Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Saturday, July 20th, 2019

Four Questions on Basra and Iraq’s Political Stakes

Four Questions on Basra and  Iraq’s Political Stakes

BAGHDAD - Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi faces calls to quit after deadly protests in southern Basra crushed his fledgling, and vital, alliance with a popular Shiite cleric.
With the new parliament set to meet Saturday to swear in its speaker the political stakes are high, and experts say Abadi’s position highlights Iraq’s dilemma, caught between its two allies, bitter foes Iran and the United States.
Here are four questions and answers to help unravel the intricacies of Iraqi politics.
After years of devastating war against jihadists, anger over rampant corruption, unemployment and decrepit public services boiled over last week into protests in oil-rich Basra, which left 12 dead.
Late Friday demonstrators also set the Iranian consulate in Basra on fire, shouting “Iran out”, referring to the city’s influential neighbour.
Amid the violence, Iraqi Shiite firebrand cleric, Moqtada Sadr, whose bloc won the May elections, distanced himself from his one-time ally Abadi, withdrawing from an alliance reached less then two weeks ago.
On Saturday, a rival alliance of pro-Iranian former paramilitary fighters did a swift U-turn, vowing to now work with Sadr to form a new government to exclude Abadi. (AFP)