Firas Elias | 03 Jun 2020
On 7 April 2020, US Secretary of State Mark Pompeo said in a statement that his country “has proposed holding a strategic dialogue with the government of Iraq to be held in middle of June” and that “it will be the first review of all issues pertaining to the US-Iraq relations, including the future presence of US forces in the country”. This call for dialogue between Baghdad and Washington comes in the context of the growing tension on Iraqi territory between the US on the one hand, and Iran and its proxy Iraqi loyalist factions on the other, and after the Iraqi House of Representatives issued, early January 2020, a decision committing the government to evacuating foreign troops from Iraq in response to the assassination by the US of the Iranian Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani and the deputy chairman of the Popular Mobilization Committee (al-Hashed al-Shaabi) Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. The call also comes amidst the suffering by Iraq from an overall health, social and economic crisis as a result of the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic and the likelihood of the collapse of the Iraqi economy as a result of the decline in oil revenues. This drives the governments of the two countries to “work together to stop any reversal of the gains . . . made in . . . efforts to defeat ISIS and stabilize the country”.
EPC | 28 May 2020
With the major lockdown of living and economic fields due to the spread of the COVID-19 virus, experts expect a major economic recession in the world that would be the worst since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Iraq is one of the countries of the world that suffer from the implications of both the health and economic crises because of the corona epidemic, in addition to the financial crisis as a result of the fall in oil prices. All this coincides with exceptional conditions experienced by Iraq since the outbreak of protests at the beginning of October 2019 and the escalation of the US-Iranian conflict on its soil last year. This paper sheds light on the dimensions of the economic crisis experienced by Iraq, and discusses the options before the new Kadhimi government to counter this challenge.
EPC | 24 Mar 2020
Although according to official figures and based on monitoring the media and following social media websites, Iraq continues to rank low on the list of countries affected by the coronavirus, compared to Iran, one of the epicentres for the spread of the virus, and considering the heavy transport and human movement traffic with it, all circumstances are fit to transform that global threat into an existential threat for the Iraqi people, no less dangerous than the overrun by ISIS of large areas of the country in 2014.
EPC | 20 Feb 2020
Shortly before its resignation at the end of November 2019 amid wide protest movement, the government of former Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi signed a framework agreement for economic cooperation with China that envisages the financing of major infrastructure projects from Iraqi oil exported to China. The agreement stirred a political, economic and even popular debate triggered by the government's failure to present the deal to the parliament and keeping some of its clauses untold. This paper sheds light on the context of the agreement, reviews some of its known clauses, addresses political positions thereon, and discusses claims that the deal actually serves Iran.
EPC | 17 Feb 2020
In a repeat of Adel Abdul-Mahdi's elevation to Iraq's premiership, the leader of the Sadrist Movement, Muqtada al-Sadr, and the leader of the pro-Iran Al-Fatah Alliance, Hadi al-Amiri, agreed to nominate former Minister of Communications Muhammad Tawfiq Allawi as a new prime minister. Once Allawi was officially designated by the President of the Republic, Barham Salih, on February 1, 2020, the demonstrations intensified in Baghdad and a number of southern provinces denouncing their ally's, Al-Sadr, departure from the protesters' conditions that the next prime minister must be independent, does not hold two nationalities and has not been a member of any previous government.
EPC | 10 Feb 2020
Iraq's Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) has now to grapple with enormous challenges following the killing of its commander Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis in a US drone strike in early January this year. Al-Muhandis was the mastermind and chief architect of all of Iran's loyal factions, which have been buckling under mounting U.S. pressure. The US designated the PMF a terrorist organization and slapped major financial sanctions targeting a significant number of its leaders. This is in addition to U.S. and Israeli drone strikes against the group's camps and missile depots.
EPC | 27 Jan 2020
The fourth general conference held by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) was an important event for both Kurdistan and wider Iraq, as it was the first such conference held since the death of party leader Jalal Talabani. This paper examines the outcomes of the conference and their impact on the future of the party and its role in politics.
EPC | 26 Jan 2020
On January 3, 2020, the United States assassinated the head of the Iranian Quds Force, General Qasem Soleimani, and the deputy chief of the Popular Mobilization Forces, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. This operation followed a series of escalating incidents between the two sides. This paper will examine the repercussions of the recent escalations between Iran and the United States in Iraq and the possible conflict scenarios between the two sides that may emerge in the coming months.
EPC | 07 Jan 2020
Political leaders in the Kurdistan Region are highly concerned by the direction that the Iraqi protest movement has taken, not only because of the possibility that the protests may spread to the region, where living conditions are no different from those in the central and southern governorates, but also because of the possible changes to the Iraqi political system that could have an impact on the status of the region and threaten the foundations of its undeclared independence from the federal government.
EPC | 08 Dec 2019
On October 28, 2019, the Iraqi parliament decided to form a committee to amend the constitution, as part of a set of other decisions agreed between the main political blocs in order to absorb the massive public anger expressed by the continuing popular protests in the central and southern governorates, but there are strong doubts that the committee can accomplish The draft amendment in four months, as well as doubts about the seriousness of the ruling political class in amending the constitution to achieve the protesters' demands for political reform.
EPC | 05 Dec 2019
The popular movement in Iraq continues to maintain momentum and engage various segments of society, despite a campaign of violent repression and widespread intimidation involving the assassination, kidnapping and arrest of activists, a media crackdown and internet blackouts, culminating in the Nasiriyah massacre and the outbreak of conflict in Najaf which tipped the country onto the brink. This paper will shed a light on the developments on the ground in Iraq and their political repercussions, as well as the Government’s remaining options for tackling the stubborn anger on the country’s streets.