Al-Kazemi’s options and the future of Iraq
A little more than a year after taking office, the Iraqi Prime Minister, Mustafa Al-Kazemi, is facing major challenges, which entail decisions that will determine his future, and the future of the country he rules. Either history will remember him as the man who restored Iraq to its people, role and nation, or the opportunity will be lost, and Iraq will turn into a failed state, losing sovereignty, ruled by militias and warlords who receive their orders from across the border.
With his accession to power, many saw Al-Kazemi as an independent figure close to a rising Iraqi national current whose goal is to restore the state, limit the foreign (Iranian) penetration of it, and keep the country away from the arena of regional and international conflict, especially since he came to the first position of power in Iraq, From his position as head of the intelligence service, at the height of the Iranian-American rams, after the killing of Qassem Soleimani at Baghdad airport, and after the fiasco recorded by his predecessor, Adel Abdul-Mahdi, and in which the October 2019 uprising overthrew his government, the weakest and worst that Iraq has known since the US invasion in 2003.
However, despite the hopes that were placed on Al-Kazemi in terms of protecting the protest movement, holding those responsible for killing its youth accountable, restoring the prestige of the state and limiting militia incursions, fighting horrific corruption and boosting the economy, no one had any illusions about the difficulty of the task the man faces, Militias, warlords, party leaders, mafias, and political and sectarian forces divided the state as if it were a booty, and overran its institutions, and tightened control over its capabilities to the extent that it became difficult to uproot it, or to stop its hand from the bowl of gold that was scooped from it.
Not only that, but these forces have become part of a network of corruption that crosses borders, sects and nationalities, feeding on each other, so that one can hear the echo of their rattle echoing from Tehran to Beirut, passing through Baghdad and Damascus. Al-Kazemi, then, is not only facing Iraqi local forces, but an entire axis of corruption that extends across the region, and thrives on the progress of his project based on undermining the state as an idea, culture and institution. Above the difficulty of the task, Al-Kazemi does not belong to any large political bloc in Parliament, whose support he can count on. This weakens Al-Kazemi, according to some, and makes his agenda hostage to the main blocs in Parliament.
However, while we acknowledge the difficulties and challenges he faces, Al-Kazemi possesses important power cards that he can, if he chooses to resort to, completely turn the balance of power in his favor. But this matter needs to be bold and courageous and to abandon caution, hesitation, and the policy of “one step forward, two steps back” that he has followed since taking office, because this weakens confidence in him and pushes the bets on him to rise up around him and turn his back on him.
Al-Kazemi must empower the people to liberate themselves from the grip of political forces and parties that need them more than they need them, and the street has revolted against it and realized its corruption and dependency and the extent of the devastation it has inflicted on the country over two decades. The best standards of integrity and transparency, forming alliances and organizing ranks to enable the emerging national and youth forces to seize the next parliament.
Moreover, Al-Kazemi must take a bold decision to end the duality of power and weapons and create the conditions for dissolving the Popular Mobilization Authority and attaching its affiliates to the military and civil state agencies, even if this leads to a direct clash, as some pain is sometimes necessary to save the country. Al-Kazemi should extend his hand to the rest of the Iraqi people, and strengthen everyone in order to restore Iraq, especially the Sunnis, who paid the price twice, when they were counted against the previous regime and then against ISIS.
These, in turn, must produce new leaders instead of those that have become part of the corruption system, and support the southern provinces in their peaceful movement to restore Iraq as a united and strong homeland for all, instead of weakening it by calling for sectarian titles, such as the establishment of a Sunni region, that is no longer acceptable after the October revolution. 2019. Al-Kazemi today has a choice: either he surrenders and proceeds as others have gone before, or he presents and devote himself as a national leader to a sovereign and independent Iraq.