The new Iraqi Prime Minister, Mustafa Al-Kazemi, who welcomed the assumption of power by both Washington and Tehran, is seeking to ease the tension between the two most influential countries in Iraq, the United States and Iran.

The American-Iranian tension in Iraq reached its greatest level in January, with the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in an American attack with a drone plane targeting his motorcade in Baghdad, and Iran followed with launching retaliatory missile attacks on Iraqi military bases where there are Americans that injured more than 100 American soldiers. .

And a report published by the American newspaper "The Wall Street Journal" showed that with regard to his dealings with the protestors in several squares in Baghdad and other cities, Al-Kazemi was open with them.

Days after taking office, he ordered the raid on the headquarters of a small faction that killed a demonstrator in the southern city of Basra, in a move seen as an expression of his intention to end pro-Iranian factions.

However, he followed up with a step to reassure the Iraqi armed factions supported by Iran, as he visited the headquarters of the Popular Mobilization and praised his role in the war against the Islamic State.

In this context, political analyst Ghaleb Al-Shabandar - who knows Al-Kazemi since childhood - says that Al-Kazemi “can make friends even with his enemies.”

The protesters demanded Al-Kazemi investigate the killing of more than 500 of their colleagues (Al-Jazeera)

Brittle balance

The newspaper stated that Al-Kazemi's supporters hope that he can maintain the fragile balance to put Iraq on a better track, after he got rid of the Islamic State's control of large parts of the country, and his suffering due to the large drop in oil prices, as well as several challenges facing the government.

Although street protests against the authority that forced his predecessor Adel Abdel-Mahdi to resign have diminished, public anger is greater than ever after protesters have killed more than 500 people.

Meanwhile, ISIS has intensified its attacks on Iraqi security forces, seeking to take advantage of the security challenges arising from the outbreak of the Corona virus, and cracks in the partnership between Washington and Baghdad.

The report pointed out that American officials worked closely with Al-Kazemi when he was head of the intelligence service during the war against the Islamic State, and his rise represents an opportunity to improve the relations that worsened during the era of his predecessor, Adel Abdul-Mahdi.

David Schenker, the US Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs, was quoted as saying that Al-Kazemi had done a "good job" when he was intelligence chief, welcome to partner with him as prime minister.

The two countries are scheduled to hold a strategic dialogue in the middle of next month, to define the conditions for their future relationship. For its part, Washington is looking to reduce its obligations without enabling the Islamic State to emerge again, considering Al-Kazemi as a partner who may be willing to prevent Iraq from drifting further toward Tehran.

On this, a Western diplomat said, "There is some hope and optimism that we have a partner who works first and foremost in the interest of Iraq."

Allawi during his visit to Saudi Arabia last week (Iraqi News Agency)

Visit Saudi Arabia

The report's author, Isabel Coles, said that it is interesting that the first official foreign visit of an official in the Al-Kazemi government was not to Tehran but to Saudi Arabia (the regional opponent of Iran), where last week the Iraqi Finance Minister Ali Allawi led a delegation to Saudi Arabia, followed by a visit to Kuwait. The United States has long encouraged Iraq to strengthen ties with these neighboring Arab countries.

Allawi said during his trip to Riyadh that the purpose of the visit is to "restore balance to Iraq relations", especially economic and trade relations that focus heavily on Turkey and Iran.


Iraqi factions backed by Iran did not hide their dissatisfaction with Al-Kazemi's assumption of the government, and some even described him as an "American agent."

But for Tehran, it will benefit from a prime minister who is able to deal constructively with the United States. Within hours of Al-Kazemi taking office, Washington took the initiative to extend allowing Iraq to continue importing gas and electricity from Iran for another 120 days, and exempt it from the sanctions imposed on Tehran.

According to an official close to Al-Kazemi, this concession represents a lifeline for Tehran, as Iran faces severe economic pressures due to the US sanctions, which were exacerbated after the spread of Corona.

In addition, Iran relies on Al-Kazemi's ability to benefit from international goodwill to support the Iraqi economy, which is an outlet for Iranian companies.