Thursday, January 7, 2010

Iraq De-Baath commission bans Sunni party from March elections

According to McClatchy's Inside Iraq blog, the government's de-Baath commission "banned Sunni politicians and their political blocs from participating in Iraq’s national elections due in March."  One of the politicians banned, Saleh al Mutlak,

is heading a parliamentary bloc that won more than 11 seats out of 275 in 2005 elections and was part of a committee that wrote the current Iraqi constitution. Al Mutlak is a part of a one of the main political blocs, Iraqiya, headed by Iraq’s former prime minister, Ayad Allawi, who threatened to boycott the elections if the ban was proved.

You can bet that General Odierno's office - and the White House - are seeking "clarification."  But an action such as this is going to rile up thousands of already riled-up Sunni Arabs, many of whom (those among the Sunni Awakening/sons of Iraq groups) have been getting hammered by the predominantly Shii-Kurd government for months.  If the Sunnis don't get a fair shake in the March elections, there will be trouble - count on it - with corresponding pressure on Obama (I'm thinking John McCain, Joe Lieberman, Lindsay Graham) to slow the US withdrawal.

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