Continuous stalemate: Opportunities to form the new Iraqi government after Al-Sadr’s meeting with the coordination

Continuous stalemate: Opportunities to form the new Iraqi government after Al-Sadr’s meeting with the coordination

3-18-2022

Continuous stalemate - Opportunities to form the new Iraqi government after Al-Sadrs meeting with the coordinationThe Iraqi political scene witnessed a sudden development, represented by the call of Muqtada al-Sadr with the head of the State of Law coalition, Nuri al-Maliki, on March 10, followed by a meeting between al-Sadr and some leaders of the coordination framework on March 12, and these two developments opened the door to the possibility of al-Sadr heading to form a consensus government.

And the chances of forming such a government quickly declined after Al-Sadr published, after his meeting with the coordination, on March 12, a picture bearing his signature, on which he wrote, “Neither Eastern nor Western, a national majority government,” in reference to Iran and the United States of America, meaning that it He says that “the government should not be subordinate to the two states or be formed by the will of either of them.”

Coordinating chest connection:

Muqtada al-Sadr, the leader of the Sadrist movement, decided to break the stalemate that affected the Iraqi political process, by taking the following steps:

1- Al-Sadr’s call with al-Maliki: On March 10, al-Sadr’s office announced that the leader of the Sadrist movement had made phone calls to Masoud Barzani, Parliament Speaker Muhammad al-Halbousi, the head of the State of Law coalition Nuri al-Maliki and the head of the Sovereignty Alliance Khamis al-Khanjar, with the aim of discussing the current Iraqi situation. Al-Sadr’s contact with Al-Maliki represented a remarkable development, as it came after a rupture that extended over ten years, which gave an indication of the possibility of withdrawing Al-Sadr due to his reservations about the alliance with the latter, and thus the coordination framework.

2- The meeting with the coordinating framework: Al-Hanana district in Najaf governorate witnessed a meeting between some leaders of the coordinating framework,” specifically Hadi al-Amiri, Faleh al-Fayyad, and Ahmed al-Asadi, with Parliament Speaker Muhammad al-Halbousi, the leader of the “sovereignty” coalition Khamis al-Khanjar, and the Sadrist movement on March 12.

It should be noted that the meeting was held by al-Sadr in the presence of his Sunni allies, which was an indication that al-Sadr would not back down from the tripartite alliance with the Sunnis and Kurds, in favor of establishing a purely Shiite alliance with the coordinating framework, as the latter desired. The meeting came with the aim of getting out of the political deadlock and constitutional obstruction in Iraq, and discussing the mechanism for forming the government and electing the President of the Republic.

3- A new candidate for prime minister was put forward: Al-Sadr proposed the name Jaafar Al-Sadr (52 years old), the Iraqi ambassador to Britain, and the cousin of the leader of the Sadrist movement, Muqtada Al-Sadr, as a candidate for the position of prime minister, which means Al-Sadr abandoned Al-Kazemi’s nomination for a new term, which is This represents a response to one of the coordination demands, which Al-Kazemi was rejecting, because of his quest to curb the pro-Iranian Popular Mobilization Forces.

And the current Prime Minister, Mustafa Al-Kazemi, hinted at the end of his duties, as Al-Kazemi wrote in a tweet on his account on “Twitter”: “We performed the duty for which we were called to serve the people of Iraq, and we did not hesitate, falter, or compromise at the expense of the national interest, and we did not put our interests ahead of the interests of Iraq.” Our people, just as we were not dragged into arguments and outbidding.”

Interpretation of temporary chest retraction:

The main reasons that may have prompted Al-Sadr to take this step at this time are the following:

1- The difficulty of having a two-thirds majority: Some analyzes have suggested that one of the reasons for Al-Sadr’s temporary openness to coordination is the Federal Court’s decision about the quorum for the parliament session that will elect the President of the Republic, which must take place by a two-thirds majority in the presence of two-thirds of the Iraqi parliament’s representatives, meaning that The number required to attend the President’s session is 220 deputies, to be elected by a two-thirds majority of the attendees, ie 148 seats.

While the tripartite alliance (the Sadrist movement led by Muqtada al-Sadr, the Kurdistan Democratic Party led by Massoud Barzani, and the Sunni Sovereignty Alliance headed by Khamis al-Khanjar and Muhammad al-Halbousi) collects a number of seats ranging between 170 and 200 seats, this means that they do not alone have the necessary quorum to meet The session, but on the other hand, given that the coordinating framework (83 deputies at best) does not have the blocking third, estimated at about 110 deputies, even if it allied itself with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (19 seats), this means that the coordinating party cannot prevent the convening of Parliament , especially since there is a liquid bloc of independents who may attend the presidential election session, which qualifies the tripartite alliance to pass its candidate. Therefore, it is not expected that the quorum for the session of the Head of State was the reason for Al-Sadr’s temporary openness to the coordination.

2- Improving Al-Sadr’s image internally: During the last period, the Sadrist movement affirmed its desire to resolve the issue of government formation, and to distance itself from the delay and political blockage, especially with the existence of a state of tension and popular anger against the Iraqi political system, and the deterioration in the economic and living conditions Iraq is witnessing This has increased in frequency in light of the repercussions of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, which may lead to popular protests once again in various Iraqi cities and governorates.

But on the other hand, Sadr’s alliance with the coordination will practically mean that the new Sadr government will not differ from the previous governments, against which the Iraqi people revolted, and were a direct reason for holding the early October elections.

3- Iran’s threat to Al-Sadr: Iraq witnessed intense Iranian pressure on Al-Sadr to accept the inclusion of the coordination framework in his government, which the latter rejected. It appears that Iran has not retreated from exerting pressure on al-Sadr, as was clarified in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ announcement of targeting an Israeli “strategic center” in the city of Erbil, on March 13. However, it is clear that the Iranian missiles occurred near the US consulate in Erbil, as well as a KDP television building.

The foregoing means that the Guards attack was a warning message to the latter, who is one of the parties to the tripartite agreement, as well as to the United States, which Iran suspects is playing a role in excluding its allies from the next Iraqi government. Although Iranian pressure may have contributed to al-Sadr’s openness to coordination, al-Sadr’s rush to attack Iran after it struck Erbil with ballistic missiles reveals al-Sadr’s continued refusal to respond to Iranian pressure.

Alternative possible explanations:

As soon as the last meeting with the coordination framework ended, the Sadrist movement renewed its adherence to a “national majority” government, once again, as previously mentioned, which can be interpreted as follows:

1- Pressure on the Kurds: Al-Sadr’s limited openness to coordination can be seen as an attempt to pressure the Kurdistan Democratic Party and push it to agree with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan on the position of President of the Republic, especially since Al-Sadr tried, in the beginning, to push the two Kurdish parties to agree on this position, And finally confirmed his commitment to support the Kurdistan Democratic Party candidate. There is no doubt that al-Sadr’s alliance with the coordination will be deducted from the number of ministerial portfolios that the forces of the Triple Alliance will obtain, compared to what if the latter went to form a government alone with the inclusion of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan only.

2- The coordinating framework is toughened: The stubborn positions of coordination may be the reason for Al-Sadr’s retreat from the alliance with them. The Coordinator stipulated that the Sadrist movement form a purely Shiite alliance that includes al-Sadr and the Coordinator, which means that the former will abandon the Sunnis and the Kurds, in order to form the “largest bloc” in Parliament.

The coordinator also rejected al-Sadr’s new candidate, and the coordinator even put forward four candidates, namely Haider al-Abadi, Qasim al-Araji, Muhammad Tawfiq Allawi and Abd al-Hussein Abtan, which practically means confiscating al-Sadr’s right to choose the new prime minister, which is difficult for al-Sadr to accept, especially since he is Who owns the majority in the new parliament through the tripartite alliance.

In conclusion, it can be said that al-Sadr still has the upper hand in forming the next Iraqi government, as he has the majority that enables him to do so. Rather, there is no indication that his opponents from the coordinating framework own the blocking third, and al-Sadr may take advantage of his limited openness to coordination to push the Kurds to reach a compromise candidate for the presidency of the Iraqi state in a way that contributes to strengthening al-Sadr’s ability to form the next government with a comfortable majority and in a way that makes the coordination either accept al-Sadr’s conditions, or remain alone in the opposition.

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