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Pro-Iran Iraqi coalition govt would mean minimal implementation of US sanctions, while improving KRG salary and contract payments

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Pro-Iran Iraqi coalition govt would mean minimal implementation of US sanctions, while improving KRG salary and contract payments

Post  Ponee on Sat Aug 25, 2018 6:48 pm

Pro-Iran Iraqi coalition government would mean minimal implementation of US sanctions, while improving KRG salary and contract payments


Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, right, attends a press conference with Shia cleric and leader Muqtada al-Sadr in Najaf on 23 June 2018. Source: Haidar Hamdani/AFP/Getty Images

Key Points

  • The anti-Iran alliance of Abadi, Sadr, Hakim, and Allawi faces fragmentation and internal revolt, including challenges to assembling the 165 seats required for a ruling majority in parliament.
  • Iran is pushing for a national unity government in Iraq including all Shia factions (including Sadrists and the Fatah coalition), which would resist US sanctions on Iran. It is unlikely to be able to bring together these parties, however, raising the likelihood of Sadr opting to stay in the opposition and join the ongoing southern protest movement.
  • Withdrawal by PMUs from Sunni-majority areas represents an indicator of Sunni rapprochement with Iran’s allies, which, pending Kurdish participation, would mean sufficient seats for a pro-Iran coalition government. Kurdish participation would allow resumption of Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) payments to civil servants, oil companies, and other government contractors.


Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi, and leaders Muqtada al-Sadr, Ammar al-Hakim, and Iyad Allawi met at the Babel Hotel on 19 August to declare that they had formed the largest bloc in Parliament, entitling them to name a candidate for prime minister, president, and speaker of parliament and thereby end the long-drawn-out government formation process since Iraq’s 12 May general election.
The four factions were unable, however, to assemble the required 165 seats. They agreed instead to form the “core” of a broader coalition, with the intention of negotiating with other factions to establish a ruling majority.
According to a Saudi media report, the alliance failed to assemble a full coalition due to its Sunni and Kurdish components withdrawing at the last minute at the behest of Qatar and Iran, respectively. IHS Markit was unable to independently verify the report’s claims. If true, Iran’s intervention is likely to have been motivated by the desire to prevent the exclusion of its allies from the government, while Qatar is likely to have wanted to preclude a government in which Sadr plays an outsized role, since this would be perceived as a victory for Saudi Arabia, which has been cultivating Sadr as a potential ally.



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