Iraq’s political instability has escalated into deadly fighting between supporters of Muqtada al-Sadr and pro-Iran militias. But the violence is far from unprecedented, and historical patterns suggest an imminent Iranian intervention.
With the Shia cleric raising doubts over the legality of the elections he himself had won, there are signs that disparate political forces are manoeuvring to seal a deal that will finally see a government formed.
In a severely turbulent political environment, a newly leaked set of audio recordings of former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki insulting prominent leaders and inciting sectarian divisions threatens to destabilise Iraq even further.
After failing to build a majority coalition, Sadr's mass resignation 'protest' move against systemic corruption will achieve little more than the further delegitimisation of Iraq's political processes.
Once known for its fertile lands and lush agriculture, Iraq is facing an impending climate crisis as drought, incessant sand storms and scorching heat, compounded by a failing government, promise a difficult summer.
With a complex web of politics and military power converging in Sinjar, it appears clear that Iraq is once again being used as a chessboard for regional and domestic ambitions to be played out among rivals.