Middle East

Iraq’s Political Turmoil Continues – Kuwait Times

Baghdad: The months-long political crisis in Iraq showed little signs of abating Wednesday despite a renewed push for talks after nearly 24 hours of deadly violence between rival Shiite factions ended. Baghdad’s highly secure Green Zone has returned to normal after clashes between supporters of powerful Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr and pro-Iranian factions left 30 dead and 570 wounded.

A political impasse has left Iraq without a new government, prime minister or president due to disagreements over forming a coalition government since the October 2021 elections. Tensions escalated sharply on Monday when supporters of Sadr stormed the government palace inside the Green Zone.

But Sadr’s supporters trickled out of the green zone in a steady stream on Tuesday afternoon when Sadr appealed to withdraw within the hour. After the nationwide curfew was lifted, shops reopened Wednesday and notorious traffic jams returned to the streets of Baghdad.The government announced the resumption of school exams postponed by the unrest.

But the hurdles preventing resolution of Iraq’s political crisis remain steadfast, with rival forces refusing to yield to their demands. The dissolution of parliament was Sadr’s main demand. Iraqi President Barham Saleh said late Tuesday that a snap election could bring “an exit from a stifling crisis”.

snap vote

Under the Constitution, parliament can be dissolved only by a majority vote at the request of one-third of the members of parliament, or by agreement of the prime minister with the president. Sadr’s rivals in the pro-Iran coordination framework want to appoint a new head of government before new elections are held.

On Tuesday they called for the swift formation of a new government “to prevent a recurrence of the conflict” that has paralyzed Baghdad this week. The framework urged parliament and other state institutions to “return to the exercise of their constitutional functions and to fulfill their obligations to citizens.”

The statement sparked the ire of Sadr’s senior aide, Saleh Mohammad Al-Iraq, who said he overlooked the legitimate demands of protesters killed in the Green Zone for the dissolution of parliament. should reign in Iraq’s camels or there will be little room for regret,” he said Wednesday, referring to the coordination framework. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kademi has threatened to resign unless the paralysis ends. I’m going to vacate my post,” he said.

‘Further Protests’

Iraqi political analyst Sajad Ziyad said a return to violence is possible without a long-term solution. “The biggest loser is the state, standing idly by as two powerful militant groups continue to vie for control,” he said. “Further protests and violence are likely unless proper solutions are reached.”

Farah Al-Barzanzi, a 63-year-old activist, said he believes equanimity is short-lived. “Today life has returned to normal, but the fire is still burning under the ashes,” he told AFP. “The Iraqi parliament must be dissolved and a reformist government established. Pope Francis, who visited Iraq last year, said he “watches with concern the violent events that took place in Baghdad”.

“Dialogue and fraternity are the best ways to meet the challenges of the moment.” A longtime player in the political scene of the war-torn country, although he never directly participated in government himself, Sadr He announced that he was quitting politics two days after saying that “all parties”, including himself, should give up their positions in government to overcome the crisis. deadlock.

The Sadr faction won the largest number of seats in parliament in the October elections, with 73 seats, but fell short of a majority. Since then, disagreements between Shia factions over forming a coalition have paralyzed Iraq. In June, Sadr MPs resigned to break the impasse, maxing out the coordination framework. Sadr’s supporters have been holding a sit-in outside the Iraqi parliament for weeks after storming inside parliament on July 30 and demanding new elections. – AFP

https://www.kuwaittimes.com/iraq-political-gridlock-persists/ Iraq’s Political Turmoil Continues – Kuwait Times

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