Will Nouri al-Maliki Return to Iraq?

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Mohammad Ali Asgari
Middle East Analyst

Developments in Arab countries have taken a mind-blowing turn: Egypt’s return to President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, return of Yemen to former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh (an ongoing project), return of Libya to General Khalifa Haftar (also an ongoing project) and now return of Iraq to former prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki. Aren’t these changes mind-blowing?

It is not clear what path has been taken by political developments in this country. Which domestic, regional and international factors have a more powerful effect on these developments? Finally, toward what end does all this turmoil move? How many more wars are in the offing? And what future is imaginable for the region in view of all this war, homelessness, devastation and paralyzing terrorist incidents in addition to political turmoil, poverty, economic deprivation and plummeting oil prices? Will this wildfire spread to our country as well?

After Iraq’s young and adventurist cleric, Muqtada Sadr, started this turmoil two months ago, the Iraqi parliament and government, which had already lost efficiency to a great extent, are now practically dead and nobody knows what to do with them. It is a government, which has not been, and will not be, able to implement reforms and a parliament, which had turned into a venue for all kinds of groups, sects as well as famous and infamous political parties whose entire power and energy was spent on political jockeying. Now what miracle the country’s ailing president, who is residing in the Iraqi Kurdistan, is expected to work? When presence of Daesh, which is still in control of a large part of Iraqi territory and is announcing that presence through daily explosions, as well as the lame duck status of US President Barack Obama and Washington’s unwillingness to get involved in Iraq are added to the above picture, it will give us a full image of what Baghdad currently looks like. Is there any doubt that the sole way to put an end to this chaotic situation is return of a powerful figure like former Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, or somebody similar to him?

The statement, which was issued last Sunday by al-Maliki following the ongoing turmoil, conveyed no other message. In his statement, he warned about “unstable political and security conditions” and the “great risk” to everybody, telling the nation “not to surrender” while mentioning “powerful government” as the sole way out of the current situation. Of course, it would be naïve to think that all this turmoil has been designed to make Iraqis turn to him again, but current situation bring this possibility to mind. He is the person who managed to unite Shias, who are now divided in several groups, and struck fear in the hearts of Sunnis, who did not dare to say a thing. He also knew how to deal with Kurds. However, isn’t Maliki the same old Maliki? And don’t Iraqi people blame him and his erroneous policies for a large part of the existing problems? Didn’t even Shias left him alone and replaced him with his intimate friend, Haider al-Abadi, who is more lenient, more refined and a more democratic figure? So, what does this mean?

The surprising point is that while in Egypt the al-Azhar University paved the way for el-Sisi to rise to power and reinstate Mubarak’s past regime without any change, and while in Tunisia, it was the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated al-Nahda Movement that played a similar role, now in Iraq, Muqtada Sadr’s movement shoulders this duty. He is the same Muqtada Sadr, who was among the staunchest opponents of Maliki and 10 years ago, his group laid a siege to Sadr City until he was forced, through mediation by foreign sides, to disband his al-Mahdi Army. Now, what has made Sadr (especially after his recent visit to Lebanon) to serve his past opponent?

Is Iraq like Egypt and Tunisia where such a scenario could be implemented? How such scenarios can be implemented in a fragmented country which has found itself on the brink of disintegration many times? Will this situation not lead to a new round of war and massacre and sectarian score settling? All told, the future of Iraq seems to be quite bleak these days.

Key WordsNouri al-Maliki, Return, Iraq, Turmoil, Muqtada Sadr, Political Parties, Daesh, Barack Obama, Haider al-Abadi, Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Disintegration, Asgari

Source: Shargh Daily
Translated By: Iran Review.Org

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