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Ali is an economist and political analyst, working at a private UK-based company. He worked previously at the World Health Organisation and has an MSc in Development Studies from SOAS. You can follow him on Twitter (@alialsaffar).

A failed prime minister, a bank robber, a pretender to the throne and a kidnapper walk into a…

I am yet to decide on who to vote for in next month’s election, but I know who I will certainly not be voting for. The Iraqi National Alliance really gets me angry. Proper angry, the type of anger that I have to restrain so as not to lash out. I don’t know if its the ineptitude of the vast majority of the candidates running on the slate, or whether it’s the fact that it has become a wagon for any opportunist to jump onto in a desperate quest for a place in parliament, or whether it’s the subsequent mishmash of completely differing ideologies, visions and agendas that have become grouped in this ragtag alliance. I think more than anything, it is the monopoly on morals, ethics and religion that is claimed by the leading parties in the INA. This really gets under my skin. Ali al-Lami’s bombastic purge against political rivals is part of a wider campaign of character assassination and smear being carried out by the INA. I understand that they have come to appreciate the precariousness of their situation. That this group of flip-flopping has-beens  have come to terms with the fact that they are no longer an attractive prospect for many of Iraq’s voters and so have to resort to these desperate tactics. But to be so hypocritical about it??

For one, they speak of the crimes of the Ba’ath, and have forced this issue right up there so that it has become the primary electoral issue. But what is it about the Ba’ath that the INA takes exception to? The murder, corruption and general criminality of it? Surely not. Particularly when one of their primary candidates (number 15 on the Alliance’s Baghdad list) is Hakim al-Zamili. Who murdered, embezzled, and kidnapped. I should know, I lost my father to this scumbag. What’s more, the person who implicated Zamili in the first place is now sitting pretty 14 places above him.

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