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Iraq: Abadi Hints at Comeback to Replace Abdul-Mahdi

Iraq: Abadi Hints at Comeback to Replace Abdul-Mahdi

Sunday, 14 July, 2019 - 08:00
Iraq's former Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi in Baghdad on July 3, 2019. (AFP)
Baghdad - Asharq Al-Awsat

Former Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi is preparing to return to the political arena, offering himself an alternative to current Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi, especially after the public began to feel the disappointment with the current government’s performance.

Speaking to Agence France-Presse (AFP), Abadi discussed the dangers of sectarian conflict and corruption in a country ranked by Transparency International as the world’s 12th most corrupt.

Abadi's political mobilization relies on Iraqi protests during summertime and chronic power outages as well as lack of services, as a way to comeback to politics, according to a government source.

Asked about his ambitions, Abadi told AFP that “We have good intentions.”

He also discussed corruption, saying whoever claims to fight all corruption at once is really not going to fight any.

“There is a new kind of state corruption now, selling positions, which happened secretly in the past but now goes on in the open,” Abadi told AFP, adding that “everything has a price.”

Especially as rumors reported during the formation of the government that prominent parties are pursuing to buy the post of minister by paying other candidates money to withdraw.

Abadi links corruption to sectarianism, which he fears will make a comeback, if things continue as they are in the political arena.

The former premier said the government should also tackle sectarian violence, “in the past, sectarianism was used as a weapon in the conflict between factions to divide up the spoils of war.”

“If ISIS or another terrorist group returns, or if a cocktail of terrorists and politicians is formed, it'll be so dangerous that everything will completely fall apart,” he told AFP.

Despite its defeat, several ISIS sleeper cells remain operations in areas near Baghdad and on the borders.

By the end of 2017, Abadi became a national hero when he declared ISIS defeated after a draining three-year military campaign. In addition, he is the man who regained the majority of the disputed territories with the Kurdistan region of Iraq, after the independence referendum, which political observers believe made him win support in Iraq, but lose the Kurds.

Abadi considered there is a problem with certain Kurdish parties but not the people.

"I have no problems with Kurdish citizens," he said, adding there is a problem with some of the “parties which control the region, its wealth and its oil.”

Abadi believes that the current government can only return to decisions and steps that he had taken during his rule.

Abadi lauded the Prime Minister’s solutions and encouraged him to rely on previous decisions, referring to Abdul Mahdi’s recent decision to integrate the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) within the state's security forces by July 31.

Analysts believe Abadi's position in favor of the US sanctions on Iran was sufficient to end his political career and cost him the premiership, but he says popular protests that took place in Basra and spread south were a scenario devised by “some parties ... and the Iranian leadership is far from it.”

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