Al-Asadi reveals a dialogue between the framework and the current to end the political blockage

Policy- 04-26-2022 12:56 AM – Read:1737

The head of the National Sindh bloc, MP Ahmed Al-Asadi, revealed that the negotiations between the framework and the current will return soon to end the “political clash.”

Al-Asadi said in a press statement, “The door to dialogue between the coordination framework and the Sadrist movement has not been closed, and negotiations will return soon to end (the political clash).”

Ambassador Al-Sadr discusses with a British minister overcoming the political blockage to form the new government

  • Time: 4/25/2022 23:49:02
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Ambassador Al-Sadr discusses with a British minister overcoming the political blockage to form the new government

  {Politics: Al Furat News} The Ambassador of the Republic of Iraq in London, Muhammad Jaafar Al-Sadr, discussed today, Monday, with the Minister of State for Asian and Middle Eastern Affairs, Mrs. Amanda Melling, overcoming the political impasse to form the new government.

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated in a statement that {Euphrates News} received a copy of it, that: “During the meeting, means of strengthening bilateral relations between Iraq and the United Kingdom were discussed, and the latest developments in the political situation in Iraq and the region and the efforts of the political parties in Iraq to overcome the state of political obstruction towards forming the new Iraqi government were discussed. “.

For her part, Milling affirmed, “The United Kingdom stands by Iraq to maintain its security and stability.”

Al-Kazemi’s advisor: The World Bank provided loans to Iraq to support the investment budget

2022/04/25 22:53

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  • Section : Iraq

Baghdad / Obelisk: The technical advisor to the Prime Minister, Haitham Al-Jubouri, identified, on Monday, April 25, 2022, the most important proposed projects, which are expected to be discussed with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank during an upcoming meeting in Baghdad, noting that the World Bank provides loans at a zero interest rate and a repayment period of more than twenty years. For the Iraqi government in order to support the investment budget.

Al-Jubouri told a local satellite channel, which was followed by the obelisk, that the recent World Bank report indicated that there had been positive growth in the Iraqi economy, both oil and non-oil, and this came after economic reforms through corrective steps taken by the current government and the previous parliament.

He added: Turning to the current problems that the economy suffers from, the inflation rate was 6% in 2020, and rose in the last two years to 7.9%, and the reasons for this are the first of which is the increase in the monetary mass offered in the Iraqi market, which rose from 51 trillion dinars to 76 trillion, an increase of 25 trillion Dinar, and the second reason is the increase in the exchange rate of the dollar against the dinar.

He pointed out that the unemployment problem also rose to 12.7%, due to the outbreak of the Corona pandemic and the suspension of some production plants, noting that the revenues generated as a result of high returns could address the problems of inflation and unemployment if invested correctly.

And about the upcoming meeting that government officials will hold in Baghdad with representatives of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, al-Jubouri said that the two parties were briefed on government reforms represented in the White Paper and had valuable observations, which were not binding on the Iraqi government, and their observations are viewed by international institutions with consideration, especially with regard to granting loans and investments.

He stressed that the World Bank provides loans at a zero interest rate and a repayment period of more than twenty years to the Iraqi government in order to support the investment budget and does not grant any loans to the operating budget such as salaries and expenses.

He pointed out that Iraq needs the implementation of new projects in the field of rail linkage and new roads, the completion of the great port of Faw and the development of airports, and these are plans that can be supported by the World Bank after its last positive report.

He pointed out that the World Bank will study these plans after they are presented by the Iraqi side in the meeting, and perhaps finance part of them, and this is a great gain for Iraq because it will push the wheel of development, increase job opportunities and create productive projects.

With regard to the extent of the investment of the financial mass achieved from the rise in oil imports in the Emergency Support Law for Food Security and Development, Al-Jubouri explained that it will go to strengthen the vocabulary of the ration card, support farmers and peasants, and to cover the costs of oil production, importing electric power and gas, and paying off Iraq’s indebtedness, and 30% of it will go to productive investment projects.

Former Ambassador Of Iraq To The U.S. Rend Al-Rahim: Political Deadlock In Iraq Will Likely End With A Bargain, Sadrist Movement Will Keep Its Majority And Allow Pro-Iran Shi’ite Parties To Name A New Prime Minister, Assure Them Status Of Their Popular Mobilization Unit (PMU) Militias

April 25, 2022

IranIraq | Special Dispatch No. 9924

On April 18, 2022, Arab Center Washington DC (ACW) a research organization, published[1] an article titled “Iraq Awaits the End of Its Political Deadlock”  written by Rend Al-Rahim, the former Ambassador of Iraq to the United States, addressing the current political deadlock in Iraq that resulted from the outcome of the October 2021 elections and arguing that it would be unlikely for the head of the Sadrist movement, the Shi’ite cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr who won 73 seats in the election, to “relinquish his ascendancy, and return to the Shia fold as one among equals.” Al-Rahim also maintained that “the most realistic scenario is that a bargain will be struck, possibly with Iranian mediation, whereby Sadr retains his primacy over Shia groups but makes concessions to the Coordinating Framework (CF), [a coalition of pro-Iran Shi’ite political parties] in the naming of the new prime minister, offering significant ministries and senior parliamentary positions, and perhaps providing assurances on the future status of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMU).”

Following is the full text of the article:

“In Iraq’s parliamentary elections last October, the Sadrist Movement led by the Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr emerged as the largest bloc with 73 seats. Its closest Shia competitor, the State of Law coalition headed by former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, won 33. Fatah, a broad coalition that comprises several Iran-affiliated outfits operating within the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), garnered a meager 17 seats. To be sure, no one could doubt that Sadr was the Shia victor by an overwhelming margin. This has thrown Iraqi politics into a spin, with Maliki and the Fatah alliance trying to play an inordinate role in forming Iraq’s putative cabinet, electing a president, and running the government.

“Shia Spoiler or Protector?

“Owing to ambiguities in the Iraqi constitution pertaining to who forms a government, and to a 2010 Constitutional Court definition of what constitutes the largest parliamentary bloc, Sadr’s movement is not necessarily the prima facie party that would be tasked with forming a government. The Sadrists would have to form alliances with other parties to build an absolute parliamentary majority of 165 seats (out of 329) that can nominate and give confidence to a prime minister-designate and a government. Sadr proceeded to enter into an alliance with the Democratic Party of Kurdistan and the Sovereignty Coalition, a broad Sunni bloc headed by Speaker of Parliament Mohammed al-Halbousi. Together, the three announced the establishment of the Save the Homeland coalition, to secure a cross-sectarian, cross-ethnic national majority that can support the formation of a Sadrist-led new government.

“Infuriated by their exclusion by Sadr, the remaining Shia parties coalesced as the Coordinating Framework (CF) whose tactics have shifted over the last six months. In the weeks after the elections, the losing Shia parties denounced the results as fraudulent and tried to have them overturned. After the formation of the CF, they claimed that they held a parliamentary majority but could not prove it. They generally pursue a sectarian rhetoric and have argued that Sadr’s proposed national majority government—dependent as it would be on the Save the Homeland tripartite coalition and excluding the CF—marginalizes the demographic majoritarian nature of Iraq’s Shia and thus denies the Shia their rightful political role. They arouse sectarian passions by sowing fears that a divided Shia front will strip the community of what they deem are its hard-earned gains.

“They have used this narrative to fan fears of Shia disenfranchisement, ignoring the fact that Sadr’s own Shia party is by far the largest bloc in parliament and in the Save the Homeland coalition. They have even hinted at possible civil conflict should they be excluded from power. Reaching out to smaller Sunni and Kurdish parties, they declared themselves to be the ‘obstructive third’ and indeed managed to abort two parliamentary sessions to elect a president. However, realizing that the title could hurt them, they rebranded to the more positive sounding ‘guarantor third,’ promoting themselves as the sole guarantors of the rights of the Shia to political dominance. (In this, they borrowed Lebanese Hezbollah’s vernacular where the party used a constitutional provision that guarantees the right of one-third of the cabinet to override the will of the majority.)

“These scare tactics failed to impress Sadr or his Kurdish and Sunni allies. Unable to defeat Sadr or avoid dealing with him, the CF is attempting to contain him by repeatedly calling on him to return to the proverbial ‘Shia house’ under a united banner and to form with them a true Shia majority. On the latter count, they are preaching to the converted. Sadr also believes in Shia political dominance and the sect’s right to rule, but he wants to be its uncontested political and temporal leader and, by extension, that of Iraq. This is precisely what the CF, including Maliki and the PMF groups, want to thwart. The PMF groups in the Coordinating Framework also fear veiled threats by Sadr to bring all their weapons under state control. He is also said to have invited some elements within the CF to join his Save the Homeland coalition and a national majority government but as junior partners, not as equals, and the invitation specifically excluded former Premier Maliki. Allegedly, a few were tempted to bolt, but the CF received orders from high authorities in Tehran to hold together and not break rank.

“Competing Political Agendas

“The differences between Moqtada al-Sadr and his Shia rivals in the Coordinating Framework can well be explained by the desire of both groups to seize the instruments of executive power, control the state’s resources, and determine its policies. But there is more than ambition, greed, and personal rivalry: there are also real political differences between Sadr’s proposition and that of the CF. The differences are captured by two slogans. The first is that of ‘national majority,’ a term repeatedly used by Sadr to denote a broad coalition composed of a cross-sectarian, cross-ethnic alliance (Save the Homeland) in which he has a decisive majority as befits the Shia community. Subsequently, a cross-sectarian, cross-ethnic counter-alliance would form the opposition. This is by no means a new concept; in fact, it was promoted by none other than Nouri al-Maliki in 2016 and again in 2018 as the solution to the country’s dysfunctional political system. This would be a departure from the consensus governments that have governed since 2003, in which everyone participated. While it will still be based on ethno-sectarian power-sharing, it will adhere less to strict muhasasa, a division of spoils among all groups, and could chart a new, healthier path for Iraqi politics.

“To counter this, the Coordinating Framework is calling for a consensus government in which all participate. More pointedly, it fiercely promotes the ‘Shia house,’ a term coined soon after 2003 to unite all the sect’s political groups under one umbrella and give them the decisive voice in the affairs of state. It is particularly galling and threatening to the CF that the majority of the Sunni groups have been able to unite under the aegis of Speaker Halbousi’s Sovereignty bloc, reinforcing the need for Shia solidarity. The CF holds an uncompromising sectarian view of politics in which demographic majority is identical to political majority. Naturally, this demographic majority is embodied in the Shia religious parties that comprise the CF. It should be noted, however, that Shia solidarity is also Iran’s agenda, enabling it to control the Shia political scene more easily. Intra-Shia political fractures challenge Iran’s ability to maneuver and control the Shia groups. Moqtada al-Sadr’s refusal to be drawn back into an all-inclusive Shia embrace is thus a dangerous precedent that the CF opposes.

“On the first day of Ramadan, Muqtada al-Sadr threw down the gauntlet. While still holding firm to his position as leader of the largest Shia bloc in parliament, which enables him to form a national majority cabinet, he gave the CF 40 days (until after the Muslim Eid al-Fitr) to show that it can form a government. His challenge was clear: since the CF claims that it is the largest Shia bloc, then it should form a government without him. If it succeeds, he will go into opposition. If it doesn’t, it should concede defeat. In other words, he called the CF’s bluff. Thrown off balance by this challenge, the CF responded by claiming that it did not want to delay the political process and wanted an all-inclusive Shia alliance that included Sadr. So far, Sadr has stood firm. He has refused to meet with anyone from CF since his 40-day declaration and has reiterated his commitment to a national majority government. His allies in Save the Homeland have confirmed their support and commitment to the coalition while CF’s efforts to form a rival coalition have yet to bear fruit.

“Possible Solutions to the Impasse

“All political forces in Iraq are dug in. Given the current unwillingness of either side to compromise, it is difficult to predict what will happen at the end of the 40-day period. Local dynamics on several fronts, as well as regional developments, will come into play. Iraqi citizens are understandably frustrated, even angry. This is not what they expected when they called for early elections. Protests in the south may erupt again. For all his bravado, Muqtada al-Sadr knows he cannot alienate the other Shia groups; he cannot wholly antagonize Iran, which wants to see a united Shia front. At the same time, he needs to keep his eye on his Sunni and Kurdish allies, who may want Shia reconciliation but not necessarily a full-blown Shia takeover that dilutes their influence. They too have had their share of unpleasant encounters with the PMF recently. The CF is also in a dilemma; it can neither beat Sadr nor join him and has not been able to form a solid alliance with other parties. If Sadr has not broken CF’s back, he has certainly bloodied its nose.

“It is highly unlikely that Moqtada al-Sadr will buckle under CF, Iranian, or other pressure, relinquish his ascendancy, and return to the Shia fold as one among equals. There are other possible scenarios for ending the deadlock:

  1. New elections: a new parliamentary election could be called. This will require parliament to dissolve itself, which is unlikely in the foreseeable future. The winning parties—the Sadrists, the Democratic Party of Kurdistan, Speaker Halbousi’s Taqaddum, and even some smaller parties—will oppose the proposal vehemently. Public anger at the frivolity of such a decision will be an additional deterrent.
  2. A change of opinion within the CF: The CF, with a nod from Iran, could agree to go into opposition, with the goal of harassing and toppling the Save the Homeland government formed. The CF, including Nouri al-Maliki, has already floated this possibility on condition that it gains leadership of parliamentary committees, but this scenario is unlikely.
  3. Defection from the CF: Some members of the Coordinating Framework could defect and join the Save the Homeland government under Sadr’s shadow. This also is unlikely, because the defection will permanently tarnish those defectors or groups in the eyes of other CF members and put them at the mercy of Sadr.
  4. Striking a bargain: The most realistic scenario is that a bargain will be struck, possibly with Iranian mediation, whereby Sadr retains his primacy over Shia groups but makes concessions to the CF in the naming of the new prime minister, offering significant ministries and senior parliamentary positions, and perhaps providing assurances on the future status of the PMF. This will be a face-saving solution both for the CF and for Sadr and will be proclaimed as a win–win situation. Such a resolution will probably entail at least some of the CF members going into opposition, along with smaller Sunni and Kurdish parties.

“More than six months have passed since elections were held in October 2021. The cynicism about the political process and distrust in the established parties exhibited by Iraqi citizens during those elections will only deepen and expand if Iraqi politicians don’t soon overcome their bickering and acrimony and accept compromises that pave the way to a new government. Iraq has indeed waited long for its unresponsive political elites to commit to a practical path toward good governance, political stability, and economic development.”

Baghdad unveils the Iranian-Saudi talks and announces a 10-point agreement

politicsSaudi-Iranian negotiationsIraqi Foreign Minister

 2022-04-25 07:10A-AA+

Shafaq News/ On Monday, Iraqi Foreign Minister Fouad Hussein revealed the details of the negotiations hosted by the capital, Baghdad, between Iran and Saudi Arabia, indicating that they had agreed on a 10-point memorandum of understanding.

Hussein said in statements to the Qatari “Al-Jazeera” channel, which was followed by Shafak News Agency, that “the last Saudi-Iranian meeting in Baghdad was security, in the presence of high-ranking officials,” explaining that “the two sides reached an agreement on a 10-point memorandum of understanding.”

Hussein pointed to “the agreement to hold the next round of dialogue at the diplomatic level,” noting that “the Saudi-Iranian dialogue in Baghdad dealt with the issue of the continuation of the ceasefire in Yemen.”

He added that “Iraq’s problems with Iran and Turkey regarding the security issue must be resolved through dialogue,” noting that “an Iranian delegation will visit Iraq after Eid to discuss many issues, especially security.”

He pointed out that “the reasons that the Turkish side is talking about are not sufficient to use force inside our territory.” The Iraqi foreign minister said, “The presence of American advisers in Iraq is to help the Iraqi forces and in agreement with the government, and that the attack on the Americans in Iraq means an attack on the government and the national interest.”

Earlier today, the Iranian Foreign Ministry described the ongoing talks with Saudi Arabia in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, as “positive.”

On the 23rd of this month, Iranian media revealed that Iran and Saudi Arabia had resumed talks in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, after they were suspended more than a month ago.

“This round of negotiations is the fifth of its kind, which was held between high-ranking officials from the Iranian National Security Council and the head of the Saudi intelligence agency,” Noor News newspaper, affiliated with Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, reported.

She added that “the recent positive meeting raised hopes in the two countries to take steps towards resuming relations,” adding that “it is likely that the grounds will be provided for a joint meeting between the foreign ministers of the two countries.”

It is noteworthy that Riyadh severed relations with Tehran in 2016 after Iranian protesters stormed the Saudi embassy in the Iranian capital to protest the execution of a Shiite cleric in Saudi Arabia.

Iran holds its round of talks with Saudi Arabia in Baghdad

  • Time: 04/25/2022 13:59:02
  • Reading: 377 times
Iran holds its round of talks with Saudi Arabia in Baghdad

  {Political: Al Furat News} The Iranian Foreign Ministry announced that “progress has been made” with Saudi Arabia in the fifth round of talks held in the capital, Baghdad, to normalize relations between the two countries.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said in his weekly press conference on Monday: “The fifth round of talks between Saudi Arabia and Tehran was held in Iraq, and the talks were progressive and positive.”

And he indicated that “the fifth round of negotiations with Saudi Arabia was comprehensive, good and serious, but it has not yet reached the stage of real political dialogue,” pointing out that “if the negotiations with Saudi Arabia rise to the political level, we are likely to witness rapid progress.”

He added that “talks are underway between Tehran and Riyadh to send 40,000 Iranian pilgrims for Hajj this year.”

On Sunday, Foreign Minister Fouad Hussein announced that Baghdad would host a new round of talks.

Relations between the two influential powers in the Gulf region have been severed since the beginning of 2016. However, the two countries, which stand at opposite ends in various regional files, held during the past year four dialogue meetings with the aim of improving relations, hosted by Iraq with the facilitation of its Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi.

The last meeting between the two sides dates back to September 2021. It was expected that a fifth session would be held in March.

However, press reports spoke at the time about an Iranian decision to “suspend” participation in the dialogue after Saudi Arabia executed dozens of people, including many members of the Shiite minority, noting that the official media in Tehran only said at the time that no date had been set for a new session.

Saudi Arabia cut ties with Iran in January 2016, after its embassy in Tehran and its consulate in Mashhad were attacked by protesters over Riyadh’s execution of the Saudi opposition Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr.

The dialogue sessions between the two countries began in April 2021, facilitated by Al-Kazemi, who has new relations with the two sides.