Mustafa Al-Kazemi, the third attempt to form a new government in Iraq


Iraqi President Barham Salih announced yesterday that Intelligence Chief Mustafa Al-Kazemi was appointed to form a new government, in a third attempt to replace Adel Abdul-Mahdi and get the country out of a political recession deepened by signs of an economic crisis in the second largest oil producing country in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) with price collapse Global raw.

Saleh said in a republican decree on the ninth of April, that “due to the apology of the commissioner, Mr. Adnan Al-Zarfi,” Mr. Mustafa Al-Kazimi was assigned to form the government. In a statement, Al-Zorfi announced that he apologized for “internal and external reasons,” affirming his readiness for the upcoming early elections.

Al-Kazemi is not a new figure on the table of Iraqi politics. The name of the head of the Iraqi intelligence service has been mentioned since the resignation of the government of Abdul-Mahdi last December, and even before that an alternative to former Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in 2018.

Al-Kazemi’s name (53 years) was used in the corridors of the religious authority in Najaf, as a possible option for the leadership of the post-Islamic State (ISIS) period in Iraq.

However, several factors then prevented him from achieving consensus, especially with his description by some Shiite parties as “the man of the United States” in Iraq.

About a month ago, an Iraqi faction close to Iran accused al-Kazimi of his involvement in the assassination of the commander of the “Quds Force” in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, General Qassem Soleimani, and the deputy head of the Popular Mobilization Committee, which was carried out by Washington in Baghdad.


But that “individual” accusation, as described by a source in the PMF, did not win the “axis of resistance”. A source close to the Lebanese “Hezbollah” told “Agence France-Presse” that “Al-Kazemi recently visited Beirut to solve this obstacle, and the result was positive.”

The chances of the Prime Minister-designate were reinforced by the recent visit of the new “Quds Force” commander, General Ismail Qaiani, to Iraq last week.

Qaani met the majority of the pillars of the Iraqi Shiite political house, and he assured everyone that the Iranian file in Iran is in the hands of the “Quds Force” and nobody else.

According to the source, there is an Iranian tendency to calm in Iraq within the framework of the settlement processes taking place in the region, and Al-Kazemi is one of the faces of this settlement.

A high-ranking political source pointed out that the designation of Al-Kazemi “comes as a benefit to Iraq, especially in this difficult economic stage, and to ensure the renewal of Baghdad’s exception to the US sanctions imposed on Iran.”

A guide to compatibility was the attendance of Shiite hawks at the ceremony of commissioning Al-Kazemi in the Peace Palace in central Baghdad: the leader of the Badr Organization Hadi al-Amiri, the head of the Popular Mobilization Committee, Faleh al-Fayyad, former Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, and Shiite cleric Ammar al-Hakim.

Also present was Speaker of Parliament Muhammad Al-Halbousi, and the United Nations Representative in Iraq, Jenin Hennes-Blackshart.

So, it appears that there is a regional consensus on Al-Kazemi, who now has three pillars of power in Iraq.

The third one fixed?

The first of these pillars is a strong relationship with the United States, which he strengthened in cooperation during the stage of the fight against ISIS, leading to the elimination of its leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.

The second is to breathe life and renew the line of communication with Iran, which has invested this by placing its confidence in Al-Kazemi as a figure capable of defusing the crisis in the country.

And the third pillar is more than a good relationship with the Saudi neighbor, especially since there is a friendship relationship that links Al-Kazemi, Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, according to political sources.

Since the abdication of the Abdul-Mahdi government last December, Iraq has lived in a political recession. Al-Kazemi became the third attempt to form a new government since the beginning of 2020, after al-Zarfi’s apology, and Muhammad Tawfiq Allawi accepted it.

Al-Kazemi now has until May 9th, to present his cabinet.

But a source close to the decision circle indicated that this stage “passed”, noting that “the government and its program will be ready within three weeks, and the focus now is in the stage of talking about the government’s role in the future of Iraq.”

But this does not mean that the challenges faced by his predecessors will not continue. Al-Kazemi continues to face the obstacle of calling for the American withdrawal from the country and facing the epidemic of Covid 19, due to the decline in Iraqi oil revenues by about half in March.

Some skeptics in Iraq believe that Al-Kazemi is only a link in the “series of political stalling” to keep Abdul-Mahdi in office.


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