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Power Crisis Adds to Iraq’s Political Woes

Power Crisis Adds to Iraq’s Political Woes

Tuesday, 9 August, 2022 - 07:45
Supporters of Iraqi populist leader Moqtada al-Sadr gather for mass Friday prayer at Grand Festivities Square within the Green Zone, in Baghdad, Iraq August 5, 2022. (Reuters)

The power crisis sweeping Iraq has triggered a wave of protests in central and southern parts of the country, with fears the rallies being politicized growing among observers.

In Najaf, mass demonstrations erupted due to a complete power outage. In the far southern province of Basra, protests took place for the same reason.

Political observers predicted that protests will likely spread nationwide and warned that some politicians might exploit the crisis in the favor of advancing personal agendas.

Room for abusing the electricity crisis was created by the ongoing conflict between the Sadrist Movement and the Coordination Framework.

The Electricity Ministry last week announced a state of alert, anticipating outages as temperatures soar to sweltering degrees.

Despite the power supply returning at varying operational levels, observers believe that the coming days will witness an escalation of mass protests demanding better electricity.

Meanwhile, the followers of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr entered their ninth day of a sit-in outside the parliament building in Baghdad to demand the dissolution of the legislature and holding early elections.

Sadr has proposed a compromise solution to the crisis by forming an interim government for a year without the participation of his movement or the State of Law Coalition led by his rival and former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, a political source told Asharq Al-Awsat.

While none of the concerned parties confirmed the claim, the formation of a transitional government appears to be one of the proposals being discussed to tackle the crisis.

The proposal comes at a time when politicians have failed to reach a satisfactory agreement between Sadr and his rivals in the Framework.

National Security Adviser Qasim al-Araji received on Monday UK Ambassador to Baghdad Mark Bryson-Richardson to discuss Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi's recent initiative to address the deadlock.

They addressed the latest political and security developments and highlighted efforts to strengthen relations between Baghdad and London, Araji's office said in a statement.

They also discussed the ongoing war against terrorism aimed at improving security and stability in the region.

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