Sadr Sets 11 Conditions for Government Formation, Seeks to Exclude Maliki

Sadr supporters gathering in Baghdad (DPA)
Sadr supporters gathering in Baghdad (DPA)
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Sadr Sets 11 Conditions for Government Formation, Seeks to Exclude Maliki

Sadr supporters gathering in Baghdad (DPA)
Sadr supporters gathering in Baghdad (DPA)

Hundreds of thousands of Sadr supporters gathered for Friday prayers in Baghdad amid failed attempts to form a new government.

After the prayer, the leader of the Sadr movement, Muqtada al-Sadr, announced 11 conditions for the new cabinet signaling his approval for his opponents in the "Coordinating Framework" if they wanted to participate in the new formation.

The Iraqi security forces took unprecedented security measures in Baghdad, including closing the Green Zone.

Sheikh Mahmoud al-Jayashi delivered a speech on behalf of Sadr, announcing the 11 strict conditions set before his opponents if they wanted to form a government.

Political observers believe these conditions can act as restrictions on the formation of the government, saying that some may not be applicable for several reasons, while others increase the gap between the parties, explicitly asserting his condition to exclude Nouri al-Maliki from the lineup.

Sadr called on those "against the government formation" to ensure the exit of the rest of the occupation through diplomatic and parliamentary means. A position that seemed more flexible compared to that of the armed factions, which threatened to expel them by force.

The leader also called on the Shiite political blocs to punish the corrupt politicians, noting that the supreme religious authority in Najaf closed its doors to all politicians without exception, and this "is an insult to Shiite politicians in particular."

- Strong criticism of the forces affiliated with Iran

Sadr strongly criticized the militias and armed factions affiliated with Iran, saying that it is impossible to form a stable Iraqi government with the presence of "uncontrolled weapons and militias."

Sadr thanked the predominantly-Sunni western regions that were liberated from ISIS, saying that without the cooperation of their residents, "we would not have liberated the usurped lands."

In an apparent reference to Maliki, Sadr asserted: "We do not want to repeat the old tragedy" and the continuation of the people's suffering.

Independent Iraqi politician Ibrahim al-Sumaidaie believes that undoubtedly Sadr has his calculations that observers cannot expect.

Sumaidaie believes that Sadr's decision to withdraw his bloc from the parliament will undoubtedly have an impact on overcoming the sectarian and national quotas in the cabinet formation and the upcoming elections.

He told Asharq Al-Awsat that this would establish a government and opposition on a cross-component basis.

Sumaidaie added that the quotas were the main reason for the weak and corrupt governments that weakened the state and the nation and strengthened the division of its citizens.

Media professor at Ahl Al Bayt University, Ghaleb al-Daami, also confirmed to Asharq Al-Awsat that Sadr in his statement vetoed Maliki and all former politicians, including Haider al-Abadi, setting essential points in managing the next stage.

Daami said that Sadr focused on organizing the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), dissolving armed factions, and fighting corruption.

He pointed out that the massive turnout in Friday's rally is a crucial message to the political forces that his supporters are ready to protest against the government or in the Green Zone.

Sadr can topple the government if his demands are not met, according to Daami.



Israel Bombs Gaza after US Criticizes High Civilian Toll

Palestinians inspect at the site of an Israeli strike on a house, amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, in the central Gaza Strip, July 16, 2024. REUTERS/Ramadan Abed
Palestinians inspect at the site of an Israeli strike on a house, amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, in the central Gaza Strip, July 16, 2024. REUTERS/Ramadan Abed
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Israel Bombs Gaza after US Criticizes High Civilian Toll

Palestinians inspect at the site of an Israeli strike on a house, amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, in the central Gaza Strip, July 16, 2024. REUTERS/Ramadan Abed
Palestinians inspect at the site of an Israeli strike on a house, amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, in the central Gaza Strip, July 16, 2024. REUTERS/Ramadan Abed

Israel renewed its bombardment of the Gaza Strip Tuesday, after the United States renewed its criticism of its ally over the high civilian casualty toll of the war.

Residents told AFP of Israeli warplanes striking central Gaza and artillery fire hitting the territory's south, while medics said they pulled multiple bodies from the rubble of the latest bombardment.

Hours earlier, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told two top Israeli officials that casualties among Palestinian civilians "still remain unacceptably high".

"We continue to see far too many civilians killed in this conflict," spokesman Matthew Miller said after Blinken meth Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer and National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi.

Washington has been pushing for a truce between Israel and Hamas.

But Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh said Sunday that the group was pulling out of indirect talks for a deal in protest at recent Israeli "massacres", including a massive strike on Sunday that the health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said killed at least 92 people.

Haniyeh said Hamas stood ready to return to the indirect talks once Israel "demonstrates seriousness in reaching a ceasefire agreement and a prisoner exchange deal".

After the latest deadly strikes, medics from the Palestinian Red Crescent said they recovered four bodies from a house outside the southern city of Khan Yunis and another from Nuseirat camp in the central Gaza.

The Israeli military said that over the previous 24 hours its air force struck "approximately 40 terror targets" in Gaza. They included "sniping posts, observation posts, Hamas military structures, terror infrastructure, and buildings rigged with explosives".

It said its troops were also continuing targeted raids in the far-southern city of Rafah and in the central Gaza Strip.