A few days separate Iraq from holding the early and controversial parliamentary elections, on October 10, the elections that came after massive anti-government protests in October 2019, and were postponed twice from their supposed date last year.
The protesters had demanded the government to hold early parliamentary elections, instead of the original scheduled date of April 2022, in protest of the Iraqi political elites that rule the country after the US invasion in 2003.
While these political elites, especially the Shiites, were trying to postpone the elections more than once, to restore their balance after the protests, or what Iraqis call the “October Uprising”, the Iraqi Prime Minister, Mustafa Al-Kazemi, who took office in May 2020, after the resignation of the Prime Minister The former minister, Adel Abdul-Mahdi, at the end of 2019, against the wishes of the protesters, was busy securing a second term for him in the position, by carrying out many internal and regional maneuvers.
Disagreement between Shiite political and armed factions
In just over a year in his position, Al-Kazemi was able to obtain regional and international support, which we will separate later, in an attempt to extract a second term for a period of four years, but this does not mean a complete guarantee to take over the position for a future period, so Al-Kazemi must obtain support The Biggest and the Hardest: Supporting Shiite Political and Armed Factions.
According to a number of Shiite officials and politicians who spoke to “Arabi Post”, there is a great split within Shiite political circles and armed factions close to Iran, over the issue of granting Mustafa Al-Kazemi a second term.
A Shiite government official told “Arabi Post”: “When Al-Kazemi talks about his complete independence from the Shiite parties, this matter is unreal. The man makes alliances and understandings from time to time with the Shiite political elites, to ensure his continuation in his position.”
The former source says to “Arabi Post”, that at first Al-Kazemi tried to ally with the most secular Shiite politicians such as Haider al-Abadi, so that he would not be counted on Shiite political Islam, but he realized that Haider al-Abadi, even with his alliance with the cleric Ammar al-Hakim, represent political forces. Weak, so he chose to join Muqtada al-Sadr.
According to the Shiite government official, Al-Kazemi’s desire to ally with Muqtada al-Sadr comes from the premise of securing a momentum for him in parliament. Protection In the face of the Shiite armed factions loyal to Iran and anti-Kazemi, the cleric Muqtada al-Sadr controls one of the largest armed Shiite factions in Iraq: Saraya al-Salam.
On the other hand, Muqtada al-Sadr’s alliance competes in parliament with the Fatah alliance led by Hadi al-Amiri, head of the Badr Organization, which is close to Iran.
A political source close to Hadi Al-Amiri told “Arabi Post”: “Al-Amiri does not agree to grant Al-Kazemi a second term, and does not accept the alliance of Sadr or Haider Al-Abadi with Al-Kazemi, but the idea that the Iranians agree to grant Al-Kazemi a second term increases the pressure on Al-Amiri to accept.” In fact.”
According to the same source, the Iraqi Hezbollah Brigades, a Shiite armed faction close to Iran, joins the Fatah coalition in Parliament, agrees to grant Al-Kazemi a second term, saying: “In the beginning, the Kata’ib rejected this matter, but as I said earlier, after Iran agreed Ali Al-Kazemi, they announced their acceptance, unlike Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq and the Nujaba, they completely reject the matter.”
The Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq and al-Nujaba faction is among the Shiite armed factions loyal to Iran in Iraq. Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, led by Qais al-Khazali, has repeatedly announced its rejection of Al-Kazemi as prime minister, and until now the media outlets affiliated with Khazali are constantly criticizing Al-Kazemi.
A paramilitary commander in the Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq faction told “Arabi Post”: “We will never agree to grant Al-Kazemi a second term, and we have nothing to do with the approval of the Iranians, so we will run in the elections independently of the Fatah coalition, and we will be a pain in Al-Kazemi’s side, if he can continue to his position.”
A meeting to resolve the dispute
In the past few days, when differences and divisions increased between the Shiite house on the issue of Mustafa Al-Kazemi continuing his position as prime minister, the Iraqi Shiite political elites reached a meeting that includes all political parties, which includes the State of Law coalition led by Nuri al-Maliki, Fatah Alliance, Ataa Movement Sairoon, the victory coalition led by Haider al-Abadi, the Islamic Virtue Party, and the National Forces Alliance led by Ammar al-Hakim, in order to discuss the aforementioned issue.
A Shiite political source familiar with this meeting told “Arabi Post”: “In this meeting, the Shiite political elite tried to reach a solution in the issue of allowing Al-Kazemi to continue in his position, and they came up with the idea that Al-Kazemi pledges to sign a document to join one of the major parliamentary blocs in the next parliament.
But according to the previous source, Nuri al-Maliki and Haider al-Abadi rejected this matter, saying: “The meeting failed to achieve its goal, which is to resolve the issue of granting Al-Kazemi a second term or not.”
Al-Kazemi and his new initiatives for Iraq
Mustafa al-Kadhimi, who came from the presidency of the Iraqi National Intelligence Service, and previously worked in the press, has tried, since taking office, to appear completely different from his predecessors, who were often seen as weak, under the authority of Shiite political parties.
Mustafa Al-Kazemi, the independent, who is not affiliated with any political movement or group, came to achieve the demands of the protesters and the October uprising, and at the same time tried to define a new vision for Iraq during his reign, and try to get out of his country’s dependence on the Islamic Republic of Iran, and try to integrate Baghdad into its Arab and Gulf surroundings, and build Strategic friendships with Arab countries.
He tried to achieve part of this vision through the “New Orient” project, and building close relations with both Jordan and Egypt, a project that is supposed to guarantee Iraq new economic and political relations, bringing it back to the heart of events in the Middle East.
A prominent Iraqi Shiite politician told “Arabi Post” that Al-Kazemi wanted to become “Iraq’s savior from the ongoing conflicts and escalation between Tehran and Washington,” adding that since his first day in office, he has been seeking to secure a second and perhaps a third term.
And on mentioning the conflict between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United States, in which Iraq was a permanent theater, Mustafa Al-Kazemi tried to spare his country this conflict, which was escalating, especially after the United States’ assassination of the prominent Iranian general, Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. , in January 2020, by a drone, near Baghdad International Airport.
The Iraqi Prime Minister, Mustafa Al-Kazemi, continued to strengthen Iraq’s regional role, by hosting Baghdad a series of talks between the two fierce regional rivals, Iran and Saudi Arabia, to prepare the atmosphere between them for the beginning of a new breakthrough for which Iraq, and Al-Kazemi in particular, will be credited.
A source close to the Iraqi Prime Minister, Mustafa Al-Kazemi, told “Arabi Post”: “Al-Kazemi enjoys a very good relationship with the Saudi Crown Prince, Prince Muhammad bin Salman. This relationship gave Al-Kazemi a strong reason to mediate between Riyadh and Tehran, the mediation that the two countries welcomed.” .
And the same source adds, saying: “The Iranian-Saudi talks gave Al-Kazemi weight with the Iranians, and through them he was able to gain their trust to some extent, after they were forced to agree to his assumption of the position.”
Mustafa Al-Kazemi crowned his role in drawing a new regional image for Iraq under his presidency of the Council of Ministers, by holding the Baghdad Summit Conference last August, which aimed to make Iraq a station for strategic cooperation between the countries of the region.
By taking a look at the leaders who attended the Baghdad summit, such as Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Jordan’s King Abdullah, and French President Emmanuel Macron, who is the only representative of Europe at this summit, we can deduce the extent of regional and international support that Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi was able to extract. to pave his way for a second term.
A source close to Al-Kazemi told “Arabi Post”: “In the beginning, when Mr. Al-Kazemi raised the issue of the Baghdad summit, it was difficult to ascertain the presence of Prince Muhammad bin Salman, or the new Iranian president, Ibrahim Raisi, but Al-Kazemi through his good contacts and relations. With all regional parties, he was able to secure the presence of high-level representation of the Gulf states and Iran.”
It is worth noting that the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and the Saudi and Iranian foreign ministers attended.
According to a source close to Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi, the aforementioned figures, until very close to the summit, did not confirm their attendance, saying: “There was great concern about the failure of this summit, but in the end Al-Kazemi was able to make it a decent success. The last moments, a number of Arab leaders decided to attend, and thus Al-Kazemi was able to show their support for him in front of everyone.
It is no secret to anyone that the position of prime minister in Iraq, which belongs to the Shiite component, as it has been known since 2005, must be approved by Washington and Tehran. Al-Kazemi enjoys a good relationship with the US administration headed by Joe Biden.
A prominent Iraqi Shiite politician close to Hadi al-Amiri, head of the Badr Organization and head of the Fatah Alliance in the Iraqi parliament, says: “Al-Kazemi is the loyal friend of the Americans, since his first day and he has implemented all their demands in Iraq, even when the armed factions pressured him to remove the American forces from Iraq, he carried out The desire of the Americans, which contradicts the demand of the factions.”
From the first day he took office, Mustafa Al-Kazemi entered into a major struggle with the Shiite armed factions in Iraq, which are loyal to Iran, in order to remove the American forces from Iraq. It should be noted that the Prime Minister can legally and directly request this matter from the United States. The former Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, did the same in 2011, and then US President Barack Obama agreed to withdraw a large number of American forces in Iraq, Then part of these forces returned in 2014, to help Iraq in its war against the Islamic State.
A paramilitary commander in the Iraqi Hezbollah Brigades, one of the largest and most important armed Shiite factions close to Iran in Iraq, told Arab Post: “Initially, Al-Kazemi refused Washington’s demand to withdraw its forces, hoping to gain American support for him, and then when it intensified Noose on him internally, he said that he formed a coordination committee with the United States to schedule the American withdrawal from Iraq, then now nothing, and the Americans did not withdraw.”
According to the previous source, the Iraqi armed factions close to Iran, and often anti-Kazemi, see that Al-Kazemi is using the American withdrawal card from the country, to win a second term, saying: “Al-Kazemi says that he agreed with the Americans to withdraw by the end of this year. Maneuvering to win a second term, in my personal opinion, if he can guarantee that the withdrawal will actually happen by the end of the year, why not? (Give him the approval of the armed factions for a second term).”
As for Iranian support for Mustafa Al-Kazemi, to obtain a second term, it can be said that he obtained tacit approval, with a sudden and unplanned visit in advance. Al-Kazemi visited Tehran at a very sensitive time, weeks before the Iraqi parliamentary elections, many in Iran explained And Iraq, the reason for the visit was to secure the support of the Iranian Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to secure a second term for Al-Kazemi.
As a result of these explanations and gossip, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei did not want to get involved in an embarrassing situation, and he has not previously directly supported any Iraqi prime minister, nor does he declare his support directly and openly for any presidential candidate within the Islamic Republic.
Therefore, Al-Kazemi did not have the opportunity to meet Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, unusually, but he did obtain a handwritten letter from the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic, according to a source close to Khamenei’s office, who had spoken to “Arabi Post” in a previous report.
An Iranian security official, who is close to the senior leadership in Tehran, told Arab Post: “Al-Kazemi is not the Iranian leadership’s favorite prime minister, but we can say frankly that he managed to achieve some important gains for Iran, foremost of which are talks with Saudi Arabia.”
On the reason why Mustafa Al-Kazemi was not a candidate for prime minister, preferred by the Islamic Republic, the prominent Iranian official said in his interview with “Arabi Post”: “Tehran believes that Al-Kazemi has not achieved the most important goal, which is to expel the Americans from Iraq, and that he is in constant conflict with the Iraqi resistance factions. “.
According to the same source, the Islamic Republic of Iran had preferred the Iraqi judiciary chief, Faiq Zaidan, to take over the position of Iraqi Prime Minister, saying: “Mr. Zaidan enjoys good relations with the Shiite political elites, but we cannot be certain that he can obtain full support from all currents.” Shiite politics.
Until now, and even a few days before the parliamentary elections in Iraq, the issue of Mustafa Al-Kazemi obtaining a second term, among the Shiite political and armed elites, has not been resolved, and despite the exceptional role that Al-Kazemi played, unlike his predecessors, which qualifies him to win a second term, he The results of the elections, scheduled for October 10, are likely to bring many surprises that could change the balance of power in the new parliament.