Al-Maliki, a dictator in the making
The most prominent candidate from the Iraqiya List — the opposition bloc against Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki’s list — was killed few days ago in east Iraq. He died in a car explosion that also killed his son and two brothers. Parliament Speaker Osama Al-Nujaifi, who belongs to the same list, said that five provincial councils’ candidates from the list were also recently killed. Assassination is not the only means to exclude rivals from the political scene in Iraq, pursuing them is another. Tarek Al-Hashimi and Rafea Al-Issawi are both being pursued by the security apparatuses of the premier who has become the sole competitor in the political arena.
We see an image of an Iraqi dictator who is consolidating his hold on power in a terrifying manner. Prime Minister Al-Maliki does not hesitate to use all means to stay in a position of authority, even with regard to local elections, like the provincial ones. There are several means adopted by Al-Maliki to eliminate his rivals, like using security detectives, courts and state institutions to pursue them, falsely accusing them of terror and corruption allegations. Al-Maliki also used money, which he has in plenty, in order to gain protection and sabotage the political life of the country. He has also not spared any of the state organs, like radio and television stations, in his bid to market his party and its candidates and to prevent competitors from gaining a foothold — a move displaying flagrant violation of electoral laws. Above all, Al-Maliki previously confiscated all governmental seats, effectively becoming the entire Cabinet! A minister for defense, security, finance, intelligence and even the Central Bank governor. He established an administration in his office that falls under his command and that runs all ministries of sovereignty and he also allocated huge funds to the body.
This horrible image of the situation in Iraq forces us to envision the country’s future. Al-Maliki is practically another Saddam. But Al-Maliki surpasses Saddam because he is protected by Iran and he has double the funds of Saddam, who was besieged during most of his years in power.
Power in Iraq was transferred from dictator Saddam to dictator Al-Maliki. It is Iraq’s bad luck that it does not live in a state of stability and prosperity despite the intellect of its people and its resources, which are in fact greater than the entire resources of Gulf countries when put together.
There are a few more weeks until the parliamentary elections. And there is no hope that the course and institutions will be corrected and that a transition will be made toward a democratic system that guarantees a safe and stable future for Iraq. We are aware that Al-Maliki’s passion and clear intent for domination, as well as the effort to eliminate his rivals, will lead Iraq toward destruction, just like Saddam did before. Imposing orders by force does not last for long but by the time an end is put to it, the project for a state is sabotaged and clashes that tear the country apart erupt. Saddam, who did not hesitate to use chemical weapons and involve his armed forces in foreign wars, failed, ending up in a ditch on the run. What happened to Saddam must be a lesson for anyone who wants to rule Iraq by power. The English, the communists and the Baathists all respectively failed. All of them built regimes that aimed to cancel out the features that distinguished Iraq for three thousand years. They aimed to impose a single system and they all suffered tragic ends.
The only difference is that Al-Maliki rode the wave of democracy, won the elections and later decided to alter the situation so no one, whether Sunnis, Shiites or Kurds, could compete against him. He is driving the train toward a hideous station named dictatorship.