In Iraq, Mustafa al-Kahdimi is a daily disappointment. That didn't change on Saturday as he trended on social media. MIDDLE EAST MONITOR reports:
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi
has sparked controversy on social media platforms after he appeared in
photos painting the Iraqi flag upside down on kids' faces at an Iftar
feast organised for orphans in the Green Zone Palace, Baghdad.
appeared in photos playing with children in the garden of the
government palace. Social media users shared photos and videos of the
prime minister painting the Iraqi flag upside down, launching a wave of
criticism on social media platforms.
Twitter activist Hamad Al-Maliki published a picture of Al-Kadhimi and
captioned it: "The flag of the country has different colours; red is
above and black is below. Thank you for your love for the children of
your country whose flag you do not know how to paint. I pray sincerely
that this picture is photoshopped, otherwise this is a scandal."
Twitter user Ali Al-Kadhimi posted: "A prime minister who does not know
the order of colours of the flag of the country he rules."
Heaven King Tweets:
Mustafa was supposed to be the great hope for Iraq. Before him it was Hayder al-Abadi that was the great hope. There's always some US and Iran puppet that's going to be the one to deliver but like the press promoted forever 'turned corner,' nothing ever changes.
Slowly, people outside of Iraq are catching on to Mustafa's failures. Heyrsh Abdulrahman (JERUSALEM POST) reports:
Iraq as a democracy has largely failed. The Iraq
war was seen as a turning point that would usher in an era of freedom
and opportunities. That thesis proved wrong. Iraq has since seen
instability and chaos with little peace and calm to offer its citizens.
It has suffered huge problems, like the emergence of ISIS, and came to a
major reason for all this is the failure of the political leaders to
run the country effectively. Celebrated that it would turn into a
functioning democracy, it has fared very poorly. The failure may be
attributed to the dominant political factions currently having the
political clout to run the country’s affairs. An even bigger quagmire is
the support of consecutive US administrations for the Iraqi ruling
[. . .]
The Biden administration now has a choice to make. It has a choice:
Work with the leaders who have failed consistently in Iraq and the
Kurdish region, KRI, or revise American policy.
starters, the Biden administration should make clear that the US isn’t
going to tolerate the actions of the current political establishments in
Iraq, including the KRI. One way of sending this message is the
application of the Magnitsky Act. Employing this act, the US can apply
sanctions on foreign officials. The Biden administration should use this
tool to sanction not only tiny political figures but also top political
personalities. The US should strengthen the formal political
institutions to the extent that they can bring influential figures to
account for their actions, without suffering negative repercussions when
doing so. Biden’s administration should work with these formal
institutions to lessen and gradually end the influence of proxy
current Iraqi leaders have failed miserably. The dominant parties in the
KRI have taken control of the region and have stifled every other
opposition. It is the right time to make these leaders accountable, with
American help. New leaders should be appointed who are dedicated to
serving their people, not pursuing their interests or serving their
patrons. They should be given the platform and whatever support
Washington can give them. By showing its teeth to the current political
elites, the US could give sincere leaders the space they need to emerge.
it depends on the current administration’s willingness to act on this
call to duty. If the Biden administration is willing to do it, it can do
it. Iraq has been absent from Biden’s policy speeches. But it would be a
grave mistake to forego the problems of Iraq. It is time that the US
prioritized Iraq as a significant foreign policy challenge.
As Mustafa fumbles and tumbles, cleric Moqtada al-Sadr hopes to profit. The one-time Shia leader continues to command his cult that has settled on living in slums and not making demands on their supposed leader. But that's all he's had of late. He was mocked and ridiculed by Shi'ites throughout 2020. Despite that, he sees an opportunity. Though the attempted assassination of Moqtada's representative Hazem al-Araji last week in Baghdad as "Armed men in two BMWs opened fire near Araji and hit a member of his personal bodyguard, which led to an exchange of fire between Araji’s bodyguards and the militants" might be seen as a message to Moqtada. ARAB WEEKLY notes:
An Iraqi source familiar with the movement’s internal discussions
said, “The time for propaganda against American occupation is gone after
the Sadrist movement had a taste of power. It has benefited from the
quota system through the appointment of cabinet members in various
positions and subsequently gained a level of influence within Iraqi
state institutions that is similar to that wielded by the Dawa Party.”
He added that, “The leader of the movement, Muqtada al-Sadr, realises
that the options of the United States are limited. There is no way to
deal with the PMF, which is almost completely under the thumb of the
Iranian Quds Force, nor with the Dawa Party, whose fortunes are eroding
and which stands accused by many of its followers of corruption, nor
with the smaller Shia groups that enjoy more popularity in the media
than among political activists. The Sadrist movement has become the
‘moderate tendency’ despite all that happened during the past few
On Monday, Iraqi President Barham Salih signed a decree to hold early elections on October 10.
Despite the endeavours of Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi to
co-opt a large segment of the Shia electorate within the civil state,
the Sadrist movement is betting on its popularity among the poor in
major popular neighbourhoods of Baghdad, in addition to segments of the
population in the central Euphrates and southern Iraq regions that are
dissatisfied with the government.
Always one desperate to hold on to power, former prime minister and forever thug Nouri al-Maliki is sniffing around Moqtada once again. Sura Ali (RUDAW) reports:
Former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has offered
reconciliation with influential Shiite cleric and political leader
Muqtada al-Sadr, hinting about his hopes of returning to power again.
Speaking to al-Shariqyah TV on Thursday, Maliki said that he is ready to reconcile with Sadr.
"My hand is open to everyone who wants to reconcile with me. I do not
want rivalries, and I do not want disputes to continue, neither with
Muqtada al-Sadr nor with anyone else," said the current leader of the
State of Law coalition.
Sadr leads the Sairoon coalition, the largest bloc in the Iraqi
parliament, which has recently began speaking explicitly about its
desire to head the next government.
The Shiite cleric is Maliki’s most prominent opponent. Maliki also faces
resistance from Iraq’s Shiite religious figures, led by Grand Ayatollah
Ali al-Sistani, who supported his removal from power in 2014.
Maliki confirmed that the Will movement, led by former MP Hanan
al-Fatlaw, will ally with the State of Law in the upcoming elections,
but he is "afraid” of international supervision on the upcoming
Meanwhile an attack is getting press attention -- so you know it's about oil and not about people. REUTERS notes, "Militants using explosives attacked two oil wells northwest of Kirkuk in
northern Iraq on Saturday but no significant damage resulted and
production was not affected, the Iraqi oil ministry said." XINHAU reports, "The attacks took place at dawn in Bai Hassan oil field in the al-Dibis
area northwest of the namesake provincial capital Kirkuk, some 250 km
north of Iraq's capital Baghdad, causing minor casualties in the oil
wells, a provincial police source told Xinhua." MEMO explains, "Kirkuk province has the oilfields of Bai Hassan, Baba Gurgur, and Havana, which together produce more than 370,000 barrels/day." ASHARQ AL-AWSAT notes, "An Iraqi security source said ISIS militants carried out the attacks at
the Bay Hassan oil field in al-Dibis area, some 250 km north of Baghdad."
Today, the death count from COVID reached 3 million globally. Around the world, the pandemic has devastated. An Iraqi journalist who worked for the ASSOCIATED PRESS died on Friday. Samya Kullab Tweets:
Alex Sanz Tweets:
Majid joined the AP in Baghdad in March 2004, a year after the U.S.-led
invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003. He went on to cover the
breakdown in security and sectarian bloodbath that prevailed for years,
as well as the U.S. occupation, the rise of the al-Qaida terror network,
and finally, the war against the Islamic State group.
Killings, kidnappings and bombings were an everyday occurrence, sometimes with multiple bombings on the same day.
Through it all, Majid, known as Abu Amjad to family and friends, was a
beloved colleague and a calming presence in the Baghdad bureau. He was a
dedicated journalist and a good friend to many, working quietly and
behind-the-scenes to make sure accreditation and paperwork were secured,
badges were collected, interviews were nailed and stories were covered.
“Abu Amjad was a rare source of joy during difficult times working in
Baghdad for the past 17 years. He will be remembered as kind and a
dedicated professional,” said Ahmed Sami, the AP’s senior producer in
Samya Kullab, the AP’s correspondent in Baghdad, recalled Majid’s
dedication and commitment toward getting evasive ministers and officials
to grant the AP interviews. “He chased the Transport Ministry for
months recently. ‘He keeps saying next week but don’t worry, I will not
stop calling’ – such was his dedication to getting the story.”
The following sites updated: