Iraqi Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr is seeking to thwart the attempts of his rival, former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, to put his representative at the head of the new Iraqi government, which is still waiting for someone to form it since the last elections were held last October.
Al-Maliki and his companions in the “coordinating framework”, and most of them, if not all, are described as “Voices of Iran” in the Iraqi arena, took advantage of al-Sadr’s decision to invite the deputies affiliated with him (73 deputies) who won the elections to resign, out of “sacrificing for the sake of homeland, and continue the war on corruption,” the Sadrist leader said. Al-Maliki considered it an opportunity to turn the tables on his rival and put a man affiliated with him and from the second row among the leaders of the “framework”, former minister Muhammad Shiaa al-Sudani at the head of the government.
In accordance with the famous verse attributed to Al-Hajjaj Bin Youssef, “I am the son of Jella and Tala’ Al-Tanaiya… When I put on the turban, you will know me.” Al-Sadr put on his turban and called on his supporters to go out in hundreds to the Green Zone and make a “peaceful” storming of the parliament building, in a scene reminiscent of the storming of Donald Trump’s supporters Congress building a year and a half ago, with the difference that al-Sadr’s supporters came in victory outfits armed with the majority of Shiite votes, while Trump’s supporters came out, armed with machine guns and sticks, demanding to turn defeat into victory.
Muqtada al-Sadr scored a goal against al-Maliki and opponents in the “Popular Mobilization”, and told his supporters that “the message has arrived”, and that it will be difficult to ignore their demands in the process of forming the new government.
An old series of conflicts and armed confrontations between Muqtada al-Sadr and Nouri al-Maliki dates back to the time when the latter became prime minister. The reasons for the alienation between the two men extend to various factors in which the personal factor overlaps with the politician, in addition to Al-Maliki’s absolute loyalty to the Iranian regime, while Al-Sadr seeks to present himself as the Iraqi cleric close to Iran for sectarian reasons, but at the same time he is keen to achieve Iraq’s interests and arrange its relations With its Arab neighbors, away from Iranian interests.
The Iranians did not like al-Sadr’s positions and his role in “splitting the Shiite house,” as they accuse him. On top of that, they did not like the departure of a Shiite cleric on the “House of Obedience”, while Tehran boasted of its hegemony over Baghdad, as one of the four Arab capitals to which it owes allegiance. Of course, there are Shiite clerics in Lebanon and others who do not go along with the Iranian mood, but the position of Muqtada al-Sadr and his representative capacity is a different matter. For this reason, the commander of the Quds Force, Ismail Qaani, entered the line of efforts to persuade al-Sadr to give up the demand to form a majority government (in alliance with Kurdistan Democratic Party Chairman Massoud Barzani and Parliament Speaker Muhammad al-Halbousi) and to accept another figure who heads what Tehran describes as the consensus government, and its goal is to Pull the rug out from under the feet of those who won the elections. However, Qaani’s efforts failed, and he is now trying again to unite al-Sadr with other Shiite forces during his current visit to Baghdad, but he is unlikely to succeed this time as well, especially after the leaks described as “WikiLeaks al-Maliki,” and it was quoted by the former prime minister as saying a significant amount. Among the accusations against his rival, al-Sadr, amounted to describing him as a “murderer” and describing his Sadrist group as “cowards.”
Al-Sadr will not accept his removal from power after winning the largest bloc in Parliament. Removing him in this way, by circumventing the results, and under direct pressure from Tehran, is equivalent for him to a complete defeat for him, his movement, and what his family has represented on the Iraqi Shiite arena since its struggle against Saddam Hussein’s regime until today. He expected that his decision to resign his representatives from Parliament would be a warning message, but his opponents turned to a “legal” practice that ended in selecting candidates whose votes came after the votes received by Sadr’s representatives to take their place in parliament. They felt that they had achieved what they wanted by proceeding with the political process and forming the government without any consideration for the objections of al-Sadr and the positions of the large Shiite bloc that he leads, most of which tend to accuse the leaders of the “coordinating framework”, especially those who previously assumed the prime ministership, such as Nuri al-Maliki, Haider al-Abadi and Adel Abdul-Mahdi. , mismanagement, corruption and facilitating the control of the “Popular Mobilization” over the administrative and judicial bodies in Iraq, in addition to the security services.
If there is any significance to what Muqtada al-Sadr’s supporters did by storming the Iraqi parliament building, it is that the elections in most of the countries of our region are an absurd process. Since Iran’s influence has played a role in policy-making in Iraq as well as in Lebanon and elsewhere, disruption and paralysis of institutions has become the norm until the opposition forces bow to this influence and accept the fait accompli. The Iraqis have been waiting for a new government since they went to the elections last October, and the Lebanese have also been waiting for a government since the elections last May. They have already waited for months to form governments, and they will undoubtedly wait for a long time to elect a new president. Meanwhile, people’s lives are disrupted, the economic collapse worsens, and the state’s image becomes a mirage.
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