Friday, August 17

"The Princes of Sects"

Iyad 'Allawi dubbed the participants in the new coalition as “the princes of sects”

Political junkies the world over must be having a ball trying to keep up with Iraq politics. Iraq Slogger's Amer Moshen has a great summary of the latest dizzying developments; don't miss a word, especially if you're bored to tears with US politics.

But I'm highlighting the following passages from the summary because -- well, because Pundita is an Allawi fan. And also because it's still a wonder to me that Iraq is free enough to sound so many views. For all his power, Saddam Hussein lived in fear of Iraq's sects; for an Iraqi to be able to poke fun at them, and have his opinion heard in Iraq, is really something.
To accentuate the absence of Sunni representation in the new coalition, several Arab papers are referring to it as “the Shi'a-Kurdish alliance,” a term that may be as inaccurate as the “moderate” label that the leaders of the front are trying to promote.

The “Front” also excluded non-sectarian parties - which are admittedly few and of limited popularity – a fact that its enemies are exploiting to portray the new coalition as a sectarian front. According to Az-Zaman, Iyad 'Allawi dubbed the participants in the new coalition as “the princes of sects,” and said that his party, the Iraqi List, was not invited to the negotiations because of its “secular” character.

Pro-Government al-Mada tried to portray the new Front under the best possible light, claiming in its headline that the front aims at “supporting the government and energizing the political situation” in the country. The paper also tried to minimize the effect of the absence of the Sunni Islamic Party from the coalition, highlighting a congratulatory telegram that was sent by Hashimi to Talabani and avoiding to report the criticisms directed at the new coalition by Hashimi’s party.

Az-Zaman, on the other hand, devoted its front page to displaying the attacks directed at the new front. According to the paper, officials in 'Allawi’s bloc described the Front as being led by “sectarians and racists, with Iranian sponsorship, against the national project.”

Furthermore, Pan-Arab al-Quds al-'Arabi (which often panders to the Sunni Arab public) headlined that the new front “edifies the exclusion of Sunnis."

There's more, lot's more.

Note: Moshen italicized all the newspaper names.

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