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Al-Kadhimi’s Government Challenges

Al-Mada, Iraq, May 14

Following the swearing-in of Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi’s government, the Iraqi street breathed a sigh of relief, hoping that the newly-installed government would finally find effective solutions to current issues on the Iraqi political agenda, especially those neglected by previous governments. The hope is that Kadhimi’s government will finally establish stability and launch reforms in all parts of the state, clearing the animosity and strained relations among various political blocs, groups and sects. Surely, Kadhimi is facing a handful of challenges. His government must not only mend the shattered economy, it must confront an awakening Islamic State that is beginning to lift its head again. Then there’s the coronavirus crisis, which must be contained and managed in a quick and effective manner. To make matters more challenging, Kadhimi’s government is still contested. While it won parliamentary approval and succeeded in appointing the ministers of interior, defense, finance and electricity, candidates for other ministries were rejected. Consequently, he will start his term without a full government. The opposition forces that rejected these ministers will not stop there. They will do anything they can to throw sticks in the wheels of the new government, culminating in an eventual confrontation between the new prime minister and his opposing political forces, in which case he either consolidates power or abdicates his position. These future developments will depend to a large extent on the aspirations of Kadhimi, who has extensive political experience. He will either accept his role as a transitional technocrat whose sole role is to prepare the country for elections, or he will take upon himself the role of an independent political leader who is ready to contribute to Iraq’s political rehabilitation. The political forces overseeing Iraq since the collapse of Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship have all demonstrated their failure in managing the country, maintaining its security, building a solid economy and enhancing the unity of our people. These individuals are not likely to make Kadhimi’s life any easier. – Faleh Al-Hamrani (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)