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Iraqi Gov. Faces Political Crisis

On April 9, 2020, Adnan al-Zurfi, the Iraqi PM-Designate, withdrew his name from consideration after facing bitter opposition from Shia factions in parliament with close ties to Iran. Less than ten hours later, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, Iraq's current National Intelligence head, was nominated to form a government.

Iraq has been without a functioning government since December 2019, when mass protests against corruption rocked the nation and Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi resigned. Since then, sectarianism has disrupted the government's ability to govern, with an Iranian faction on one side and Western faction on another.

Mustafa al-Khadhimi is certainly an interesting nomination, but perhaps one of the more effective choices given the political crisis. In 1985, he fled Saddam Hussain's rule, settling in the United Kingdom. Khadhimi holds a Bachelor of Arts in Law, and worked as editor of The Weekly, an Iraqi journal. In the aftermath of the Iraq War in 2003, he moved back to Iraq, notably becoming director of Iraq's intelligence service in 2016. Although he has stayed out of politics, he is reportedly a shrewd man, with contacts in both the Iranian and Western camps.

Although Kataeb Hezbollah, a militia in the Popular Mobilisation Forces, accused him of complicity in the assassination of Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani by US forces, Iran reportedly has a favorable view on his nomination. Being able to work with both the United States and Iran while retaining a degree of independence will be key to his success in the nomination process.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the United States Army, Department of Defense, or the United States Government.


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