The most likely candidate to head the interim government in Iraq, Mohammad Shia al-Sudani, resigned from Dawa Party and State of Law Coalition led by former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. He later announced he’s not a candidate of any party and belongs to Iraq first and foremost.
MP Sudani was named last year as one of the candidates to succeed former Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi before political forces agreed on the outgoing Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi.
The competition during the last two days was between Sudani and intelligence chief Moustafa al-Kazemi before it was almost settled on the former, according to a political source with knowledge of the matter.
The source, who preferred to remain anonymous, told Asharq Al-Awsat that President Barham Saleh will issue next Monday, one day before the constitutional deadline, a decree officially assigning Sudani as Prime Minister.
Sudani will be named without any major objection from the rest of the Shiite blocs or other components, especially the Sunnis and the Kurds.
Meanwhile, Najaf’s Supreme Religious Authority called on the political forces to confront what it called “the battle of reform” as the biggest challenge they will face in the future.
The Authority did not address recent political developments, whether choosing a prime minister or the electoral law legislation, however, it strongly condemned recent crimes that targeted demonstrators in al-Khilani Square in Baghdad, as well as al-Wathba crime.
Ahmed al-Safi, representative of the Supreme Authority Ali al-Sistani, said during his Friday sermon in Karbala, that the battle of reform is long and requires a lot of work to end the long era of corruption and failure in running the country.
Sistani urged concerned parties to uncover people responsible for the crimes and bring them to justice, calling for an urgent investigation into the “horrific crimes.”
Sistani said that all weapons should be brought “under the control of the state,” asserting that the judicial system should remain the reference in prosecuting anyone.
The Religious Authority reiterated that all weapons should be brought “under the control of the state” in light of all recent incidents, assassinations, and kidnappings.
He warned against foreign interference in Iraq, urging state security forces to be loyal to the nation.
The Authority also addressed victory over ISIS and stressed the need to build “the army, and Iraq’s other armed forces, on solid professional foundations, so that they are loyal to the homeland and can counter external aggression.”
He also called for reconstructing liberated areas and improving living conditions in them to enable displaced people to return with dignity.
Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, Anbar MP Mohammad al-Karbouli noted that the Religious Authority sent a clear message regarding the liberated areas, whether in terms of the necessity of rebuilding them or bringing the displaced back to their homes.
Karbouli added that the issue of the disappeared and the kidnapped, as well as the issue of the displaced and obstacles facing the reconstruction operations could lead to instability in the country.
The MP explained that the Sunni community suffered greatly after 2003, in terms of marginalization, exclusion, and prosecutions.
He noted that Iraq defeated ISIS militarily, but did not overcome the ideas of this terrorist organization, which requires determining the true criteria of partnership so the country can move towards a comprehensive reform battle.