Tens of thousands of supporters of the Shiite leader, Muqtada al-Sadr, performed Friday prayers in the Celebration Square in the Green Zone in central Baghdad, while Al-Nusour Square in the capital witnessed a demonstration of activists gathered to emphasize popular demands.
After the prayer, hundreds of Sadrist movement’s demonstrators headed to the vicinity of Parliament, where they have been camping for a week, while the Al-Nusour Square demonstrators demanded “write a new constitution for the country, change the shape of the political system, recover the looted funds, and hold the corrupt and those involved in the shedding of Iraqi blood accountable,” according to a report broadcast by the news agency. Iraqi “conscious”.
So far, a state of paralysis still dominates the political scene in the country, as the political forces failed to choose a prime minister and president of the republic more than 10 months after the elections. Civil activists believe that the current differences between the coordination framework and the Sadrist movement do not reflect what the street really wants, as the conflicting political parties seek to achieve special “gains,” according to activists.
“A crisis of confidence”
Activists who spoke to Al-Hurra indicated that the insistence of the “political class” that has been in charge since the change in 2003, to continue in power despite its repeated failures, impedes any progress in the political process and destabilizes the country.
“A struggle between two Shiite blocs over political interests,” this is how civil activist Yasser al-Barrak describes what is happening in the Iraqi political scene at the moment.
Al-Barrak believes, in an interview with Al-Hurra website, that none of the Sadrist movement and the coordinating framework have a “unified Iraqi national project.”
The coordination framework includes prominent Shiite forces such as the State of Law bloc led by former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, the main opponent of Sadr, and the Fatah bloc, which represents the Popular Mobilization, which includes armed factions loyal to Iran.
Al-Barrak pointed out that “the Sadrist movement is important to bring about a change in the political system in the country,” but that “they cannot be completely relied upon.”
Mashreq Al-Fariji, Secretary-General of the “I’m Going Down My Right to Democracy” movement, says that there is a “crisis of confidence” between many civil forces and the Sadrist movement, which in his speeches reiterates the demands of the street.
Al-Fraiji explained in an interview with Al-Hurra that “the Sadrist movement has always supported street demonstrations, but in the end the street forces had no role in the decision.”
Al-Fraiji added that the civil forces that emerged from the October demonstrations “are not part of these conflicts” between the influential political forces, and called for “dissolving parliament, creating a government with specific duties, preparing for early elections, and continuing to hold the killers of the demonstrators accountable.”
In October 2019, participants in protests in which hundreds were killed and tens of thousands of others were injured, called for the departure of the political class, the elimination of corruption and the expansion of Iranian influence in Iraq.
The Iraqi activist, Husam al-Kaabi, believes that “the Sadrist movement is riding the wave of popular demands and hostility to Iran,” but in the end, it wants to continue to obtain political gains, according to him.
In an interview with Al-Hurra, Al-Kaabi points out that “all the governments rejected by the street were formed with the participation and blessing of the Sadrist movement,” and therefore he is not “far from the political class to which he is being criticized.”
He asserts that “the coordinating framework and the Sadrist movement have great intersections in which they share, and they both seek to mobilize the masses in the street, and they have money and own armed militias,” adding that “the framework and the current are working to obtain gains and exclusivity in the political scene.”
On the other hand, political analyst Manaf al-Moussawi rejects the criticism of the Sadrist movement by civil activists, and asserts that “the demonstrations in Al-Nusour Square, which were attended by hundreds of people on Friday, support the popular demands of the demonstrators of the movement.”
Al-Moussawi continues, in response to Al-Hurra’s inquiries, that “the October demonstrations did not have unified leaders, and there is a group of activists who speak in the name of Tishreen, but some of them have links with blocs and parties that may be affected by the demands of the Sadrist movement.”
He adds that “the Sadrist movement’s demonstrations are complementary to the October demonstrations, especially with regard to holding the corrupt accountable and amending the constitution,” expecting that the coming days will witness “an expansion of popular demonstrations to increase momentum and pressure on the political blocs.”
Early parliamentary elections
The coordinating framework expressed openness to Muqtada al-Sadr’s demands, stressing his openness to holding early legislative elections, “but under conditions,” according to a statement issued Thursday.
He stressed that “it must be preceded by work to respect the constitutional institutions and not to obstruct their work.”
Al-Sadr called on Wednesday to dissolve parliament and hold early elections, less than a year after the elections in which he won the largest number of seats.
Political analyst Manaf al-Moussawi believes that “the messages of the coordination framework so far are not positive, and they are only trying to gain time.”
He added that talking about a conditional solution to the parliament and early elections may mean “necessarily the existence of an interim government, chosen by the coordinating framework, which may generate several caveats and fears related to the integrity of the upcoming elections.”
Al-Moussawi believes that the solution may be linked to conducting a “real dialogue” with the presence of an “international guarantor such as the United Nations”, and it is likely that we will witness at that time “an increase in the number of independent representatives, and a real change in the Iraqi political map.”
Al-Sadr won the largest number of seats in parliament in the October elections, but failed to form a government that excludes his Iranian-backed rivals.
He withdrew his deputies from Parliament and resorted to applying pressure through protests and sit-ins in Parliament, taking advantage of his large popular base of millions of working class Shiites, according to a Reuters report.
And the Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament, Muhammad al-Halbousi, supported holding “early elections” within a period of time, with the aim of “restarting the democratic process under the roof of the constitution and understanding, in line with the country’s supreme national interest.”
— Mohammed Al-Halbousi (@AlHaLboosii) August 5, 2022
Activist Al-Barrak does not see that early elections will be the solution to the crisis in the country, especially since “the silent majority did not participate in the last early elections”, and the boycott will be repeated in “any future elections.”
He pointed out that “the October people have always proposed a national project that is not subject to influence from any party, whether regional or international,” which requires the presence of political actors other than the current political classes.
Activist Mashreq Al-Fariji called for the necessity of “the existence of a real political alternative”, as “the time in which the forces of the framework and the current dominate the political scene are over.”
Al-Sadr met in Najaf, on Friday, with the head of the United Nations mission in Iraq, Jenin Plasshart. In a press conference that followed the meeting, Plasschaert said that she discussed “with Mr. Al-Sadr the importance of finding a solution to the political crisis,” according to the Iraqi News Agency.
An analysis that raises speculation about al-Sadr’s motives and the future of the political process in Iraq
An analysis by the Washington-based American Institute of Peace concluded that Iraq’s stability is at stake as a result of the recent movements of supporters of the Sadrist movement, Muqtada al-Sadr, which calls for a serious stance from the country’s leaders and the international community alike to confront the crisis.
The Iraqi constitution allows Parliament to dissolve itself, according to Article 64, which states that it dissolves the Council of Representatives by an absolute majority of its members at the request of one-third of the members or a request from the Prime Minister and with the approval of the President of the Republic.
#analysis #raises #speculation #alSadrs #motives #future #political #process #Iraq