By Ramin Hossein Abadian

Countdown for the establishment of new Iraqi cabinet

February 26, 2020 - 11:13

TEHRAN - A countdown for the formation of a new Iraqi cabinet has begun. Iraqi parliamentarians were due to hold a meeting to discuss the cabinet formation and vote of confidence on Monday, but it did not happen.

In this regard, Iraqi parliament sources said that an extraordinary session to examine the cabinet of Iraqi Prime Minister-designate Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi is postponed to Wednesday. The first deputy speaker of the parliament, Hassan Karim al-Kaabi, announced that the extraordinary session of the Iraqi parliament will be held on Wednesday instead of Monday to discuss Allawi's efforts to form a new government. 

Head of the Parliamentary Bloc Hisham Al-Suhail called on the Prime Minister-designate to restore dialogue with the components of society and not to rush until reaching an agreement that satisfies all parties.

However, the latest news and reports on the process of proposing cabinet to the parliament indicate that most cabinet members entered the final phase and the prime minister-designate is ready to submit the lineup to the parliamentarians. 

Accordingly, it is expected that the process of presenting the new Iraqi cabinet to parliament will be finished on Wednesday, and political disputes over the nomination of some as ministers will end.

Meanwhile, foreign political pressure on Baghdad to prolong the presentation of new cabinet cannot be ignored. The U.S. has exerted political pressures on Allawi to obstruct the establishment of new government.

About two weeks ago, the U.S. has agreed to extend a waiver for Iraq to import Iranian energy supplies for 45 days, while Washington has repeatedly extended the exemption for periods of 90 or 120 days. 

By this action, the U.S. is in fact applying political pressure on Allawi to disrupt the formation of new government and make him distance from the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Another factor that has obstructed the formation of new cabinet is political disputes. In this connection, Iraqi activist Alaa al-Khatib, a person close to the prime minister-designate, said that The Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP), led by Mullah Masrour Barzani, insisted on the necessity of picking its nominees for new cabinet’s ministers, which was rejected by Allawi. Undoubtedly, if efforts for having a share in the government continues, the process of forming a cabinet will be further delayed, an issue that is desired by no Iraqi group.

Another point is that the parliamentarians stated that they will grant the new cabinet a vote of confidence provided it guarantees the withdrawal of foreign troops, especially Americans, from Iraq. 

Iraqi parliamentarians emphasized that the U.S. military presence is now Iraq's biggest security challenge, so their withdrawal will prevent any excuse for foreign interference in the affairs of the country. On this basis, it can be said that the most important mission of Allawi and the new cabinet will be to provide a proper mechanism for implementing the Parliament's resolution on the expulsion of U.S. troops.

Allawi, of course, also faces challenges in this regard, including support by the domestic groups in Iraq for the survival of American terrorists in the country. For example, on February 14, 2020, Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Masrour Barzani met with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Following the meeting, the Iraqi Kurdistan Prime Minister's Office issued a statement, saying that Barzani has emphasized the need for the presence of U.S. troops within the framework of an international anti-terrorism coalition. This is while the parliament has earlier passed a resolution on expelling U.S. troops, with many calling for their immediate withdrawal.

It can be concluded that some domestic positions in supporting the survival of American terrorists in Iraq’s territory are the most significant challenges for Allawi and its cabinet. However, given the decisive stance of the Iraqi religious authority, parliament and people, the withdrawal of U.S. troops has become inevitable and no one can stop it from happening.


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