EPC | 03 Aug 2020
On 21 July 2020, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi paid a visit to Iran. This was his first external visit after he took office. It also came after he delayed a scheduled visit to Saudi Arabia due to the hospitalization of the Saudi King Salman Bin Abdulaziz. Kadhimi’s visit to Tehran comes in the context of an Iraqi political dynamism that is different from before. This dynamism focuses on establishing Iraqi sovereignty and demanding that Iran control its loyal factions in Iraq. In return, Iraq would continue to play the role of Iran’s economic lungs.
EPC | 27 Jul 2020
Once again, the controversy returns in the Iraqi Sunni community regarding the religious authorities. This time the cause is the replacement of the President of the Sunni Endowment Office (or Diwan, SEO) and the attempt to designate a new name to run the Sect’s endowments and associated investment projects. The disagreement between the relevant parties reflects the ongoing conflict between the secular and Brotherhood Sunni powers in Iraq.
EPC | 26 Jul 2020
The factions of the Popular Mobilization Committee (PMC, al-Hashed al-Shaabi) constitute a real challenge to the new Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi who had pledged in his government programme to establish the state sovereignty, limit the possession of weapons to the state, and organize the Iraqi military establishment in an effective and serious manner. Kadhimi’s promises came amidst a general feeling of depression and mistrust among the Iraqi people as a result of the repeated promises that were offered without being met by the former governments. This paper sheds light on the conflict of wills between the Kadhimi government and the PMC factions.
EPC | 01 Jul 2020
Immediately after the government of Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi won the confidence of the Iraqi Council of Representatives (CoP) on 7 May 2020, the political blocs initiated consultations to amend the law of general elections approved in late 2019 amidst broad opposition by Kurdish and Sunni blocs. At the same time, some political powers opposed the method used by the Independent High Electoral Commission to form its offices, demanding that the Commission change that method and that the Commission Board be re-structured. This also coincided with the emergence of a crisis between the Supreme Judicial Council and the Federal Supreme Court. This paper discusses the differences regarding the amendment of the electoral law and the composition of the High Commission in addition to the crisis of the Federal Supreme Court and the impact of all this on the next parliamentary elections.
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.