Iran-backed Shias to hold parliament session after Arbaeen: source

Iran-backed Shias to hold parliament session after Arbaeen: source
Iran-backed the Coordination Framework is allegedly planning to hold a session post Arbaeen to elect a president, a source told The New Arab.
4 min read
04 September, 2022
Falih al-Fayyadh, head of the PMF {Getty}

The Iran-backed the Coordination Framework is planning to hold a session of the Iraqi parliament in the second half of this month to elect a president who would then address a PM designate to form a government soon after, according to exclusive information obtained by The New Arab from a well-informed source from the matter.

The Coordination Framework (CF), an umbrella parliamentary bloc including all Iran-backed Shia factions, in July formally nominated Mohammed Shia' al-Sudani to be the new Iraqi prime minister.

“A senior delegation from the CF, co-headed by Falih al-Fayyadh, head of the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), and Mohammed Shia' al-Sudani has secretly visited the Erbil, the capital city of the Iraqi Kurdistan region, to urge the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) to participate in the upcoming session of the Iraqi parliament scheduled to take place after the Shia Muslim pilgrimage of Arbaeen,” a well-informed source from the Iraqi as well as Kurdish ruling elites in Baghdad and Erbil claimed to The New Arab.

“The delegation is to convey the message to the KDP that the CF wants the KDP to participate in the parliament’s session and the upcoming Iraqi government,” the source added, speaking on condition of anonymity.

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Arbaeen marks the end of the 40-day mourning period for the seventh century killing of Imam Hussein, Prophet Mohammed's grandson, by followers of Caliph Yazid, and falls on September 17 this year.

Al-Sudani, 52, is a Shia Iraqi lawmaker from the south-eastern Maysan governorate with a Bachelor's degree in agricultural sciences. He has held several posts and ministerial portfolios in the Iraqi government, including the governor of Maysan, the minister of human rights in 2010, and the minister of labour and social affairs in 2014.

The CF, which has a majority in the parliament, is allied with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), a rival Kurdish party of the KDP. Both Kurdish parties have their own candidates for Iraq’s presidency, that has been the share of Kurds in the proportional (Muhasasa) power-sharing after the 2003 US- led invasion of Iraq.

Rebar Ahmed is KDP’s candidate, and Iraq’s incumbent president Barham Salih, is PUK’s formal candidate to run for a second term.
“The CF has an agreement with the PUK to vote for the party’s candidate for the presidency,” the source added. 

TNA contacted Oday al-Awad, a Fatih alliance MP from Basra, but he was not immediately available to comment.  TNA also contacted Ari Harsin, KDP leadership council member, but he said he has no information about the matter. 

Baghdad's Green Zone, home to many state institutions, witnessed heavy bloodshed last week between supporters of the Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and the Iran-backed factions in the PMF that killed 30 people after the former said he would quit politics.

Iraq has been stuck in a political impasse since last October's parliamentary elections, with no president or a new cabinet as rival political parties could not reach a quorum set at two-thirds of the house's 329 members, according to an interpretation by Iraq's Supreme Federal Court.

Shia politician and head of the Fatih Alliance, Hadi al-Amiri, visited the Iraqi Kurdistan region in 15 Augusts, where he met with heads of several ruling and opposition Kurdish parties, including Masoud Barzani, head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), in Erbil's Salahadin.

A Kurdish political observer last month told TNA that Barzani’s condition to attend future sessions of the parliament and participate in the upcoming Iraqi government, was for the PUK to candidate another person instead of Salih for Iraq's presidency.

Al-Sadr won a majority with 73 seats in the election and vowed to form a "national majority" government with several Sunni and Kurdish blocs, including the KDP, signalling against pro-Iran Shia blocs. Frustrated in his efforts to fulfill his promise to his supporters, however, Sadr ordered lawmakers from his bloc to resign, which all his MPs did on 12 June. 

The Coordination Framework replaced Sadr's MPs with their own, becoming the biggest bloc in the Iraqi parliament. They vowed to form a consensus government that would include all the Sunni and Kurdish blocs.