Iraqi PM: Political crisis undermines security achievements

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BAGHDAD — Iraqi interim Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi warned on Saturday that the political crisis in the country threatens the security achievements made in recent years.

Al-Kadhimi’s warning is a clear indication of the dangers of one of Iraq’s worst political crises since the US invaded Iraq in 2003. It is the result of disagreements between supporters influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and rival groups backed by Iran since last year’s parliamentary elections.

Al-Sadr won the largest share of seats in October’s elections but failed to form a majority government, leading to what has become one of Iraq’s worst political crises in recent times. years.

His bloc later resigned from parliament and his supporters last month stormed the parliament building in Baghdad. Al-Sadr demanded the dissolution of parliament and the holding of early elections.

“This political crisis threatens the security achievements and stability of the nation,” al-Kadhimi said in a speech marking the Islamic Day for Ending Violence Against Women in Baghdad.

“Now the solution is for all political parties to make concessions for the benefit of Iraq and Iraqis,” al-Kadhimi said.

Last week, al-Kadhimi called for a meeting of senior political leaders and party representatives to find a solution. He warned that if “fighting breaks out, the shooting will not stop and will last for years”.

Earlier this month, al-Sadr called on his supporters to be ready to stage massive protests across Iraq, but later postponed them indefinitely after Iran-backed groups called for similar rallies on same day, saying he wanted to keep the peace and that “Iraqi blood is invaluable” to him.

Iraq has enjoyed relative stability since the Islamic State group was largely defeated in the country in 2017. But militants have continued to carry out attacks, frequently hitting security forces and military targets with roadside bombs. road and firing at convoys or checkpoints.

During the rise of ISIS, when it controlled large parts of Iraq, deadly explosions were common in the oil-rich country.

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