The political process in Iraq is at a critical crossroads after 19 years of failure

The political process in Iraq is at a critical crossroads after 19 years of failure

7-31-2022

The political process in Iraq is at a critical crossroads after 19 years of failureThe political process in Iraq has entered a new turning point, the most dangerous since the fall of the former Iraqi regime in 2003, at a time when many frictions took place over the past years between the various parties, the most prominent of which was the confrontation that took place in 2007 between the leader of the “State of Law” Nuri al-Maliki, when he was prime minister. And between the “Mahdi Army” led by the leader of the “Sadr movement” Muqtada al-Sadr and ended with a defeat for the Mahdi Army and its leader, which al-Maliki is still proud of, the other confrontations remained limited.

While al-Maliki’s confrontation with the Mahdi Army at the time was in the context of the state’s effort to maintain order, the other confrontations always did not reach the level of open confrontation due to the intervention of the supreme religious authority during the days when it intervened forcefully to protect the Shiite house from any shock that might lead to its collapse. Also, at a time when the 2018 elections were a watershed between two stages in the political process in Iraq, the result of the failures that occurred after the failure of the political alliances that emerged after the elections (the “Reform Alliance” and “Al-Binaa Alliance”) had established a phase of accumulated ruin. It is difficult to find solutions to it. After the formation of the government of Adel Abdul-Mahdi by the will of two Shiite blocs only, “Al-Fath” led by Hadi Al-Amiri and “Sairoon” led by Muqtada Al-Sadr, the situation entered a stage of decline in everything, which led to the fall of the government after a year and a few months through major demonstrations that claimed hundreds of deaths and dozens Thousands wounded.

And because the Iraqi political class does not have more solutions to its ongoing crises, it dismissed the government of Adel Abdul-Mahdi and agreed to change the election law and brought in a new prime minister, Mustafa Al-Kazemi. Although Al-Kazemi fulfilled his pledges, including holding early elections, he began to deal with regional and international crises towards returning Iraq to its Arab and regional surroundings, which caused obstacles to emerge before it despite his constant declaration, especially after the elections, on the importance of forming a new government.

The Shiite political forces represented by the “coordinating framework” had announced their rejection of the election results after losing them in exchange for the remarkable rise of the “Sadr movement”, which won first place with 73 seats – al-Sadr – and through this great victory, he sought to form a national majority government in alliance with The Kurdistan Democratic Party” led by Massoud Barzani, and the Sunni “Sovereignty Alliance” led by Khamis al-Khanjar and Muhammad al-Halbousi, Speaker of Parliament. However, the forces of the “coordinating framework” formed the so-called “blocking third”, which prevented al-Sadr’s ability to elect the “coalition” candidate for the post of President of the Republic.

After a series of attempts by al-Sadr to his opponents whether they were able to form a government without him, and as a result of their inability to do so, al-Sadr announced his withdrawal from Parliament. The forces of the “coordinating framework”, which believed that al-Sadr left them the camel with what he carried, rushed to hold an emergency session of Parliament in order to vote on the replacements of the “Sadr movement”, which led to pouring more oil on the fire that was under the ashes. Despite all of al-Sadr’s escalatory steps, the most prominent of which was the Friday prayer about two weeks ago, the forces of the “coordinating framework” were also quick to take provocative steps, including putting forward their candidate for prime minister in light of the crisis of al-Maliki’s recordings, during which he attacked al-Sadr forcefully.

Despite the resignation of the candidate for prime minister, Muhammad Shia’a al-Sudani from the “Dawa” party years ago, and therefore no longer close to al-Maliki, his candidacy was a wrong message to the leader of the Sadrist movement, which was met by the storming of the Green Party and Parliament last Wednesday and Saturday. While the storming of al-Khadra last Wednesday was just an “eardrop,” as al-Sadr said, yesterday’s storming and turning the demonstrations into an open sit-in opened the door to confrontation in front of the most dangerous scenarios, especially in light of a mutual escalation by his opponents, the forces of the “coordinating framework.”

In this context, the head of the Political Thinking Center, Dr. Ihsan Al-Shammari, told Asharq Al-Awsat: “It is clear that the strategy used by supporters of the Sadrist movement is the absent parliament to thwart any parliamentary session to assign any new prime minister candidate by the coordination framework… By the Sadrists, not on a particular candidate, but on the approach of the quota government, and also an attempt to seize power completely ».

Dr. Al-Shammari suggested that “the coming scenarios, if the coordinating framework contemplates giving up his political power, as Al-Sadr gave up his parliamentary power, will push him to nominate an independent and non-controversial prime minister, or to continue to keep the current government and work to dissolve parliament and prepare for new elections.” He believed, “The last solution is to push for the formation of a new political contract, because even the elections will not negate the occurrence of problems and crises in light of the lack of productivity of the current political process, and this coincides with what was proposed by the current President of the Republic, Dr. Barham Salih.” He expressed his belief that “an open clash is a possibility not raised by the two parties, but there may be limited friction, and this was announced by the coordination framework regarding Muqtada al-Sadr’s steps.” He added, “There may be a fifth possibility, which is external intervention such as the United Nations and the Security Council in the event things deteriorate, and Iran may intervene to calm the situation, but today it has become an active party in the conflict.”

And the international media at the Iraqi University, Dr. Fadel Al-Badrani, said in a statement to Asharq Al-Awsat that “the escalation carried out by the Sadrist movement confirms its determination to prevent the coordination framework from forming the government, as it has carried out two demonstrations until today to block the way for its opponents in the framework and without winning the government because of its withdrawal.” from Parliament.

Al-Badrani said: “The framework, in turn, will deal with a reaction that restores its prestige in front of the Iraqi street and external parties, and I do not rule out that it will compensate for the issue of its inability to form the government with solid measures, including not giving up quickly on its candidate, Muhammad Shia’a Al-Sudani, as well as perhaps to hold a mass demonstration that might invite to her”.

He added, “The consequences of the situation are going to stagnation and paralysis that may affect Parliament and will lead to the announcement of an interim government that will last for more than a year under the leadership of Al-Kazemi, and the end will be the call to dissolve Parliament for parliamentary elections.” He ruled out “the armed escalation between the supporters of the movement and the framework, but the fear of the presence of a hidden party may open fire against the demonstrators with the aim of escalation, and this remains the responsibility of the security forces not to have such behavior in the midst of this chaos.”

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