Fatah Alliance Uses Coronavirus Crisis to Pressure Iraq PM
Shiite political forces held a meeting on Sunday to address the latest developments in Iraq following the security forces’ arrest of members of the Kataib Hezbollah members.
The gatherers met at the residence of Fatah alliance leader, Hadi al-Ameri, who was previously frank in saying that he agreed to the nomination of current Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi to his position due to a lack of better alternative.
The Shiite powers, which were divided over the nomination of a new premier, appear ever divided now.
The meeting at Ameri’s house was attended by State of Law coalition chief, Nouri al-Maliki, and head of the Popular Mobilization Forces Faleh al-Fayyadh. Notable absentees were Sadr movement members, head of the Hikma alliance, Ammar al-Hakim, and Nasr alliance leader Haidar al-Abadi, demonstrating that divisions with Shiite ranks remain.
Despite this, the gatherers used the meeting to criticize Kadhimi’s government, slamming it for its handling of the coronavirus outbreak in the country and voicing their “disapproval” with the operation against the Kataib Hezbollah.
Kadhimi can shake off the accusations over his handling of the pandemic, because his government was formed barely a month ago, while the outbreak had started before that. Moreover, the poor handling of the pandemic is the result of a poor health sector that has been exhausted by 17 years of crises.
Observers believe that the PM has won the first round in the media and popular confrontation against his opponents. His move against the Kataib Hezbollah is also the boldest a PM has taken against pro-Iran armed factions in recent years.
This prompted the Fatah alliance to remind Kadhimi that he was appointed to his post with the task of preparing early elections. Fatah MP Ahmed al-Assadi said the premier’s mission is to “restore the authority of the state and hold early polls.”