The past week in Iraq has tested the mettle of the government and stoked fears that another sectarian war is brewing.
Following the deaths of two top insurgent operatives last week from the Sunni led Islamic State of Iraq, al-Qaeda in Iraq’s affiliate, the groups have sought to dispel all notions that their violence had run its course.
They did just that, most notably in a grisly multiple car bombing during Friday Prayers in Moqtada al Sadr’s Shia stronghold of Baghdad’s Sadr City, which left scores of Iraqis dead.
In the wake of the attacks, Sadr has threatened to regrouped his militia, the Mahdi Army, which spread havoc during the sectarian violence that engulfed Iraq in the wake of the American invasion. There are fears that this move may trigger another episode of sectarian violence, something which Iraq cannot afford. The attack highlights the fact that Iraq is still very much a nation on the brink.
The recent spate of violence in Iraq has been tied to the recent elections, and the motive behind the recent bombing would seem to be discontent at the fact that Sadr’s Shia bloc has won a large number of seats. This is being a called a grand victory for Sadr, as many had seen him being finished politically. He has been dubbed a kingmaker by some, as the two blocks who gained the most seats, Nouri al-Malaki’s State of Law list and Iyad Allawi’s Iraqiyya list, will court him to gather their governing coalition.
Yet to form a coalition government, the decision must first be agreed upon as to who has actually came out ahead on election day. Maliki has alleged fraud and demanded a recount in the wake of elections which found his State of Law list behind in the polls by two seats, giving Allawi and his block the first chance to form a governing coalition. Maliki’s demands have been met and a recount will soon take place. If votes are recounted and the results swayed in such a way that give Maliki’s bloc the victory, many will come to see the election as illegitimate.
This has triggered the United States to seek to end the dispute. The Independent UK is reporting that the U.S. is attempting to set up a power-sharing agreement that would see both Allawi and Maliki share the office of prime minister by dividing the 4 four year term into separate two year terms.