French report: Even Sadr can not resolve the crisis of protests .. This is the root of the problem

French report: Even Sadr can not resolve the crisis of protests .. This is the root of the problem

05/11/2019 110

French report - Even Sadr can not resolve the crisis of protests - This is the root of the problemKalkamsh Press / Baghdad

Protests against Iraq’s ruling class are crippling as a general strike paralyzes the country. Politically, all tracks remain closed, and even strong Shiite leader Moqtada al-Sadr seems unable to resolve the crisis.

Since November 3, 2019, Iraq’s roads, oil installations and government institutions have been completely paralyzed by civil disobedience sweeping the country. Protesters continue to move around the country, demanding the “overthrow of the regime” embodied by the political class, which they consider corrupt and inefficient.

The country is once again plunged into violence, with clashes in central Baghdad on Monday, November 4, raising the death toll among protesters. Since October 1, 2019, the date of the start of the popular protests, nearly 270 people have died, the vast majority of them protesters, according to Agence France-Presse data, as the Iraqi authorities have stopped giving an official census of the number of victims of violence accompanying the protests.

The blockage appears to be comprehensive by the political category, as the various political blocs that dominate parliament postpone the self-determination of Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi, which the street rejects.

Even influential Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who since the beginning of October has called for the resignation of the government he helped form a year ago, appears unable to resolve the crisis.

To gain a deeper understanding of the situation in Iraq, France 24 interviewed the director of the Iraqi Center for Sociological Studies at Soran University and the author of “The Impossible State in Iraq,” Adel Bakwan.

Can Muqtada al-Sadr, standing in the street, find a solution to the crisis?

Although it is undeniable that Muqtada al-Sadr is one of the biggest figures on the Iraqi political scene, it is not yet a solution. This spontaneous protest movement originated outside its sphere of influence confined to the Shia community, unlike the 2016 demonstrations that was the driving force behind its launch. Most of the demonstrators now belong to the new generation left alone. A generation did not know the totalitarian regime of Saddam Hussein, completely separate from the ruling political elite. Many of them regard Muqtada al-Sadr as part of this elite, which he himself is demanding. It should be recalled that Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, who is being targeted by the protesters, is largely credited with coming to office for the strong support of Sadr, who otherwise would not have been able to form a parliamentary majority.

On the other hand, Muqtada al-Sadr announced his support for the demonstrators from the beginning, and even participated in the demonstrations in the city of Najaf last week

Muqtada al-Sadr is a pragmatic religious leader. He analyzes the power relations at the local, regional and international levels before determining his position to serve his interests and those of his movement. If he adopted the demands of the protesters from the beginning, demanding the resignation of the prime minister and the organization of early elections, he changed his position more than once, reaching the call to change Adel Abdul Mahdi only. It must also be said that he used the demonstrations to confront his opponents, including Mahdi al-Amiri, the current deputy and leader of the pro-Iranian PMF. His position is so complicated that he is sometimes silent. He wants to stay on both sides, in opposition, as he defends himself as a defender of the marginalized, and at the same time in the center of power (his biggest bloc in parliament). If he is undoubtedly a popular figure among the Shiites, he can rely on a strong, mobilized, broad and loyal base, yet he is excluded outside these circles, and is rejected like the rest of the country’s political class.

How do you view the current events? Is there a scenario to get the country out of the crisis?

The country is in a dead end. This time, there is no vision of a way out of the crisis, either on the side of the authorities or on the part of the demonstrators who stick to their radical demands.When exhausted by the social and economic situation of the country, they insist on the fall of a regime they accuse of corruption, and that it is the root of all the problems they suffer, and they are determined to do so. Despite all his political weight, neither Muqtada al-Sadr nor other political players can influence the fate of the protest movement. Only the people can make a decision about their continuation and stoppage.