Iraq's Summer of Uncertainty
Iraq's Summer of Uncertainty

Iraq's Summer of Uncertainty

A scorching summer heat is settling on Baghdad. The streets are calm and traffic flows, slowed only by the multiple checkpoints, especially near bridges and government buildings. Given that the policemen on duty carry out only a cursory glance at vehicles and their passengers, it is perhaps surprising there haven’t been more frequent bombings in recent weeks. (The last series of bomb attacks across Iraq, on May 10, left at least a hundred dead.)

To security officials, the relative quiet suggests that many former insurgents and their supporters—including some Sunnis who in the past rejected the political process—have been biding their time. Having decided to participate in the March 7 parliamentary elections, they have been inclined to let the political uncertainty that has followed run its course in the hope that it might produce the change they desired.

According to the original count, the candidate that the Sunnis overwhelmingly supported, the secular former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, narrowly won the most seats; but his opponents, led by incumbent Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, have worked hard to deprive him of that victory ever since. They have challenged the results in the courts and led a campaign to disqualify several winning candidates on the grounds that they have ties to the banned Baath Party. Neither effort has yielded a change in the overall result, however, which remains in favour of Allawi, whose Iraqiya Alliance still holds 91 seats, two more than Maliki’s State of Law list.

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Members of Iraqi security forces are deployed in Sinjar, Iraq December 1, 2020. REUTERS/Khalid al-Mousily

Iraq: Stabilising the Contested District of Sinjar

Sinjar has yet to recover from the ravages of 2014, when ISIS subjected the population to unrelenting terror. Thousands remain displaced. To persuade them to return, the Iraqi federal and Kurdish regional governments will need help from the current residents in improving governance and security.

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