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Iraq’s Kazemi Promoted as the Sole Alternative to Zurfi

Iraq’s Kazemi Promoted as the Sole Alternative to Zurfi

Wednesday, 8 April, 2020 - 10:15
A woman pushes a cart in Baghdad's Tahrir Square (AP)

Iraq’s current Prime Minister-designate Adnan al-Zurfi is determined on forming the country’s next government, however, Iraqi chief of intelligence, Mustafa Al-Kazemi, is strengthening his position as the "sole alternative" to Zurfi.

Unlike previous times, when leaders of Shiite blocs tabled three names for prime minister at a time, they have now agreed on naming Kazemi.

Despite gaining consensus from several Shiite blocs, it remains unknown if armed factions such as Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq, which is close to Iran, will approve Kazemi’s nomination.

“If a parliamentary vote is held for Zurfi, Sadrist Movement lawmakers will vote for him, and if Kazemi is passed, then the deputies will support him too,” Sadrist Movement official Amir Al-Kananni told Asharq Al-Awsat.

“The Sadrist movement has no particular position on both candidates,” Al-Kananni said.

Kazemi, who is perceived as close to Washington, appears no different than Zurfi, who is also “accused” of having the same close ties.

Moreover, his name was not proposed during discussions among the seven-member Shiite committee that was tasked with nominating a premier. Their failure to reach an agreement on a candidate prompted President Barham Salih to name Zurfi.

In other news, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced that the White House will start a "strategic" dialogue with the Iraqi authorities in the middle of June, adding that a variety of issues, including possible future American military deployments, will be on the agenda.

“It’s important that our two governments work together to stop any reversal of the gains we’ve made in our efforts to defeat ISIS and stabilize the country,” Pompeo said.

The dialogue will cover “all strategic issues between our two countries,” Pompeo explained, “including the future presence of the United States forces” in Iraq “and how best to support an independent and sovereign Iraq.”

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