The Iran-backed Coordination Framework in Iraq is mulling a proposal by Sadrist movement leader, cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, to form an interim government as a solution to the country’s months-long political deadlock.
One figure from the group, however, stood out to oppose the proposal, Sadr’s longtime rival, former Prime Minister and head of the State of Law coalition, Nouri al-Maliki.
He declared his rejection of Sadr’s proposal to dissolve parliament.
“There can be no dissolution of parliament, change in the system, or early elections,” he announced.
The solution lies in allowing the elected parliament to convene, he urged.
Maliki appears to be rejecting Sadr’s proposal just for the sake of rejecting it, without even weighing the probability that it may actually ease the tensions in Iraq.
The former PM is bent on confronting the cleric without any clear political strategy or proposing viable solutions.
Some of his close associates have even claimed that he is obsessed with defeating Sadr.
Such stringent thinking is a threat to his fellow allies in the Framework and Iran’s agenda in Iraq.
Shiite figures, therefore, sought to include representatives from Tehran in discussions over tackling the intra-Shiite disputes.
Iran is aware that the prolongation of the dispute will undermine its interests in Iraq.
At the moment, Maliki appears unwilling to be part of the efforts to restore calm, posing a problem for Tehran.
Sadr is also another problem. He is raising his demands and tightening his grip on power in what the Iranians may interpret as a move to bypass them and seek a direct understanding with Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei.
Sadr has been presented with proposals to resolve the crisis, including dropping the membership of lawmakers who were sworn in to replace his own, who resigned in June.
Another proposal has been the formation of an interim government headed by caretaker Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.
The government would not include Sadr or Maliki loyalists.
Shiite, Kurdish and Sunni leaders are working hard to persuade Sadr to agree to the suggestion.
A senior political source revealed that two Iranian representatives were part of these efforts.
There are no signs that Sadr would agree to the proposal because his demands go beyond the government and aim to mend the system in Iraq.
The Framework’s possible acceptance of the interim government may soften his position.