By Hamdi Malik for Foreign Affairs. Any opinions expressed are those of the author(s), and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Mustafa al-Kadhimi (pictured), Iraq’s new prime minister as of May 12, has already announced a bold intention.

In a short government manifesto he submitted to the Iraqi Parliament, Kadhimi emphasized his plans to “impose the state’s prestige” by bringing armed groups under government control.

To observers of post-Saddam Hussein Iraq, the manifesto’s meaning is clear: the damage to the state’s “prestige” has, after all, come mainly from pro-Iranian militant groups who answer to the commanders of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), rather than to Iraq’s commander in chief.

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By John Lee.

His Excellency Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi received Chinese Ambassador to Baghdad Zhang Tao congratulated His Excellency the Premier Al-Kadhimi for swearing-in as Prime Minister, and extended the Chinese Premier greetings, reaffirmed china aspiration to strengthen the relationship with Iraq.

Ambassador Zhang Tao underscored China support to Iraq in the international affairs, in strengthening its sovereignty and territory unity, also in counter-terrorism, and invited His Excellency the Premier Al-Kadhimi to Visit Beijing.

From his side; the Premier AL-Kadhimi thanked the Chinese Ambassador on the congratulation, confirmed that Iraq appreciated China support in combating coronavirus pandemic, and expressed his aspiration for strengthening the economic bilateral relationship to address the current crisis which resulted from the Oil prices decline, also strengthening Chinese investment companies in Iraq in the field of energy, and in the agriculture to develop fertile lands that non-cultivated
Media Office of the Prime Minister.

(Source: Office of the Iraqi Prime Minister)

By Muhammad Al-Waeli, for the London School of Economics (LSE). Any opinions expressed here are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

What Message is Iraq’s New Prime Minister Sending to the Public?

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi has been in office for only two weeks, but his style of governance is becoming clearer through the heavy signalling campaign he has been engaged in since day one in office.

This is important to note as Kadhimi represents a generational transition in Iraqi leadership.

While he was not one of the protest leaders, he also is not from the political elite many have become familiar with after the fall of Saddam’s regime.

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By Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraqi prime minister stresses PMU should be Iraqi institution under state authority

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi faces a difficult task in implementing his reform plan for the Popular Mobilization Units organization and bringing its various military factions under full control of the Iraqi state.

He has started approaching PMU leaders, but reining in the organization will not be an easy task.

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(Picture credit: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

By Renad Mansour, for Foreign Policy. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraq’s New Prime Minister Is Taking Things Slow

After nearly 20 years of political chaos in Baghdad, Mustafa al-Kadhimi is trying incremental reform.

Despite this dire context, the new prime minister is neither a revolutionary who will overhaul the system nor a strongman who will centralize power.

Instead, he is seeking incremental reform, working within the existing system.

His vision is to navigate the impasse between citizens and elites-and the political fragmentation between elites themselves-by striking a new balance between reform and the status quo.

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Prime Minister Al-Kadhimi: Iraq is greater than the challenges facing it

Prime Minister Mustafa Al-ccalled for national unity as he outlined the difficulties facing the country, saying that Iraq is greater than the challenges facing it.

In an article published on Monday, Prime Minister Al-Kadhimi said that he wanted to put before the Iraqi people, especially young Iraqis demanding their rights, the challenges ahead and what was needed to overcome the current financial, administrative, and political crises.

Prime Minister Al-Kadhimi called on political blocs to help complete the formation of the government so that it can begin to implement practical plans to respond to the legitimate aspirations of citizens, provide them with services and decent livelihoods, and stop all violations and abuses.

The Prime Minister said that he accepted the responsibility of office knowing the difficulties and “the heavy legacy that will confront me at all levels and in all vital areas that impact the lives of citizens, and the security, sovereignty and independence of the country.”

He added that  “the crisis is deep and interwoven in the very fabric of the state and its institutions, undermining its economic strength.”

The Prime Minister said that the collapse of oil prices has made it necessary for the government to explore every option to fund salaries of state employees, pay the cost of  running its institutions and fulfilling their obligations, chief amongst them is ensuring the safety of citizens during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Prime Minister said that the security of Iraqis is threatened, not by Daesh and its sleeper cells only, but also by the proliferations of weapons outside the control of the state, corruption, the plundering of public money, and the unacceptable (global) ranking  of Iraq in terms of education, health and services.

He added “the wealth that went through Iraq‘s treasury over the past 17 years would have been sufficient to rebuild the country and establish a fund for the future, but corruption drained it, with some of the wealth openly and publicly taken out of Iraq. When I came into office, the treasury was almost empty.”

Responding to the demands of the protestors

The Prime Minister affirmed that he is determined to respond to the just popular demands expressed by the protest movement to restore the glory, strength, and dignity of Iraq, end the legacy of hateful quotas in all its manifestations, and to fight financial and administrative corruption.

However, the Prime Minster underscored that reforms would not be possible without restoring the authority of the state and its sovereignty. This, he said, requires that no party, regardless of its power and loyalties, be above the will of the state, the Constitution and the law, and that weapons must be restricted to state institutions and the Armed Forces under the command of the Commander-in-Chief.

The Prime Minister outlined the following immediate key priorities for the government:

  • Completing the passage of the new Electoral Law, and the Independent High Electoral Commission Law to facilitate the holding of elections as soon as possible
  • Protecting demonstrators so they can express their will freely and peacefully. It is the duty of the Ministry of Interior and the security services to prevent any third party from interfering with the protestors
  • Confronting the economic and financial crisis, rationalise public spending, fight corruption, initiate necessary reforms, and protect our people from Covid-19
  • Restoring the authority of the state, asserting national sovereignty, confining arms to state institutions, securing the country against the threat of terrorism, and establishing the rule of law
Iraq’s national interest

He called on everyone to put  the national interest of Iraq above secondary interests, and affirmed that although the challenges are great, Iraq is greater than the challenges, crises, and problems facing it, but that “we need to work with our people, parliamentary blocs, political parties, social and other groups, and gain the understanding of our young demonstrators, to enable the government to do its duty.”

(Source: Govt of Iraq)

From The Middle East Institute. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraq special briefing: The challenges facing Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi

Six briefing notes from Hafsa Halawa, Shahla Al-Kli, Yesar Al-Maleki, Randa Slim, Robert S. Ford, and Alex Vatanka.

Click here to read the full article.

By Rend Al-Rahim (pictured), for the Atlantic Council. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraq’s new prime minister must manage expectations

Mustafa al-Kadhimi was confirmed as prime minister of Iraq on May 6 and the task before him has rightly been called a suicide mission.

There is hardly any national issue that does not present a potentially crippling challenge for al-Kadhimi.

He faces a virtually bankrupt treasury, public sector expenses that are among the highest in the world, collapsing public services, entrenched corruption, a resurgent Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), rogue militias, rising US-Iran tensions, and the prospect of renewed demonstrations as the summer advances.

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By Jared Szuba for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author(s), and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraq’s Peshmerga Ministry pushes for joint security talks with Baghdad

The Peshmerga Ministry of Iraq’s Kurdistan Region said it will send a delegation to Baghdad to discuss security cooperation and the situation in the disputed territories.

Maj. Gen. Babakr Faqe Ahmed, general media director at the Peshmerga Ministry, did not specify to reporters today when the delegation would go, saying the ministry was waiting until the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi is fully in office.

Click here to read the full story.

From Rabee Securities; re-published with permission by Iraq Business News:

Mr. Allawi was born in Baghdad in 1947.

He left Iraq in 1958 with his family after the 14 July Revolution (the 1958 Iraqi coup d’état, that resulted in the overthrow of the Hashemite monarchy in Iraq that had been established by King Faisal I in 1921 under the auspices of the British) due to the family’s links to the monarchy.

Both his father, Abdul Amir Allawi served as minister of Health in several cabinets while his grandfather, Abdul Hadi Chalabi was head of the Senate.

Mr. Allawi is a nephew of Ahmad Chalabi (the founder of the Iraqi National Congress (INC) the President of the Governing Council of Iraq, and deputy prime minister).

A Shia Muslim, Allawi, went to school in the UK and graduated from MIT in the United States with a BSc in Civil Engineering in 1968. He completed an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1971, and studied at the London School of Economics.

After completing his MBA, he worked in international development for the World Bank. In 1978, he co-founded the Arab International Finance merchant bank. In 1992 he founded the Fisa Group which manages hedge funds. Between 1999 and 2002 he was a Senior Associate at St Antony’s College, Oxford. He was part of the Iraqi exile opposition community during Saddam Hussein’s rule in Iraq.

After 2003, he held the positions of Minister of Trade and Minister of Defense in the Interim Iraq Governing Council from September 2003 to 2004. From 2005 to 2006, he was Minister of Finance in the Iraqi Transitional Government.

He is also the author of several books including the widely reviewed “The Occupation of Iraq – Winning the War: Losing the Peace » in 2007.  In it he says, “The situation in Iraq is complex, dangerous and fraught with poor alternatives. But it is not hopeless.” In 2009, he published his second book, “The Crisis of Islamic Civilization”, and in 2014 he published the first major biography of King Faisal I, “Faisal I of Iraq”.

The New York Times Book Review called The Occupation of Iraq “…the most comprehensive historical account of the disastrous aftermath of the American Invasion.” In October 2009 the Washington Institute for Near East Policy announced that The Crisis of Islamic Civilization was awarded the Silver Prize of its annual book prize. In December 2009, The Economist named The Crisis of Islamic Civilization one of the Best Books of 2009.

He was elected as a Senior Visiting Fellow at Princeton University for 2008-2009 and has held several visiting scholar positions since.

Mr. Allawi started serving as both finance minister and acting oil minister in Mustafa Al-Kadhimi’s government.

At Rabee Securities we wish the new Minister best of luck at these difficult times.

(Source: Rabee Securities)