

Security was tight for Iraq’s general election and in many cases in Baghdad, this involved blocking off streets near polling centres. Problem is, polling centres were often public buildings like schools. And security forces have yet to remove the blockades. Locals are suffering – and taking matters into their own hands. by Ibrahim Saleh in Baghdad more

a question of loyalty: if kurdish mps back new iraqi government, it may tear kurdistan apart

Once again, Iraq’s Kurdish politicians may hold the balance of power when it comes to forming the next Iraqi government. And so far, they have taken a unified position. But there’s a problem: While some Kurdish parties simply can’t countenance another four years of PM Nouri al-Maliki, others don’t mind him. Taking part in the next government with al-Maliki offers many benefits. But could it also tear the Kurds apart? by Hiwa Barznjy in Erbil more

will iraqi pm’s opponents play post-sectarian politics - just to get rid of him?

Post-elections, it seems that almost every politician – outside of those in the Iraqi PM’s party – is united in one aim: Keeping the Iraqi PM out of power. That desire crosses both sectarian and ethnic lines. And those with that desire have a majority of seats. But can they overcome their differences to form a ‘grand alliance’? And even if they do, who can replace the well entrenched PM? by Mustafa Habib in Baghdad more

ladies’ first: iraq’s first women-only council formed in kurdish village

A small village in Dohuk province has decided to create a women’s council. The council members say it’s a first for Iraq and the villagers in Barchi hope it could become an example that will support women’s rights right around the country. However, as the feminist council’s critics say, the council will face a lot of challenges, and not least from sticklers for tradition. by Abdul-Khaleq Dosky in Dohuk more

all talk, no action: iraqi kurdistan’s new freedom of information law toothless

Iraqi Kurdistan has a new freedom of information law. Despite being lauded by all local political parties, the law is almost a year old and has barely been used. At a recent meeting, journalists blamed politicians for wording the law in an imprecise way while MPs said the journalists were at fault. by Special Correspondent in Erbil more

small win, big success: iraq’s civil democratic alliance celebrates four new MPs

The coalition of civil society-minded, secular parties competing together as the Civil Democratic Alliance only won four seats in Iraq’s general elections. Nonetheless their supporters and their newly-minted MPs see the outcome as a successful result of their new election policy. by Ibrahim Saleh in Baghdad more

let the post election horse trading begin: iraqi politicians playing the long game

The current Prime Minister of Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki, and his bloc won the largest number of votes in the recent general election. However it is unlikely to be enough to form a government. Along with economic issues and ongoing violence in Anbar, Iraq is now facing a political crisis that could go on for months. by Mustafa Habib in Baghdad more
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