Iraq’s ruling parties have entered into a new phase of political deadlock. It is now marked by rival protests focused upon the Green Zone in Baghdad. Moqtada al-Sadr hoped that going to the streets would force his opponents in the Coordination Framework to give into his demands but they have countered by calling out their people as well.
Friday August 12 was the beginning of the standoff. The day before Sadr called for protests to expand across Iraq and the Coordination Framework responded in kind. Sadrists were already inside the Green Zone and also came out in Diyala, Babil, Diwaniya, Kirkuk, and Maysan, while the Framework started a sit-in outside the Green Zone and marched in Basra. Sadr called for even larger gatherings next weekend. This is the latest battle of wills between the two sides. Having been blocked in parliament to create a majority government, Sadr decided to step outside of politics and use his mass following. That has been countered by the Framework. These demonstrations will probably last for the foreseeable future.
On the other hand, the Sadrists are trying to dissolve parliament while elements of the Coordination Framework are attempting to create a consensus on new elections. Sadr has called for the courts to dismiss parliament as the first step in the process. That would avoid having to call the lawmakers back and vote on the matter which could be defeated. The courts have rejected him. Some members of the Framework are also in favor of a new round of voting which Sadr has also called for. This is being led by Fatah head Hadi Amiri who is meeting with other political leaders such as Massoud Barzani and Speaker Halbusi and others. Amiri was chosen because he has a relationship with Sadr. It was also done to try to sideline Nuri al-Maliki who has the most seats within the Framework but few want him to return to power or control the next prime minister. The devil is always in the detail and forming a consensus over getting rid of the legislature and holding another round of balloting could take months.
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Agence France Presse, “Pro-Iran Coordination Framework begin rival Baghdad sit-in,” 8/12/22
Bas News, “Iraqi Judicial Council Rejects Sadr’s Call to Dissolve Parliament,” 8/10/22
- “Sadr and Coordination Framework Supporters to Gather at Green Zone on Friday,” 8/11/22
- “Sadrist Movement Calls for Nationwide Protests on Friday,” 8/11/22
- “Sadrist Movement Million-man March Set for Saturday,” 8/14/22
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NINA, “A Demonstration For The Coordination Framework Starts Near The Courts Complex In Basra,” 8/12/22
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- “A Demonstration For The Sadrist Movement Starts In Diwaniyah,” 8/12/22
- “Demonstration For The Supporters Of The Sadrist Movement In Baquba,” 8/13/22
- “Demonstration In Babylon For Supporters Of The Sadrist Movement To Demand Dissolving The Parliament,” 8/12/22
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