No one imagined that Muqtada al-Sadr would fulfill his promise and withdraw from the political process leaving behind the gains and spoils that he had achieved. Everyone naively thought that al-Sadr’s threat was merely intended to frighten opponents and not stand against his dream of forming a national majority government. Since al-Sadr represents the political majority in Parliament and the pillar of the political process in Iraq, now that al-Sadr has fulfilled his promise, Iraq is now at a crossroads after the Sadrist movement withdrew from the political process. This has left the potential for the parties close to the Iranian axis to form a government after the Sadrist movement and its allies failed to entice the Sunni and Kurdish parties to form a national majority government that would not be affiliated with Iran and America.
If a new government is formed, al-Sadr alone will bear the consequences of its potential success or failure, as has happened previously. But this invitation was strongly rejected by the forces close to Iran, who described it as an infringement on the rights of the largest components in Iraq. It is worth noting that the first politician who called for the formation of a national majority government was the former Prime Minister and the leader of the coordination framework himself, Nuri al-Maliki, who called for the formation of a majority government over ten years ago.
Al-Maliki stated, during the annual memorial ceremony for the former leader of the Islamic Supreme Council, Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim in 2011, “the Iraqi issue does not bear the outbidding of some and placing the responsibility on others, stressing that everyone bears the responsibility”. Al-Maliki called on the political parties to believe in the principle of partnership in governance. Warning that if “they did not believe in it, then let the majority be a platform for forming the next Iraqi government,” explaining that t building, reconstruction, and eliminating corruption must be the foundations for a coherent government. And now that the political sphere is free of competitors for the coordination framework to form a government, it seems that the task has become more difficult before the withdrawal of the Sadrist movement.
The framework needs Sunni and Kurdish parties to form a government, but these parties are still far from supporting the framework. This is due to several reasons including accusations by Iran and the previous framework for the Kurdistan region, and the Kurdish parties’ relations with Israel. Moreover, the missile attacks on Erbil in March 2022 pose an additional issue for an alliance with the Democratic Party due to the lack of trust between the two parties.
Nonetheless, the framework remains allied with some Sunnis, as it helped them break the quorum for the election of a president of the republic. However, the largest Sunni party, the Alliance of Sovereignty, led by Parliament Speaker Muhammad al-Halbousi, holds an ambiguous stance regarding the alliance with the framework. This is due to recent reports which indicate that the framework intends to change Muhammad al-Halbousi and replace him with one of the Sunni representatives who was allied with him before. But this is still just news, possibly true and maybe untrue, but the fact is that the framework is tired of Al-Halbousi’s behavior and his previous stances against the framework.
Simply, the framework prefers to go in a consensual government in which all political forces within parliament participate, as in previous sessions, and no one adopts failure in it. But that is fraught with risks, and that will likely form a weak consensus government will be within the Sadrist movement’s range and at any moment may fall.
The Iraqi political process is going through opposite paths internally, regionally, and then internationally, not to mention the existence of a state of international regression towards it. Therefore, the settlement of the crisis at this stage can be summed up in the following points:
A national dialogue
The necessity of holding a broad national conference for dialogue and agreeing on a roadmap that includes the formation of an interim government that, in cooperation with other authorities, undertakes to provide effective solutions to the problems afflicting Iraq, and to reach a sound ground for holding free and fair elections. The Prime Minister-designate in the interim government must be given the freedom to choose his cabinet. That is provided that it’s working towards being efficient and honest and that it understands the affairs of the country to implement a government program that will work to meet the needs of the people and temporarily provide what the country needs.
A new election law
A new election law must be formed to ensure fair representation of all components and political parties and the necessity of the Sadrist movement’s participation in this law.
A new electoral commission
A vote on dissolving the previous commission and choosing a new commission to organize the upcoming elections is essential and will ensure the confidence of the Iraqi people and work with high transparency and integrity under the supervision and supervision of the United Nations mission and the European Union.
These and other points will contribute to alleviating the political crisis in Iraq if the ruling parties are listening, but these aspirations are still far from being achieved due to the intransigence of politicians and the personal issues between them.