Posted 17 August 2012 - 09:43 AM
8-17-2012 Uticensis Risk (Political Risk Consultancy): Baghdad and Erbil step back from the brink on their recent standoff in Ninawa. Security and energy balance of power contest continues. The Turkish foreign minister's trip to Kirkuk makes a splash, and parliament sends back Maliki's supplemental budget and security nominees. Maliki replaces a senior counterterrorism official following an embarrassing attack. Najaf¡'s provincial government is buttressed by close ties in Baghdad and the province's status as the capital of global Shi'ism, encouraging local officials to press Baghdad aggressively to show voters they are on top of the development agenda. Some initiatives appear to have worked well, but the flagging "Najaf as Islamic Cultural Capital" project has wasted huge sums and dealt Governor Zurfi a major setback. The political class is bungling next spring's provincial elections, passing an election law in conflict with Supreme Court decisions, leaving Kirkuk out and still failing to select a new electoral commission.