In what appeared to be a concession speech Prime Minister Haidar Abadi said that he would not hold onto power. Since May, all of the premier’s plans have gone awry. He was hoping for an easy victory in the elections and came in third. He believed that aligning with Moqtada al-Sadr and his Sairoon would assure him of a second term. Instead, Sadr abandoned him for an alliance with the pro-Iran Hashd Fatah list led by Badr’s Hadi Amiri after the protests and riots in Basra. His remarks just confirmed what was already a fait accompli.
Abadi came into office in 2014 as the anti-Nuri al-Maliki who was becoming an autocrat, concentrating power in his hands, using the security forces and militias against his opponents, and angering most of the other ruling parties. Abadi ended up winning the war against the Islamic State, but stumbled with almost everything else. For instance, twice he said he was launching an anti-corruption campaign. The first time he was actually making budget cuts. The second time he did nothing substantive. He also proved a bad politician. Sadr and Ammar Hakim were his two biggest supporters when he initially came into office, yet he never consulted with them to build up support for any of his policies alienating them. His own Dawa and State of Law parties made similar comments about his leadership style. After the May 2018 election rank and file members of his Nasr list complained that he never talked to them and only consulted with a small group of close advisers. His final legacy will be of a prime minister that had every chance to carry out real changes in Iraq, yet failed to take advantage of his situation.
AIN, “Abadi abandons the second term and regrets his nomination,” 9/13/18
Buratha News, “A member of Nasr alliance accuses Abadi of pursuing dictatorial style within the coalition,” 8/7/18
Kazimi, Nibras, “What is happening in Iraq?” Talisman Gate, Again, 10/29/15
New Sabah, “Abadi identifies two paths of reform and choice of ministers reached an advanced stage,” 2/29/16
Rasheed, Ahmed, “Iraq’s coalition members press PM to consult before ordering reforms,” Reuters, 10/28/15