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article imageOp-Ed: Iraq faces political crisis amid multiple resignations

By Ken Hanly     Mar 18, 2020 in Politics
Over last weekend Mohammed Allawi Iraqi PM designate wiithdrew his candidacy because he was unable to get the required parliamentary votes to for a cabinet. On Monday the caretaker acting PM Adel Mahdi also handed in his resignation.
Mahdi was the previous PM
Mahdi resigned months
ago after government protests. However, he agreed to stay on as an acting premier until a suitable replacement was found. With the inability of Allawi to gain support for a new government there seems little chance of a new government forming soon. Mahdi decided to resign. In doing so he called for new elections as soon as possible.
Early elections may be difficult to arrange
To undertake early elections there likely will need to be reform of the electoral laws. Another PM-designate may be required to oversee matters. It is questionable whether the politicians and protesters can agree on a new PM-designate. This could drag on the process indefinitely perhaps reinvigorating protests against the government.
US plans to close three small Iraq bases
The US is planning to close down three small Iraq bases and withdraw a few hundred troops. However, it is bringing in further equipment to defend major bases. The US claimed that success in fighting against the Islamic State allowed for the reduction in bases. However, it could be that the US wants to consolidate their bases and provide them with better protection.
US Defense Secretary Pompeo warns Iraq it will defend its bases
Mike Pompeo warned former Iraqi PM that the US would take measures in self-defense if it suffered further attacks. There were two rocket attacks recently on US bases the first of which resulted in three killed. In the most recent attack several were wounded.
Pompeo spoke to caretaker PM Adel Mahdi on Saturday. This was Madi's last day on the job as he resigned on Monday so it is no clear how effective the message will be. The Iraqi parliament some time ago voted 170 to 0 to have all foreign troops withdraw from Iraq. However, the US has not only made no move to do so but Trump threatened Iraq with crippling sanctions should it force the US to leave.
The US has carried out retaliatory attacks on what it calls Iran-backed militia but who are based in Iraq. The militia involved are approved and financed by the Iraqi government. Not surprisingly the Iraqi government has objected to the US attacks. The attacks have failed to stop the rocket attacks so far.
Iraq had
complained to the UN earlier about the assassination of the key Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike just outside of the Baghdad airport.
Recent retaliatory strikes by the US were condemned by Iraq which they claimed had killed six people. Iraq claimed the attacks were a violation of its sovereignty and was a targeted aggression against Iraqi security forces. Iraqi President Barham Salih claimed that such violations could cause Iraq to unravel into a failed state and help revive the Islamic State. The militia attacked had been active in the fight against the Islamic State(ISIS). However, ISIS is now much weakened and virtually in survival mode. Salih announced plans to launch a complaint about the attacks in the UN. However, the US will no doubt block any resolution critical of the US actions in the Security Council.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Iraq politics, Mohammed Allawi, Adel AbdulMahdi
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