Even to the most optimistic people, the political scene in Iraq seems bleak and hopeless, as the country is currently in one of its deepest and longest crises ever since the US invasion in 2003. Disagreements reached their climax nine months after the parliamentary elections, without the parties reaching a name Members of the government or they agree on a president.
This crisis caused the division of the Shiite house itself and the burning of bridges between its leaders who led the political scene in Iraq since the fall of the regime of the late "Saddam Hussein", most notably the leader of the Sadrist movement "Muqtada al-Sadr", and the leader of the State of Law coalition and former Prime Minister "Nuri al-Maliki".
The sharp division and tunnel that Iraqi politics has entered threatens to put the country on a path of Shiite-Shiite civil strife, especially since the two sides of the conflict possess a military arsenal equal in strength to that of the Iraqi army itself, not to mention their angry supporters in the streets, and each of them is certain of the legitimacy of confrontation with the other. Who sees in his movements an attempt to overthrow the state.
The current Iraq crisis began with the constitutional expiration of the government’s validity, the siege of Parliament by the Sadrist movement, which has the majority in the recent elections, and the outbreak of confrontations in the streets, with other anti-Shiite demonstrations affiliated with the so-called coordinating framework, most of whose flags are opponents of Muqtada al-Sadr and his movement, most notably “Haider al-Abadi” and "Nouri al-Maliki".
And while the fractured Shiite bloc seeks to avoid a clash between its wings, the consequences of the political collapse are exacerbated, in conjunction with fears that the stalemate will lead to civil strife this time within the Shiite house itself.
The roots of the political crisis in Iraq
Iraq was supposed to hold parliamentary elections in the spring of this year 2022, but the huge popular movement that broke out in October 2019, and the violence used by the government of "Adel Abdul-Mahdi" in confronting it caused a change in the parameters of the scene.
In the end, the government had no choice but to resign in October 2021, making way for early elections.
Participation in the early elections was relatively limited, with the voter turnout reaching 41%, which is much lower than the 2018 elections, but the results were surprising and earth-shattering.
The results carried the announcement of the death of the current political system, as the "Al-Fateh" coalition, the main representative of the popular mobilization factions in parliament, lost about a third of its seats, to gain only 17 seats after occupying 48 seats in the outgoing parliament.
As for the resounding shock, the "Sairoon" bloc led by Muqtada al-Sadr won the largest percentage of parliamentary seats, as it won 73 seats out of the 329 total seats in the Iraqi parliament.
With the fading of the influential forces, other, alternative and new forces rose to benefit from the new election law, which divided Iraq into 18 electoral districts, and is referred to as the accusation finger as it affected the parties’ quotas, and granted greater chances to political and clan currents than the independents and clerics who replaced the Shiite parties Allied with Iran, which did not accept defeat.
These people mobilized their supporters in the streets in protest, threats and a test of what the street will bring about, but even those communications that were submitted by the losers to the court in order to challenge the election results were met with a new loss after the Federal Court ratified the results finally, which prompted the protesting camp to move to a new confrontation. within Parliament itself.
Demonstrators reject the election results as they gather in front of the court (Reuters)
After the elections were decided, the two competing parties entered into a struggle over the formation of the Iraqi government.
While everyone implicitly agreed to form a coalition government in which all parties would cut off part of the influence cake, which is the custom, custom, and unwritten charter since the Shiite house came to the fore in the Iraqi scene after the fall of Saddam Hussein;
Al-Sadr surprised everyone this time, and declared his revolution against these traditions, demanding the establishment of a government dominated by his bloc, which he saw as more worthy of choosing the next government and its head.
In contrast to this attempt, the Shiite forces close to Iran mobilized themselves, and united within a coalition that was later called the "Coordination Framework", and it became the largest force with about 130 parliamentarians out of 329, outperforming the Sadrist bloc (73 deputies).
It demanded the formation of a consensus government of quotas, and Muqtada al-Sadr opposed it, demanding a political majority government, waving to resort to the street.
However, al-Sadr went further. After failing to exclude his opponents from the Shiite parties allied with Tehran and affiliated with the "Coordination Framework", he decided to turn the tables eight months after the elections, and prompted his deputies to resign from Parliament.
This maneuver of the resignation of the Sadrists took place after the deputies of the Coordination Framework decided to vote to choose MP "Muhammad Shia'a Al-Sudani" as prime minister, which prompted Al-Sadr to completely burn the parliament paper, instructing his supporters to storm the House of Representatives and sit inside it, to block the passage of any political agreement that excludes him.
Al-Sadr has also threatened to push his popular base of millions into the streets if his opponents try to form a government he does not agree with.
Therefore, the crisis moved to the angry crowds that stormed the Green Zone, demolished concrete barriers, and shut up in Parliament.
On the other hand, the Coordination Framework bloc pushed its supporters to counter-demonstrations in front of the Green Zone, and thus the boundary between the two angry fronts is less than several meters, and their fading may lead Iraq to slide towards a confrontation that is difficult to imagine and its results to be predicted.
Early elections or postponed chaos?
Supporters of Muqtada al-Sadr gather outside the Iraqi parliament building (Reuters)
The confusion of the Iraqi scene started from Al-Sadr himself, who wanted to ally with the Sunnis and the Kurds, and to exclude his Shiite rivals backed by Iran, in a move that seemed consistent with what was known for a long time from a pan-Arabist tendency alongside his Shiite Islamism.
However, what complicated matters was that other influential Shiite political forces remained steadfast in their positions, between supporters of the formation of a majority government and those calling for the formation of a coalition government.
After Parliament made several unsuccessful attempts to form a new government, and each party used the blocking third weapon to disrupt the parliament’s sessions, the political scene was completely paralyzed, and then Iraq was left with limited options to resolve the crisis after all parties restricted the political process.
In light of these developments, the process of reviving Iraqi politics has become a long way off after all mediations failed to make any progress that would bring the parties back to the dialogue table.
To make matters worse, any concession from the "coordinating framework" coalition and its acquiescence to al-Sadr's demands will be viewed as a political defeat, which caused the framework to split against itself in addition to the main political split in the country.
On the other hand, al-Sadr wants to invest his victory in the elections to bring about a shift in Iraqi politics that will put him at the center of the scene against the background of the US withdrawal, especially since the Taliban, for example, also set the scene by radically changing the scene after the departure of the Americans.
At a time when the Iraqi political class finds itself unable to find solutions, it seems that all forces are on their way to agreeing to go to the elections again for fear of a possible clash.
It is likely that the elections themselves will be an opportunity for the losing Shiite blocs to rearrange their ranks and regain the seats they lost in the last elections, but the problem is that there are no guarantees so far on agreement on the form of the expected government, whether a coalition or a majority, not to mention the old renewed conflict at every electoral entitlement. About the personality of the head of state.
The most dangerous thing is that after the dissolution of the parliament, all the blocs will engage in early disagreements over the new polling law, which was marred by many objections, which means that the country and its members will plunge into extended protests that have no clear end, as it appears from the existing scene.
Away from the elections, there is one solution so far that the Iraqi political forces may reluctantly accept, which is the renewal of "Mustafa Al-Kazemi", a solution that the United States and some Gulf countries may prefer, but it is unlikely that Iran, which has lost much of its influence in Baghdad, will welcome it. under the jurisdiction of Al-Kazemi.
The winds are now blowing in what the ships do not like in Tehran, which has become very concerned about the increase in the influence of the Sadrist movement and its vision to reduce the role of other Shiite groups loyal to Iran, and it is likely that it is preparing for a decisive round in which to regain control of matters if the parties decide to resort again to the funds as a solution Finally, to avoid the scourge of conflict.