We have decided to issue a short report on each of the three major Shiite political parties in today’s Iraq, ISCI, Dawa, and the Sadrists. ISCI first:
The Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI), formerly known as the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) and sometimes just called “Majlis” (meaning “The Council”) is headed by Sayyed Amr al-Hakim. Founded in 1982, it depends upon the support of the country’s Shia community. Despite a strong showing in Iraq’s earlier elections; ISCI did poorly in the 2010 parliamentary election at a time when Nouri Al-Maliki and his Dawa Party were in the ascendancy. ISCI bounced back however and the coalition of which ISCI forms the principal part, the Iraq National Alliance, fared well in the 2014 elections. Today, ISCI remains one of the three major Shiite political parties; the others being the State of Law coalition (of which the Premier’s Dawa Party is the main element), and the Sadrist group. ISCI are paternalist in nature and are the conservative (or if you prefer Republican) party of Iraq Shiite politics. Their preferred candidate for Premier has been Bayan Jabr but he is unlikely to gain cross Shiite political support so they are currently promoting Adel Abdul Mahdi.
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Maliki does not have ISCI’s backing as the man to deal with the ISIS threat. Spokesman for the Sadrist bloc (currently allied with ISCI), Jawad Al-Jubouri, declared Adel Abdul Mahdi, ISCI member and former Iraq Vice-President, was among the favourites to represent the Shia alliance instead of Maliki, the other name in the frame being Ahmed Chalabi (though no Sadrist himself Chalabi has long been the darling of the Sadrist movement).
Amr al-Hakim says that finding a new Prime Minister “acceptable to the other partners” and “representing the majority” is essential as this is “how we create the rhythm”.
One very senior member of ISCI told the NCF, “Our problem is that Premier Maliki issues statements without consulting any of us. To be honest this actually weakens his position in the Shiite alliance. Though thus far only ISCI and the Sadrists have stood up to Maliki. And time is sensitive. Those close to Maliki are suggesting we can take a couple of months to decide on the premiership but that we should decide who is to be President and Speaker immediately. We don’t want any such postponement because that would be the road to dictatorship.”
ISCI does not support Iranian intervention in Iraq. Senior member of ISCI, Ali Al-Moayyed, has declared that Iraq’s citizens are still capable of dealing with the current crisis without outside help. He stated that "given the fatwa issued by the religious authority [Ayatollah Ali Sistani] and presence of millions of Iraqi people on the scene, I don't think there will be any need to the presence of noble Iranians in Iraq's war fronts."
On the ISIS issue, ISCI President Amr al-Hakim said there was a “need to face the severe terrorist attack through unity”, stressing the importance of harmonising domestic, regional and international efforts to fight terrorism so as to deliver a coherent and coordinated response to current threats to the country, the region and the world.
Political Unity and Terrorism
Amr al-Hakim reiterated his belief that Iraq has the “ability to overcome all problems and crises” through the establishment of “partnerships among the key political actors of the country”. He stressed how urgent it was to avoid “mutual accusation of disloyalty” and accused Iraq’s television channels of strengthening sectarian divisions and called on his followers to respect the call for reconciliation delivered by the Iraq’s religious leaders.
He further announced that Iraqis must be ready to make sacrifices if they wish to achieve democracy; “everything has a price that everyone must pay”. He went on to say that those “igniting the flame of terrorism” would eventually be consumed by its fire. He further added that the “impure, intellectually trivial and criminal Takfiri Daesh terrorists (i.e. ISIS)” will soon be forced to retreat.
“Iraqis believe it is their destiny to defend the country, the region, and the world” he continued. He declared that “the conflict today is a conflict of wills, not of politics” and that victory would go to those who were in the right. He further added that those who remain silent about current injustices committed by the terrorists are just as guilty as they are.