Today, Thursday morning, the Iraqi parliament gave confidence to the new Prime Minister, Mustafa Al-Kazemi, and his cabinet, to succeed the resigned government headed by Adel Abdul-Mahdi after five months of government vacancy.
Members of Parliament voted by a majority of those present (255 out of 329) to grant confidence to Al-Kazemi and 15 ministers in his government, and five candidates did not gain the confidence of Parliament, while Al-Kazemi did not present any candidates for the oil and foreign portfolios.
Parliament is expected to complete granting confidence to the rest of the cabinet in the next two weeks.
Al-Kazemi, who served as head of the Iraqi intelligence service since 2016 in the height of the battles with the Islamic State, is described as a skilled negotiator who will harness his extensive network of relations in Washington - as in Tehran - to save Iraq from an economic and political disaster.
While in this strategic location, which kept him out of the limelight, he has forged several links with dozens of countries and agencies operating within the US-led international coalition.
|Parliament grants confidence to Al-Kazemi and 15 ministers in his government and is awaiting completion of the granting of confidence to seven others within two weeks (Anatolia)|
In his early days, Al-Kazemi, who studied law in Iraq, was a journalist and an anti-Saddam activist from Europe where he sought refuge, and lived for years in exile, but he did not join any of the Iraqi political parties, nor did he obtain any foreign nationality. He is married to the daughter of Mahdi Al-Alaq, a leader in the "Dawa" party.
Al-Kazemi belongs to the al-Gharib family, where his family was displaced from Al-Shatrah in Dhi Qar Governorate (southern Iraq) to Karkh Baghdad (Al-Kadhimiya).
His father, Abd al-Latif Mashtat al-Gharibawi, lived in Baghdad from Al-Shatrah in 1963, and his last job was a technical supervisor at Baghdad Airport, and he had political and partisan affiliations, where he worked as a representative of the National Democratic Party in Shatrah.
He left Iraq in 1985 to Iran, then Germany and Britain, then returned to Baghdad after the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime in 2003.
After his return, Al-Kazemi worked as the editor-in-chief of the "Weekly" magazine, and its franchisor was the current president, Barham Saleh, and he chose for himself the title "Al-Kazemi".
He worked as an executive director of the Iraqi "Memory" Foundation, and contributed to documenting testimonies and collecting films on victims of the former regime.
Al-Kazemi ran from Baghdad and London the "Humanitarian Dialogue", an independent organization that seeks to bridge gaps between societies and cultures, and establish dialogue as an alternative to violence in resolving crises.
He also worked as a columnist and managing editor of the Iraq section of the International Monitor website, and his articles focused on devoting the spirit of social peace to the country.
During his career, he published many books, notably the "Iraq Question ... Reconciliation between the Past and the Future."
In June 2016, Al-Abadi appointed him as the head of the National Intelligence Service after he had succeeded through his work as a political mediator between different Iraqi parties in successive crises.
|Al-Kazemi, after winning the confidence of the parliament, pledged to hold fair elections and confine arms to the state (Anatolia)|
A friend of two enemies
A politician close to Al-Kazemi says he has "a personality who is not hostile to anyone ... he has a pragmatic mentality, and he has relations with all the major players on the Iraqi scene ... a good relationship with the Americans, and a relationship that has recently reverted to the Iranians."
Al-Kazemi knows how to be a friend of two enemies between them, and with his return to rapprochement with Tehran, he did not forget his old friendships.
During a rare visit with Al-Abadi in 2017 to Riyadh - the regional competitor to Tehran - he was seen hugging at length his personal friend, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
As a result of these ties woven east and west, the path has become open to this shadow man, whose name was repeatedly repeated in the past, as prime minister without succeeding in obtaining a nomination until April 9th.
A political adviser close to Al-Kazemi says the latter's name was already floated in 2018 after the legislative elections that brought resigned Adel Abdul Mahdi to power.
About a month ago, an Iraqi faction close to Iran accused al-Kazimi of having a role in the assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy chief of the Popular Mobilization Organization that Washington carried out in Baghdad, and had to re-polish his image before the Iranians.
After obtaining the support of the Iraqi political class, which has monopolized power for 16 years, Al-Kazemi will have to re-weave ties that have been severed with Iraqi protesters who have demonstrated for months against "corrupt" politicians.
He will also have to try to negotiate the country's vital economic channels, with global oil prices collapsing, in addition to the issue of US exemptions to Iraq from sanctions on Iran.
"He is a prominent negotiator and cunning player," said Toby Dodge, director of studies at the Middle East Institute at the London School of Economics. But he adds that "Iraq today is in a time of interruption, and the risks have increased a lot."
After winning the confidence of Parliament, Al-Kazemi pledged to work to preserve the sovereignty, security, stability, and prosperity of Iraq, conducting fair elections, and confining arms to the state. He also pledged that his government would be a "solution government, not a crisis government."
In the first comment after granting him confidence in parliament, Al-Kazimi said in a tweet, “Today, the distinguished parliament has given confidence to my government, and I will work with the honorable ministerial team to earnestly earn the trust and support of our people .. My gratitude to all of our support, and my hope that all political forces join together to face challenges The difficult .. Iraq’s sovereignty, security, stability and prosperity is our path.