The Future of Iraq

By Payraw Anwar:


The nuclear deal between Iran and P5+1 (the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council — the United states, United Kingdom, Russia, France, and China — plus Germany) and the European Union was signed in the summer of 2015. On 8 May 2018 Donald Trump the president of the United States announced his withdrawal from the deal. Trump also announced that the United States of America will put more sanctions on Iran and those countries that have helped Iran. He simultaneously said the U.S. will try to contain Iran because not only has the deal failed to limit Iran’s power and activities but it has also made the Middle East more unstable, besides strengthening terrorist groups in the region.

The future of Iraq and role of Iran

The people of Iraq cast their ballots on 12 May 2018 for a new parliament. According to the final results, populist cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s coalition won a majority of the seats (54) and took first place, Fetih coalition, headed by Hadi Amri, got 47 seats; Nasir coalition, headed by Haidar Al-Abadi, got 42 seats; and State of Law, headed by Nuri Maliki, got 26 seats. This result has complicated the process of forming a new cabinet. Iran, through Major General Qasim Soleimani who is commander of the Quds Force, wants to play a crucial role in the process and to prevent Sadr from forming a new government. This is one scenario but there are also some others.

Scenarios for forming the new cabinet

First Scenario: Forming a new government which is close to Iran

This scenario assumes that Iran will play a major role through Qasim Soleimani in shaping a government that includes Maliki, Abadi and Hadi Amri to exert more political and sectarian hegemony in Iraq and expel Sadr because Sadr is known to be anti-Iran and seeking to prevent regional intervention in Iraq. However, Abadi has already rejected joining this scenario.

Second Scenario: Forming a government which is close to the USA

The USA wanted Abadi’s coalition to win and it would then have been influential in the formation of the new government by involving most sides including the Kurds because Abadi has kept a balance between Iranian and Saudi Arabian influence and he didn’t allow Iran to exercise complete hegemony over the cabinet. Additionally Abadi was able to defeat ISIS with coalition forces and preserved the unity of Iraq. The USA argues that, if Abadi becomes prime minister once again, the USA will able to help restore political stability and prevent Iran from intervening.

Third Scenario: Forming a technocrat government

This scenario is about Sadr and its partners. Sadr coalition has won the majority and they want to form a technocrat cabinet which includes all the different components in Iraq. Sadr’s conditions for this new government are: restoring political decision-making for Iraqis themselves, containing Iran’s role in Iraq and confronting corruption. But the weak point of this scenario is Sadr’s anti-USA stance.

Challenges & opportunities for Kurds

The political process in Iraq is a multi-dimensional. The model of democracy is a concordance democracy. This means that all the different components of Iraq should participate in government. Today, Kurds face many challenges and opportunities with the upcoming government including:


  1. There will be no political and constitutional guarantee for Kurds if they go to Baghdad divided and fail to form a united bloc to present Kurd’s demands.
  2. If a majority government is formed and uses the PMU (Popular Mobilization Forces) to control the military and civil apparatus or the governance process to put more economic and political sanctions against the KRG.


  1. The KRG will able to restore its diplomatic and political position or rebalance power through participating in the upcoming government but it’s necessary that Kurds go to Baghdad with a strong political agenda.
  2. It will be difficult to form a strong central government based only on Shias because the Shias have been largely divided among themselves and so the USA may become involved in giving the Kurds another chance to play their role in the next cabinet.

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