Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Prospects for Iraq

'Who will run the show next?' from The Economist:
In January, Mr Allawi got 14% of the vote, and hopes to improve on that. He has drawn some support from Shia secularists, military families and others opposed to the UIA's clerical links and its ties to Iran. [...] But Mr Allawi no longer has the advantage of incumbency, which he used in January to promote himself as a strong leader who could put Iraq together again.
Some American and western officials in Baghdad hope that Mr Allawi can stage a comeback, even with a modest share of the vote, since many Sunni politicians say that they would back him as prime minister.
The bumbling current prime minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, of the Dawa party, is said to want to keep his job but is unlikely to do so. Adel Abd al-Mahdi, the able former finance minister who is a SCIRI man, has a fair chance of replacing him.
Interestingly, in The Economist's table, Laith Kubba, who I think used to be a spokesman for Mr al-Jaafari is listed as a leading personality in the Iraq National Peace List, one of three breakaway groups from the UIA.

Forecast, Dec 8th 2005, from the Economist Intelligence Unit:
On the assumption, though, that some of the factors driving Sunni Arab and wider Iraqi alienation can be eased through negotiation, and thus that a clearer separation of Iraqi insurgents from the community they purport to represent will begin to emerge, there should be some improvement in security by end-2007. Oil production growth will be constrained over the forecast period by security problems and long-standing underinvestment, but modest increases in output will aid real GDP growth.
We have revised down our estimate of oil output in 2005. This has had a knock-on effect and has prompted a reduction in our projection for real GDP growth to around 6% in 2006. We have revised down our debt stock forecast for 2007 to US$62.9bn, as we now expect former Soviet bloc creditors to soon fall in line with the Paris Club agreement.


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