This is a very disappointing move. Reconciliation was going well, Iraq’s democratic foundations were taking hold, and the future seemed bright despite the frustrating deadlocks that define democracy, especially a new one in a bad neighborhood.
They are banned because they had ties to the Baath Party, but they have mostly transformed into Sunni representatives that favor nationalism. To ban them is to ban a lot of the Sunni leadership.
Among those banned are Defense Minister al-Obeidi and Saleh al-Mutlaq. The authors note that al-Obeidi used to be a Baathist but was actually imprisoned and tortured by Saddam’s government.
They warn that “It is just this kind of seemingly small problem that could unravel the entire political fabric of Iraq.” The Iraqis need to fix this, and fix it fast.