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The Chaos in Iraq

The Chaos in Iraq

Thursday, 1 September, 2022 - 16:00
Abdulrahman Al-Rashed
Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad.

The recent extensive armed confrontations, the storming of the Presidential Palace that is a state symbol, and the casualties have all made Baghdad a more dangerous city than before. Despite the army’s intervention, the removal of road blockades, and the cessation of clashes, Iraq’s near future is still hard to predict as long as its disputes remain unresolved.


Moreover, the continuous struggle for government formation aggravates the whole tense situation. However, ten months have already passed since the elections. The general deadlock, the state’s paralysis, and the futility of its actions shall turn Iraq into a failed state unless reaching an agreement on government formation.


It is evident that aside from internal competition and a power struggle, an external side is deliberately pushing Iraq into chaos and failure. Confrontations in Baghdad’s Green Zone were accompanied by: diplomatic British and Australian cars being victims to explosions; the targeting of the US Embassy (although it is dissociated from the recent event), and the Iranian shelling of Iraq’s Kurdistan region and Umm Qasr Seaport in an attempt to prevent Iraq from exporting oil.


It does not require deep deliberation to find out that Iran is the side pushing Iraq towards this chaos. It is the most influential foreign player in Iraq since the US departed from this country, leaving behind only 2,000 soldiers out of the once 170,000-strong military presence.


Iran alone is to blame for attempting to seize control over the apparatuses of the Iraqi state. Its attempts have been thwarted, though, by Iraqi political entities that have managed, thus far, to foil Tehran’s attempts to appoint its proxy politicians in Baghdad’s government and parliament.


However, the most significant dilemma is that Iraq has long been a profoundly destabilized and undermined country since the launch of its electoral process. Thus, it was no surprise to see battles erupting between two large armed religious and political sides: the Sadrist movement and the Shiite Coordination Framework.


The current crisis is the aftermath of the 2010 elections when Ayad Allawi won a majority but opted to grant Nouri al-Maliki the right to form the government. Recently, the Sadrist movement won most of the votes. Still, the Coordination Framework is eager to control the government – relying on coalition voting.


Meanwhile, the only hope is that the current crisis might prompt everyone in Iraq to seek a radical solution to their problems by reviewing the Constitution and its interpretation, and seeking to limit the electoral disagreements.


Achieving this necessitates a genuine will among all the political sides to admit that if the current crisis prevails, it might become a death sentence for each of them.


Iraq desperately needs salvation from all the chaos and ordeals lashing it, as a prolonged continuity of yesterday’s clashes. The mother of all these crises was Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait and its repercussions, followed by the US invasion with its confrontations. The present political vacuum in the country has, as said, been an ongoing problem for more than a decade.


About a quarter of the regional countries are already inflicted by chaos, and having a new war or another chaotic failed country isn’t another play they need.


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