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After four months of searching, Iraq may have finally found its new prime minister.
 
10/20/2020
 

Kadhimi: Iraq’s Next Iran-Backed Prime Minister?

After four months of searching, Iraq may have finally found its new prime minister.

BY WARREN REINSCH

On April 9, Iraqi President Barham Salih nominated Mustafa al-Kadhimi, Iraq’s director of National Intelligence Services and a former journalist, as the nation’s next prime minister-designate, giving him 30 days to assemble his cabinet and receive a vote of confidence from the parliament. After more than four months of searching after the resignation of Adel Abdul Mahdi, Iraq may have finally found its next leader.

Kadhimi’s nomination comes after two previous candidates failed to form a government. What makes Kadhimi’s nomination so promising is the widespread support he has received, something the previous candidates lacked. The previous candidates were either too pro-Iran or too pro-United States, but Kadhimi, like Mahdi before him, is an independent who has a relationship with both the U.S. and Iran.

There is one huge giveaway that Kadhimi was Iran’s selection. Just a few days before he was nominated, Iranian Quds Force Cmdr. Ismail Qaani made his first visit to Iraq since assuming the role after the January 3 assassination of Qassem Suleimani. Qaani’s visit shows how much importance Iran places on controlling Iraq. The timing also reveals that Kadhimi could be in Iran’s back pocket.

 
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