Who Wants Iraq's Premier Kadhimi to Go Away?

Published November 9th, 2021 - 09:31 GMT
Mustapha Al Kadhimi
Iraq's premier Mustapha Al Kadhimi (AFP File Photo)

The recent attempt on the life of the Prime Minister Mustapha Al Kadhimi must surely mean the tempo of violence in Iraqi is increasing notches upward. The murderous step has been taken with total disregard for the Iraqi state, government and its institutions. To the cynics this might be nothing knew but an attack on the Prime Minister could be something different.


The dare element on the premier, a top figure in Iraqi politics, who is considered to be "independent" represents a major worry for the Iraqi authorities and a flagrant signal that their power can be compromised any time. The attack on Kadhimi means that the idea of a modicum of stability is a pipe-dream. It means Iraqi chaos continuing, about nearly 20 years since the removal of Saddam Hussein in 2003 by American firepower. But that came with a price that is not ending.


 Regardless of who is behind the attack that could have been even bloodier and devastating because of the three explosive-laden drones, two of which brought down before they reached the home of the Iraqi Prime Minister in Baghdad's fortified "Green Zone", nevertheless the physical and moral damage and blows had been done to an Iraq that continues to reel under a social, political and economic malaise and sees no light at the end of the tunnel except for more mayhem and bloodshed. 


Although no one as yet claimed responsibility for the attack with Iraqi security forces promising a full investigation to bring the perpetrators to justice, the finger-pointing is quickly being made at the so-called Popular Mobilization Units or Al Hashd Al Shaabi in Arabic consisting a rag-tag militias and factions who are allied to Iran and mainly supported by Tehran.


It doesn't mean of course, it was they who made the attacks on the residence of the prime minister - who came to office in May 2020 - but evidence suggest they are angry with the way Iraqi politics has developed, especially since the 10 October polls to the country's 329-member parliament which saw their seats fall from 48 to a mere 14, a drastic and negligible drop from the 2018 poll results. A crunch hit them!


Many analysts have argued they - The Fatah Alliance - are calling for blood. They don't believe the results which they deemed to be falsified and are calling for recount. It is however, doubtful, whether this would satisfy them. To make their point, they have been "camping" outside the "Green Zone" for everyone to take notice of their distaste given the fact that the area is occupied by foreign embassies as well as international NGOs. 


Up till now their leaders have denounced the attack and have tried to disassociate themselves from it despite the fact that few days before there were major clashes between them and the Iraqi police and security forces in which one protester died and up to 125 injured in one Friday demonstration. Most of those injured were members of the security forces however. 


This is the backdrop to the attack on the prime minister in which he escaped unharmed. Regardless however, Hashd leaders sought to play a cool hand. They were dismayed with the way the police dealt with the them. A leader of one of the militias - Asaib Ahl al-Haq - named Qais Al-Khazali personally blamed the premier for the clashes and what he termed as the "fraud" in the parliamentary elections. 


However, Al Khazali rejected the claim that they, the militias may have been involved in the assassination attempt. More so, one of the leaders of Al Hashd, Abu Ali Al Askari, representing Kataib Hezbollah said no leader in the militias want to lose a drone on the residence of the prime minister and there would certainly be less costly ways of doing that. 


But as the deafening silence continues Kadhimi warns he knows exactly who the perpetrators might be and his security men would get to them them. Pictures of the attack show six of his body guards were injured, including light injuries by the prime minister. 

The attack was denounced immediately from world leaders including the Arab world and internationally with the first being by US president Joe Biden. While there was much finger pointing at Iran the fact of the matter is that politicians in Tehran condemned it immediately. Iran couldn't have been involved largely because Iraq, and under the direct auspices of Kadhimi, had been and continue to play the role of mediator between Iran and Saudi Arabia. 


The Saudi and the Iranians have been meeting in Iraq to reach a rapprochement with a view to establishing diplomatic relations and putting an end to the war in Yemen. The meetings which started last April have been in "fits-and-starts" but at least they are continuing. The fifth round of discussion may well begin soon and it is thanks to Khadimi and Iraq for that. Hence, it is mind-boggling to suggest Iran could be behind the attack for its like shooting oneself in the foot. 


As well, to say Iran maybe behind the attack even under their proxies might be facile to say the least. One culprit that continues to lurk in the background, and which no one is talking about however, is ISIS. Operatives from the Islamic State, a sad name if ever there was one, could be possible for the attack. After all, their deadly hand has risen in the past few years despite the fact they were supposed to be finished in Iraq and Syria from back in 2018.


However, they have carried periodic deadly attacks since then, mainly in the north of the country but have not really ventured towards the capital largely because of the security forces and the militias. After all  their "pockets of resistance" still continue and at times in stiff, sharp blows.


So, its take your pick. Despite speculation one thing is certain on investigation on the life of the prime minister must be total and carried out seriously to get to the bottom of who is behind the latest attack. 


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