The Shia House is an illusion
It is simply not true that there is a “Shia political house” in Iraq. This is one of the hilarious inventions of Ahmed Chalabi, who died after seeing the lie of the liberation of Iraq crumble before his eyes.
Since the Americans imposed on Iraqis a political system based on quotas, similar to the one in Lebanon, candidates seized power as representatives of the so-called “components” that replaced the one Iraqi people who, somehow, vanished.
According to US desires, the Shia, the largest component of Iraqi society, were destined to take control of a larger part of the state. This meant that the old and new Shia political parties would together access the lion’s share of Iraq’s wealth, in a system where much is determined by corruption.
If one denies the existence of the so-called “Shia house,” it is for the reason that such a house has never existed except as an illusion. This is because the Shia parties and the militias affiliated with them (or directly affiliated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards) are not tied by a common ideological thread, even if they belong to the same religious sect.
The Shia of Iraq are of different types. Their differences could lead to strife if their interests clash. Before the occupation and the emergence of political Shia organisations and their accession to power, there was an obvious difference between Iran-aligned Shia and Arab Shia in Iraq.
Parties and militias tried to put an end to their differences temporarily, as their grievances could wait. That worked for a few years. They were confident that US-Iranian protection would keep them comfortable. There have been events that could be considered an exception, such as the move by an angry Moqtada al-Sadr, with his mass of followers, to occupy the seat of power which is the Green Zone.
The win by the political movement led by Sadr cannot be deemed a victory for the so-called Shia house. Rather, it was a defeat for the greater part of that house. That defeat exposed the lie. Although their militias occupy the street, the Shia parties that are close to Iran will have to leave the Green Zone soon. This is a notion that frightens those parties and militias affiliated with Iran. Will we be returning to the circle of confrontation between the Shia of Iran and the Arab Shia of Iraq?
I think we are in the midst of that struggle today.
Sadr does not need to remind the Iraqis of the corruption of Nuri al-Maliki, although he has not mentioned the latter by name until now. But the Shia parties and militias that lost in the elections do not dare abandon Maliki for fear of being weakened themselves. Maliki is the leader of the Da’wa Party. But he is also the only politician who can be easily brought to trial for abandoning Mosul to ISIS when he ordered the Iraqi army, as commander-in-chief of the armed forces, to withdraw without a fight and to leave their modern weapons as a gift to the terrorist organisation.
Today, Sadr behaves as if he has no Shia partners. In fact, they were only partners in the sharing of the spoils. Politics eventually allowed him to posture in front of them as an opponent.
No one among all parties is competent to rule, but weapons are the problem. There is no reconciliation as along as weapons are all around.