The following article was published by Reidar Visser, an historian of Iraq educated at the University of Oxford and currently based at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs. It is reproduced here with the author’s permission. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.
Iraq Gets A New De-Baathification Board but the Supreme Court Becomes a Parody
It’s an indication of why Iraq is not unraveling completely: In the midst of political crisis, the Iraqi parliament today actually managed to approve a new de-Baathification board. The decision on the issue had been stalled since 2009. After the death of former director Ali al-Lami in May 2011 an acting official close to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki had taken care of the de-Baathification file.
Of the seven new members who were nominated by the cabinet, two were Kurds. Those were incidentally the same Kurdish candidates that were nominated back in 2009. Today’s official parliament report mentions only one of these two and some press reports say one candidacy was withdrawn by the cabinet.
Accordingly, it is quite possible only 6 members were agreed after all, which in itself is legally dubious. At any rate, two other members of the new board are close to the secular Iraqiyya party: Muzahim Darwish al-Jibburi, a former minister of state who lost his job after the cabinet was downsized last summer, and Faris Abd al-Sattar, a lawyer from Mosul who has previously worked for the Nujayfi brothers there. The remaining three commission members are connected with Shiite Islamist circles.
Falah Hassan Shanshal is a Sadrist. He is considered a hardliner in de-Baathification issues and is seen as a frontrunner for the presidency of the commission. Like several other members he is a victim of the former regime in the sense that he has been previously imprisoned. Jabbar al-Muhmamadawi is also thought to have ties to the Sadrist milieu whereas Basim Muhammad al-Badri is probably linked to the Daawa.