In Iraqi Elections Guns and Money Still Dominate Politics

Baghdad – In front of the headquarters of Asaibu Afuralhak, one of the most important Iranian militias in Iraq, fighters are wrapped in a red tent, a symbol of a pivotal event in the history of the Seat. I put up a big banner.

It’s time for an Iraqi election and Asive Afru Alhaq, who blamed the US military for the attack and has been identified by the United States as a terrorist organization, is likely to win a seat in parliament in Sunday’s vote. This is just another paramilitary organization. Images of the battle flag of Karbala in the 7th century and quotes from the same period promising revenge send a message to all who pass by. This is a radical defense of Shia Islam.

Seventeen years after the US invaded Iraq and defeated the dictator, the country’s preparations for a fifth general election have been dominated by guns and money and are still largely constrained by sectarianism and ethnicity. He emphasized the political system.

The competition entitles the same key players, including movements loyal to Shia cleric Muqtadar al-Saddl, Iran-backed coalition militias, and the dominant Kurdish party in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq. You can come back. Another key figure is a Sunni businessman facing US corruption sanctions.

Meanwhile, reformed election laws and the protests that sparked elections a year earlier could bring some non-party candidates into Iraq’s dysfunctional parliament. There is a glimmer of hope that we can make it.

However, in a country where corruption is so widespread that many government departments focus on bribery rather than providing public services, it’s hard to get frustrated voters to vote. The militia and its political sector are often seen as more powerful in Iran’s interests than in Iraq.

Several political parties have announced political platforms. Instead, they attract voters based on their religious, ethnic, or tribal allegiances.

“I voted in the first option, but I didn’t achieve my goal. Then I chose the second option and the same person stayed,” said Wissum Ali at the market. “I decided not to vote a third time.”

Ali, from Babil in southern Baghdad, said he had taught as a substitute teacher in public schools for 14 years but was unable to take on a state apprenticeship because he was not a member of a political party.

Since October 2019, protests in Baghdad and southern states have intensified, demanding jobs and basic public services such as electricity and clean water. The demonstrators, mostly young and mostly Shia, called for a change in the political system in which the ministry would be rewarded with the largest political party.

The protesters, now officially part of Iraq’s security forces, have called for an end to Iran’s influence in Iraq through replacement militias nominally under state control.

In response, security forces killed about 600 unarmed demonstrators, according to Iraq’s High Commissioner for Human Rights. Another estimate is 800 victims. The militia fighters were accused of being very dead and even killing dozens of activists through targeted killings.

Acting Prime Minister Mustafa al-Qadimi came to power last year after the former government was forced to resign from the opposition.

Early elections were an important promise for the campaign, but Kadimi failed to deliver on most other promises. He brought people to justice before the murder of activists, severely corrupted corruption and subdued Iran-backed militias.

A new parliament is expected to come to power, but changes to Iraq’s election law will facilitate the selection of smaller parties and independent candidates. This could make this vote the most representative in the country’s post-war history. Despite election errors, including widespread fraud in recent years, Iraq is still far ahead of most Arab countries in conducting national and local opinion polls.