On October 10, Iraq returned to the polls for its first national elections since the 2019 protest movement. Despite initial expectations, several months later the vote has not yet given birth to a new government. Instead, the recent resignation of Iraq’s largest parliamentary bloc loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr from Parliament has added a new layer of uncertainty, risking further plunging the country into a deep political turmoil. This occurs in a domestic scene still marked by popular discontent, internal instability on the security dossier, a dysfunctional economy, frictions between the federal government and influential armed groups, and mounting climate-related issues. The country’s international outlook is equally troubled. Iraqi territory has never ceased to be a playground for US-Iranian rivalries and Turkish interventions. Against all odds, Iraq has recently witnessed an unprecedented diplomatic push, with Baghdad’s attempts to integrate itself into the regional political and economic networks and establish itself as a significant diplomatic player (as the Baghdad Conference and the last rounds of talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia demonstrate). In this situation, it is unclear how the global consequences of the war in Ukraine will affect Iraq’s long-term stability, especially in a critical sector such as energy.
How does the political and electoral landscape in Iraq look like today, eight months after the elections? What prospects are there for appointing a new executive? What are the most-pressing initiatives that the new government should focus on? How do exogenous factors affect Iraqi domestic conditions? And how will the political situation influence Baghdad’s politics and vision for the region?
Dlawer Ala’Aldeen | President, Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
Maria Fantappie | Special Adviser for the Middle East and North Africa region, Center for Humanitarian Dialogue
Lahib Higel | Senior Analyst, International Crisis Group
Andrea Plebani | Associate Research Fellow, Middle East and North Africa Centre, ISPI