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Iraqi Official Blames Allawi's Bloc For Coalition Deadlock

Head of the Al-Iraqiyah coalition Ayad Allawi
Head of the Al-Iraqiyah coalition Ayad Allawi
BAGHDAD -- An Iraqi government official says some factions within former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's Al-Iraqiyah bloc are to blame for the failure to form a new coalition government the past seven months, RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq (RFI) reports.

Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh has told RFI that since Iraq's March 7 parliamentary elections, intransigent factions within Al-Iraqiyah have tried "to frustrate the talks and prevent a fruitful conclusion."

He said some "political groups...count on regional powers to strengthen their position, which is a strategic mistake as this will draw other regional players into the arena, further muddling the picture by setting off a regional rivalry on Iraqi soil."

Leading Al-Iraqiyah member Jamal al-Battikh told RFI "there are moderates and militants within all blocs, including [Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's] State of Law (SoL), but a broad, inclusive coalition depends on the moderates in all blocs gaining the upper hand."

But Al-Iraqiyah spokeswoman Maysoon al-Damaluji told RFI that "it has been several weeks since Al-Iraqiyah asked SoL for clarification as to what it understands by national partnership [and it has not] yet received a response."

"Apparently there is no national partnership. The SoL is seeking to concentrate all power in the hands of one individual, namely the commander in chief," she said, in a clear reference to al-Maliki.

Al-Dabbagh said that during Al-Maliki's recent nine-day tour to Syria, Jordan, Iran, Egypt, and Turkey, "there is no denying the political situation figured prominently in [his] talks with the leaders of these countries."

"Al-Maliki's message was that the formation of a new Iraqi government is an Iraqi affair to be resolved by the Iraqis themselves, and the countries of the region should be supportive of these efforts," he said.

Al-Dabbagh said the United States is maintaining good relations with all Iraqi factions and stands equidistant from them, without interfering in the deadlocked political process. "The United States is very cautious in its dealings with Iraq, its role being one of advice and consultancy," he explained.

He added that Washington "has close and good relations with all political factions, and therefore wants to bring their views closer. The Americans do not want to interfere, because they are aware that any external meddling will only compound an already complex situation."