Iraq returns to normality, but a political solution is still a long way off

Iraq is back to normality, but a political solution is still a long way off

A street in Baghdad which regains calm after around 24 hours of deadly violence.

Calm reigns in Iraq on Wednesday, after around 24 hours of deadly violence, but the political deadlock could persist despite a new offer to end the crisis.

The unleashing of violence in the Green Zone, the ultra-protected sector of the capital, left 30 dead and nearly 600 injured in the ranks of supporters of Moqtada Sadr, the influential Shiite leader who set fire to the powders by announcing Monday his final withdrawal from politics.

Proof of his authority: the minute he ordered his fighters to withdraw on Tuesday, the guns fell silent and they deserted the Green Zone. And on Wednesday, Baghdad returned to traffic jams, businesses reopened and, according to the Ministry of Education, exams will resume.

For nearly 24 hours on Monday and Tuesday, Moqtada Sadr's Peace Brigades clashed with army units and men from Hashd al-Shaabi, former pro-Iran paramilitaries integrated into regular troops .

This violence is the culmination of the political crisis that Iraq has been going through since the legislative elections of October 2021. The country, rich in oil, but overwhelmed by a social and economic crisis, does not there is still no new prime minister or new government. Because the Shiite heavyweights of the Iraqi political scene, notably Moqtada Sadr, cannot come to an agreement.

To get out of the crisis, Moqtada Sadr and his adversaries of the Coordination Framework, an alliance of pro-Iran parties, agree on one point: new elections are needed. But while Moqtada Sadr insists on dissolving parliament first, his rivals want a government formed first.

On Tuesday evening, President Barham Saleh said that early legislative could “represent a way out of the crisis”.

But Parliament must first be dissolved. However, a dissolution can only be recorded by a vote of the deputies by an absolute majority, according to the Constitution. It can be requested by a third of elected officials or by the Prime Minister with the agreement of the President of the Republic.

Prime Minister Moustafa al-Kazimi for his part threatened to resign if the political paralysis continued.

If they want to continue to sow chaos […] discord […], I will make the moral and patriotic decision that is necessary and leave my post, he said in a speech.

In the meantime, the situation remains blocked. On the one hand, the Coordination Framework is sticking to its guns: in a statement released on Tuesday, its leaders reiterated their desire to form a government that will undertake reforms and fight corruption.

On the other, the Sadrists are immediately without a compass following the announcement of their leader's retirement.

In his speech on Tuesday, by which he put an end to the violence, Moqtada Sadr did not pretend to want to engage in negotiations – publicly at least.

On Wednesday, a close associate of Moqtada Sadr, Saleh Mohammed al-Iraki, was particularly offensive towards the Coordination Framework, calling on Iran to hold back its Iraqi camels, otherwise there will be no room for regrets.

The Coordination Framework is the political showcase of Hachd al-Shaabi, whose proximity to Iran ulcerates many Iraqis.

In these contests and battles between the Sadrists and the Coordinating Framework, the biggest loser is the state, which watches idly as two powerful armed groups fight for control. power, says political scientist Sajjad Jiyad of the Century International think tank.

Pope Francis, who visited Iraq last year, said he was following with concerned about the violent events of this week and called for dialogue and brotherhood […] to face the current difficulties.

The President of the Parliament Mohammed al-Halbousi on Wednesday announced a three-day mourning for the victims of the fighting, and national security adviser Qassem al-Araji called a meeting to discuss the circumstances of the violence.

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