Iraq Elections 2018: What you need to know

Insights Insights

Sadr’s victory is more fanfare than substance. His Sa’iroon coalition only secured 54 seats while his nearest rival Hadi al-Amiri secured 47. Even if he allies with third-placed outgoing Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi who has 42 seats, he is well short of the numbers required to significantly influence policy.   Sadr’s 54 seats is a loose coalition with secular/communist elements. …

Iran’s Sadr problem

Sami Hamdi Middle East/North Africa

Sadr’s resurgence complicates the dynamics of Iraqi politics not just for Iran, but also for the Iraqi religious establishment. For Iran, Sadr has always been a useful kingmaker. In 2006, Maliki was short of the required MPs to form a government and could not convince Sadr to back him following a brutal war between them that engulfed Sadr City in …

Why Erdogan lambasted Iraq’s Abadi

Sami Hamdi Iraq, Middle East/North Africa, Turkey

Erdogan had harsh words for Iraqi Prime Minsiter Haider al-Abadi. On the diplomatic front, the Turkish President may well have transgressed on Iraq’s sovereignty and there are legitimate question marks over the presence of Turkish troops on Iraqi soil. However, in the wider context, Erdogan has simply described the current status quo, and called out the Iraqi demands for what they …

‘Mercenaries’ are the preferred option – even for the US

Fjona Krasniqi Iraq, Middle East/North Africa, US

The ‘war on terror’ has given rise to ‘remote control’ warfare where ‘lite’ warfare is viewed as a more effective counter-terrorism strategy than conventional forces. Increasingly private military and security companies have been commissioned with the responsibility for solving security problems in conflict areas. Private military and security companies, known as PMSCs, are private businesses that provide services in conflict …

Iran v Saudi Arabia: it’s politics

Abu Bakr Al Shamahi Middle East/North Africa, Saudi Arabia

There have been a lot of articles and amazingly fascinating fact boxes on the split between Shia and Sunni Muslims, written, I’m guessing, by people who don’t know their Karbala from their Kelloggs, in an attempt to explain the dispute between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Normally, when I read an article that says something along the lines of “the people …

Chair of Defence Committee says no to airstrikes

Soumaya Hamdi UK

The Chair of the Defence Committee and Conservative MP Julian Lewis declared in today’s discussions over extending British airstrikes to Syria, that going ahead with Cameron’s motion would be ‘ineffective and potentially dangerous’. This scathing criticism of the Prime Minister’s plans for military action comes off the back of increasing concern over future implications if airstrikes over Syria were to …

Why Russia ‘had’ to intervene in Syria

Sami Hamdi Russia

Russia with its intervention in Syria in order to ‘defeat ISIS’ has no doubt upended the balance of power and comes at a time when the Assad regime needs such assistance the most following setbacks in Idlib, Homs and Aleppo, and as Iran begins to move away from Assad following the Nuclear Deal. However, Russia’s intervention should not be taken …