Protesters in Basra against PM designate Allawi (Al Mirbad)
The naming of former Communications Minister Mohammed Allawi as the designate premier and the return of the Sadrists to the protest squares has led to new conflicts.
First, Mohammed Allawi was officially named as the designate prime minister on February 1. He called for a continuation of the protests to keep the pressure on the ruling parties to carry out reforms, and promised to hold those responsible for the deaths of demonstrators accountable. He was not well received by the street however as every major city in the south and Baghdad held marches against his appointment. Since he was made premier via a deal between Moqtada al-Sadr’s Sairoon and Badr’s Hadi Amiri’s Fatah the protests consider Allawi part of the establishment when they want new faces to rule the country. Dealing with the demonstrations will be one of Allawi’s toughest and most important jobs.
The second problem arose when Sadr’s followers returned to Baghdad’s Tahrir Square. On January 31, the first day they came back there were small skirmishes between protesters and Sadrists. Then the Sadrists took over the Turkish Restaurant building, which overlooks the square, while getting into fights with those that opposed Allawi becoming the new leader. Sadr abandoned the protests for a deal with Iran, but when that fell apart he called for his people to go back to the sit-in sites. Rather than apologize for his flip flop it appears that he wants to impose his agenda upon the demonstrations. There’s the added twist that the Sadr movement split as well with some never having left the sit-ins. This could be a major crisis for the demonstrations if they have to face internal divisions while dealing with the constant attacks of the army, police and Hashd.
Abdul-Zahra, Qassim and Kullab, Samya, “Iraqi blocs select new PM designate after weeks of jockeying,” Associated Press, 2/1/20
Al Ghad Press, “Groups of the Sadrist movement suppress a rally rejecting Mohammed Allawi’s assignment in Tahrir Square,” 2/1/20
Al Hurra, “Allawi pledges to confine arms to the state and hold the protesters’ killers accountable,” 2/1/20
- “Coinciding with Allawi’s announcement .. Sadr supporters control the Turkish restaurant,” 2/1/20
- “Independent in manner of Abdul Mahdi .. Who is the designated Prime Minister of Iraq?” 2/1/20
Al Mirbad, “Burning tires in Al-Mutanabi Square, Al-Kut, to protest Allawi’s assignment,” 2/1/20
- “Blocked the intersections in the center of Diwaniya to protest Allawi,” 2/1/20
- “A march in the Karbala sit-in square rejects Allawi,” 2/1/20
- “Marches in Basra and Karbala refuse to assign Allawi to head the government,” 2/1/20
- “A position on Basra sit-in on Allawi’s mandate,” 2/1/20
- “Protesters block bridges in Dhi Qar, refusing to assign Allawi,” 2/1/20
- “Refusing to assign Allawi … Protesters cut the road to Diwnaiya-Najaf,” 2/1/20
- “A statement by Wasit protesters: Allawi is flatly rejected by us,” 2/1/20
- “With slogans, a demonstration in Samawa refused to nominate Mohammed Allawi,” 2/1/20