Trouble in Mideast Today
Juan Cole writes that the negotations around forming an initial government in Iraq are collapsing.
The US spiked the Iraqi parliamentary process by putting in a provision that a government has to be formed with a 2/3s majority. This provision is a neo-colonial imposition on Iraq. The Iraqi public was never asked about it. And, it is predictably producing gridlock, as the UIA is forced to try to accommodate a party that should be in the opposition in the British system, the Kurdistan Alliance.
Likewise, in France, a simple majority of the National Assembly can dismiss the cabinet. Likewise in India. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the 2/3s super-majority is characteristic of only one nation on earth, i.e. American Iraq. I fear it is functioning in an anti-democratic manner to thwart the will of the majority of Iraqis, who braved great danger to come out and vote.
It is all to the good if the Shiites and Kurds are forced to come to a set of hard compromises. But not everything can be decided at the beginning of the process. Some issues (Kirkuk is a good example) must be decided by a long-term negotiation. I perceive this latest Kurdish demarche to consist in a power play where they grab all sorts of concessions on a short-term basis, just because they are needed to form a government, even though no national consensus has emerged on these issues.
Yes, sometimes majoritarian rule is harsh, but rarely can you get any more peaceful and just compromises with artificial limits.