Huda Jassim (Baghdad)
Yesterday, pro-Sadr demonstrators stormed the Iraqi parliament building inside the fortified Green Zone in central Baghdad, for the second time in less than a week, to protest against the candidate of Sadr’s political opponents for prime minister, declaring an open sit-in inside it.
Hundreds of demonstrators entered the parliament and its main hall, waving Iraqi flags and pictures of Muqtada al-Sadr, as reported by Al-Ittihad correspondent.
The Sadrist movement’s supporters stormed the heavily fortified Green Zone in central Baghdad and the parliament headquarters last Wednesday, before the movement’s leader Muqtada al-Sadr demanded that they withdraw from the building.
It seems that the political crisis in Iraq is getting more complicated. Ten months after the early legislative elections in October 2021, the country is witnessing complete political paralysis in light of the inability to elect a new president and form a new government. Parliament Speaker Muhammad al-Halbousi announced the suspension of all parliament sessions until further notice. In the midst of this political impasse, the “Sadr movement” is pressing its political opponent, the “coordinating framework” loyal to armed factions in Iraq, to reject their candidate to head the government. The “Sadr movement” announced that the demonstrators who stormed the parliament building began an “open sit-in” inside it. Yesterday, thousands of demonstrators gathered on the Jumhuriya Bridge, which leads to the fortified Green Zone, which includes government headquarters and foreign embassies, and hundreds of them managed to bypass the concrete barriers on the bridge and enter it.
Iraqi security forces fired tear gas and water in an attempt to disperse and deter the demonstrators.
And the Iraqi Ministry of Health stated, in a statement, that the institutions of the Ministry of Health had received 125 wounded, 100 of whom were civilians and 25 were security men.
The demonstrators renewed their rejection of the name Muhammad Shiaa al-Sudani, who was nominated by the political opponents of the “Sadr movement” for the position of prime minister.
The Sadrist movement enjoys a popular base, which Iraqi analysts describe as “widespread” and “influential” in the country’s politics, despite the withdrawal of its deputies from the Iraqi parliament, after the formation of the government faltered for months, amid the stress of the leader of the “current” Muqtada al-Sadr on the need to form a government. A national majority due to the failure of successive consensual governments to extricate Iraq from its political, social and economic crises.
Al-Sadr left to his opponents in the “coordinating framework” the task of forming the government, after the 73 MPs resigned last June from Parliament, after they occupied as a bloc the largest number of seats in it. Meanwhile, the “coordinating framework” retracted its call for its supporters to go out in demonstrations, to defend what it described as “legitimacy.” A statement issued by Al-Attar said: “As we recommend restraint and the utmost degree of patience and preparation, we call on the masses of the Iraqi people who believe in the law, the constitution and constitutional legitimacy to demonstrate peacefully.” But he returned and announced the postponement of these demonstrations until further notice.
For his part, the independent politician and former advisor to the Iraqi presidency, Sadiq al-Moussawi, told Al-Ittihad that “the continuation of the demonstrations, unless the Iraqi people join the supporters of the Sadrist movement, in resorting to the street.”
Al-Moussawi explained that «among the solutions is holding a parliamentary session in a safe place, dismissing the current government and voting on the President of the Republic to give him the powers to administer the government until a new government is formed».
However, political analyst Omar Al-Nasser considered that Iraq has entered a new phase that began during the last period with “three preliminary steps.”
He explained in a statement to Al-Ittihad that the first step was media, and was represented by the Sadrist movement’s rejection of the coordination framework candidate, and then the second escalatory step, which is the storming of the demonstrators to the House of Representatives in order to send a real signal that there is a categorical rejection by the “Sadr movement.” » To form a consensus government. Finally, the third step is the announcement of the sit-in in Parliament, which constitutes a major escalation, which some parties may exploit for the purpose of bringing Iraq and the political process into a stage of mixing papers at a higher level, with the aim of settling accounts.
Al-Nasser called on the media, political forces, intellectuals, academics, active national forces and the silent majority of the public to take their real role.
In anticipation of yesterday’s demonstrations, the authorities tightened security measures and set up concrete barriers on the roads leading to the Green Zone.
Yesterday, the “Coordination Framework” announced the formation of a negotiating team to “discuss with all political forces regarding the formation of the government and the completion of the constitutional dues,” according to a statement. Iraq seems unable to get out of the political crisis, as it has not led to attempts and negotiations for consensus and naming a prime minister among the dominant parties on the political scene since 2003. The political path is often complex and long in Iraq, due to severe divisions, multiple crises and the influence of powerful armed groups.
Al-Kazemi warns of “sedition that burns everyone”
Yesterday, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, called on the political blocs to sit down for “dialogue and understanding for the sake of Iraq and the Iraqis.” Al-Kazemi said in a televised speech: “The language of treason and exclusion must be avoided, and a high and inclusive patriotic spirit must be displayed. A thousand days of quiet dialogue is better than a moment in which a drop of Iraqi blood is shed.”
He added: “I call on everyone to be calm, patient and rational, and not to be drawn into confrontation, and I call on citizens not to clash with the security forces and to respect state institutions.” He said, “We must all cooperate to stop those who accelerate this sedition, and everyone must know very well that the fire of sedition will burn everyone.”
Al-Kazemi stressed that “the circumstance is very difficult, and this is a bitter reality with great regret, and we have to cooperate and stand together, so that we do not push ourselves into the abyss and we have to govern our minds, consciences and consciences, and rally around Iraq and Iraqis, not around narrow interests.”
He called on “everyone to take responsibility from the parties, the political class, the social forces and other influencers, and we have to say it and everyone must act according to the rules of wisdom and insight for the sake of Iraq, so that we do not lose again.”
He stressed that “Iraq is a trust, so we do not lose this trust. This is a word I say honestly, and I hear what is said in secret and in public, and we are honest, but we hope that others will be honest this time for the sake of Iraq and the Iraqis.”
Al-Kazemi said: “We will bear the responsibility, and we are ready to do anything for Iraq, without hesitation, and the dilemma is political, and its solution is political, and the solution is possible through sincere and constructive dialogue, and making concessions for the sake of Iraq and the Iraqis.”
Al-Kazemi concluded his speech by saying that “in Iraq there are enough wise men and men, but beware of the continuation of political tension, so that the mines that we have striven for over the past two years to quietly dismantle them do not explode.”
Barham Salih calls for addressing the roots of the crisis
Yesterday, Iraqi President Barham Salih and President of the Supreme Judicial Council Faiq Zeidan called on the political forces in Iraq to hold a joint dialogue to find agreed solutions within the constitutional and legal framework.
A statement by the Supreme Judicial Council in Iraq said that the Iraqi president and the head of the Supreme Judicial Council held a meeting yesterday devoted to discussing the “turbulent reality that Iraq is going through.”
Saleh stressed the necessity of giving priority to the language of reason and upholding Iraq’s interest, saying, in a statement issued by him: “The delicate circumstance that Iraq is going through requires everyone to commit to calm, to give priority to the language of reason and dialogue, and to put the supreme national interest above all considerations.” In order to remedy the current crisis and prevent any escalation, the Iraqi president stressed that there is an urgent need to hold a national dialogue, aimed at ensuring the protection of the security and stability of the country, reassuring Iraqis, consolidating civil and social peace and immunizing the country against “stalkers” to exploit loopholes and involve Iraqis in side conflicts. He pointed out that the required dialogue between the political parties must examine the roots of the crisis that the country witnessed in the past period, and find the solutions required to overcome it and bring Iraq to safety and stability, stressing that the general situation “requires serious work towards correcting the paths, fighting corruption, and consolidating the able and protective state.” And maidservant for all Iraqis.”
Arab and UN calls for de-escalation
Yesterday, the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, appealed to all Iraqi political forces to work to end sedition quickly, and to stop the curve of escalation that may get the situation in the country out of control, stressing that things out of control will not be in the interest of Iraq or in the interest of any party. . Jamal Rushdie, a spokesman for the Secretary-General, stated that Aboul Gheit is closely following the course of the current crisis in Iraq, and that he joins his voice with the voice of the wise Iraqi leaders who demand that everyone bear responsibility, and that all parties act prudently and put Iraq’s supreme interest before any personal or personal interests narrow partisanship. The spokesman explained that dialogue remains the only way to find a political solution to the current crisis, and that it requires a real and sincere dialogue between the various components of the political spectrum, with no tension or desire for monopoly.
For its part, the United Nations Mission in Iraq, yesterday, expressed concern about the continued escalation in the country and the need to prevent further violence. “The continued escalation is very worrying, so voices of reason and wisdom are necessary to prevent further violence,” Jenin Hennis-Plasschaert, the representative of the United Nations Secretary-General in Baghdad, said in a tweet via her personal account on Twitter. “We encourage all parties to reduce the escalation in the interest of Iraq,” she added.
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