tuque /tūk/ n Canadian English, var. toque [19th c. Canadian French, from the French toque, from the Basque tauka] 1 A close-fitting knitted cap, often with a long tapering end or tassel or pompom. 2 fig Something quintessentially Canadian.
souq /sūk/ n from the Arabic سوق var. souk 1 An open-air marketplace. 2 fig A central meeting place for the circulation of news and ideas.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Next stop on the Prorogation Tour '08 - Iraq?

Now that Canada's innovative democracy has found a trump card for a no-confidence motion - Prorogation - there may be a market for its export.

Rumours are swirling that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (pictured) may be facing a confidence motion from Parliament soon, as a result of his controversial plan to establish tribal councils which could significantly boost the local power of Shia parties at the expense of Sunnis and Kurds.

(By the way, the Arabic for 'prorogation' is تعطيل (ta'tiil), from the root عـطـل ('atala), meaning 'to be idle or not working' - another strike for the 1500-page al-mawrid al-waseet dictionary!)

As our friend at the Talisman blog explains so well, Kurdish parliamentary support is vital to al-Maliki keeping his ruling Da'wa party (a Shia bloc) in power. But it seems that al-Maliki's brazenness at trying to centralize his party's control over the regions of Iraq through these pro-Da'wa tribal councils is tantamount to Stephen Harper's pulling the plug on public funds for political parties: it's uniting everyone against him.

Even other Shia groups, such as the supporters of Muqtada al-Sadr and blocs in Iraq's mostly Shi'ite south who want to carve more autonomy for their region like the Kurds have up north, may be opposing al-Maliki on this one. The result: there is a move afoot to force out al-Maliki as prime minister and replace him with someone more pliable.

Iraq's president, Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, says al-Maliki has the confidence of Parliament. But the backbenchers are murmuring.

Free xmas list idea for Harper: re-gift prorogation and send c/o Nouri al-Maliki, Government of Occupied Iraq.

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