An American vision for Al-Sadr’s approach to Washington’s priorities and betting on it

An American vision for Al-Sadr’s approach to Washington’s priorities and betting on it

2021-12-04 07:46

An American vision for Al-Sadrs approach to Washingtons priorities and betting on itShafaq News/ The American think-tank “The Heritage Foundation” saw on Saturday that Washington now has two main goals in Iraq, which are confronting Iranian influence and fighting what it described as “Islamic extremists.”

The foundation said in a report translated by Shafaq News Agency, “Muqtada Al-Sadr is now closer to the American goals in Iraq, and it is possible that his opposition to Iranian hegemony, and after he has a political majority in Parliament, may facilitate Mustafa Al-Kazemi’s return to power.”

The report of the American establishment pointed out that the results of the Iraqi parliamentary elections, “fortunately, create an opportunity for the United States to advance in order to achieve the two main goals, that is, countering Iran’s influence and fighting Islamic extremists.”

The report indicated that “the results of the elections provoked an immediate reaction from the pro-Iranian factions, which led to the outbreak of unrest, including an assassination attempt on Al-Kazemi,” adding that “the approval of the Independent Electoral Commission last Tuesday on the results, Muqtada Al-Sadr gives the largest bloc in Parliament, and therefore the most weighty word.” in forming the new government.

The report stated that “Al-Sadr is well known to American policy makers, especially since he led his militias against American forces in the first phase of the Iraq war,” noting that “he received support, training, and funding to fight American forces, from Hezbollah and the Iranian Quds Force, which is affiliated with for the Revolutionary Guard.

But Al-Sadr, according to the report, “has since become closer to the American goals in Iraq, and is likely to act as a kingmaker, taking advantage of his parliamentary majority to nominate Al-Kazemi, who is close to Washington, to continue in his position as prime minister.”

He continued, that with the weakening of the “Mahdi Army” under pressure from the United States, Al-Sadr fled to the city of Qom in 2008, to enhance his religious qualifications in a Shiite estate, and returned to Iraq and then renewed his entry into the political arena in 2011, after he concluded a deal with the best candidate for Iran To head the government, ie Nuri al-Maliki.

However, the report pointed out that “the alliance of al-Maliki – al-Sadr, did not last long, and in 2014, al-Sadr openly opposed the Maliki government, and described al-Maliki as a “dictator running an authoritarian regime.”

The report considered, “The deterioration of the security situation in that year gave al-Sadr the perfect opportunity to strengthen his popular base. While the Iraqi forces were unable to stop the advance of ISIS militants, al-Sadr and other Shiites formed paramilitary forces in the name of the Popular Mobilization that was able to confront the wave of ISIS in Iraq at the end of the day,” adding that “with the field loss of ISIS in 2019, it was expected that the Popular Mobilization would integrate into the Iraqi military establishment.”

He pointed out that Sadr’s “peace brigades” merged with the Iraqi armed forces, but remained an independent force under the leadership of the prime minister, while the others, especially the pro-Iranian mobilization factions, refused, and remained outside the government’s control, adding that “the merger of the Sadr brigades strengthened his popularity in politics.” Iraq, and that since 2019, the Sadrist movement has quietly expanded its influence within state institutions.

Although al-Sadr’s opposition to Iran and his closeness to Al-Kazemi may make him an important player in advancing American goals in Iraq, the report says, it remains a “difficult number” for Washington, noting that in 2004, he was responsible for the death of a large number of soldiers. But it has become an important partner for the US-led coalition to fight ISIS.”

However, the report considered that there are indications that “Al-Sadr has become more pragmatic,” and stated that all foreign embassies are welcome, including the US, as long as they do not interfere in Iraqi affairs and government formation.

Al-Sadr, according to the report, “encouraged the strengthening of relations with Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which have good relations with the United States,” and “repeated positions calling for reining in militias that did not respond to the prime minister’s orders to place their weapons under the authority of the state only.”

He added that “despite the lack of clarity on the level of influence that al-Sadr enjoys over the peace brigades, he previously recognized that militias are not a good phenomenon for state-building, and that is why they must be integrated into the existing security structures to create a more homogeneous Iraq.”

The report concluded by saying that “it is imperative for Washington to follow a sophisticated and accurate foreign policy approach towards Iraq, a country that faces economic, social and political challenges in one of the most complex regions of the world.”

He added that “Al-Sadr’s opposition to Iranian hegemony and its parliamentary majority, makes him an important player in returning Al-Kazemi to power,” and that Al-Kazemi would then be able to take steps to “reposition Iraq to form a counterweight to Iran”, instead of being a country that is a proxy for Iran and a follower of it. .