Iraq seeks to build economic and political cooperation with Egypt and Jordan, a project that has been obstructed several times over the past few years. The tripartite summit, which was held on 25 August 2020 between Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and King Abdullah of Jordan, comes within this endeavour, which also comes in light of a geopolitical situation that includes challenges for those countries and for the entire Arab region.
Popular protests continue to constitute one of the challenges facing Mustafa al-Kadhimi's government in Iraq. Although the protests had stopped in March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, they have been resumed on a limited scale since May 2020 to pressure Kadhimi to fulfill his pledges. They are expected to return to their previous effectiveness due to the escalation of the economic and financial crisis, and the continued deterioration of the health and services situation, especially the electric power amidst the hot summer season.
Although three years have passed since the end of the war against Da’esh and the liberation of areas of Iraq formerly under the group’s control, political interference has prevented the return of more than one million displaced citizens – primarily Sunni, Yazidi, and Christian Arabs – who fled their homes in response to the destruction caused by military operations.
In this article, we will discuss the real causes preventing the return of these populations, identify who benefits from the existence of refugee camps and from opportunities to exploit the crisis in affected cities, and examine the efforts made thus far by Mustafa al-Kadhimi’s government to resolve the situation.
Intensive negotiations are reported to be underway between Baghdad and Erbil to develop a comprehensive agreement on the pending differences over the past decade, including oil, the budget, and the deployment of Peshmerga forces in the disputed areas. The negotiations are held with the support of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) headed by Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, but are facing several difficulties in terms of the current Iraqi complications, which were exacerbated by the announcement by Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi that early elections would be held in June 2021.
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi took the political elites by surprise on July 31, 2020 when he announced that early elections would be held on June 6, 2021. He has since been leading a hidden political battle with the largest parliamentary blocs over the early elections.
This paper sheds light on al-Kadhimi’s motives for bringing the elections forward, the stances of the political elites regarding the move, and the prospects for the early elections.
The visit of Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi to the US has gained great importance in the context of Iraqi-US relations, given the nature of the major changes taking place in the region and Iraq’s position within the framework of those shifts, as well as Iraq’s position in the US strategic perception and its role in the regional and international balances of power. At a time when the manifestations of the US-Iranian conflict in the region are increasing, Iraq emerges as the hottest arena of this conflict and its repercussions. Besides, the continued state of political instability in Iraq is linked to the continuation of the Iranian role in Iraq and the US continuous efforts to reduce that role and limit its effects.
Iraq today finds itself at a crossroads, beset by challenges and life-and-death decisions. The public protests that erupted in early October 2019 revealed a number of deep structural crises in the country, growing public resentment vis-à-vis the political elite, and an expanding rift between these political forces and the Iraqi street. They have ignited a conflict that has opened the door to all manner of possible future scenarios for the nation.
Following the defeat of ISIS in late 2017, Iraq has entered a new era. A number of key internal and external factors will determine Iraq’s future in this new epoch and will have a significant bearing on the security and stability of the entire region.
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