Protestors storm Iraq’s Parliament amid political unrest

Protestors storm Iraq’s Parliament amid political unrest
Supporters of Iraqi Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr protest against corruption inside the parliament building in Baghdad, Iraq July 27, 2022. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani

Last October, Iraq held its parliamentary elections, leading to the country’s current political confusion. It has been unable to form a viable government since the election. In June, Shia leader and former militia leader Muqtada al-Sadr directed his parliamentary bloc to resign to protest Parliament’s failure to form a government. Sadr and his supporters have rejected the prime minister nomination of Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, a former minister and ex-provincial governor who is pro-Iran and the Coordination Framework’s pick for the position.

Al-Sadr supports forming a new government in Iraq entirely and is opposed to Iranian and American influence in the country. His idea of a national majority government is representative of different ethnicities and sects, rejecting the pro-Iran framework. And, with 74 seats, al-Sadr’s bloc is the largest in Parliament. But, not everyone believes he is a nationalist as he claims to be. “The truth is in Iraq, there is not a single political party, whether Shia, Sunni or Kurd, that does not have some kind of tie with Iran," said Marsin Alshamary, a research fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, to Al Jazeera.

On Wednesday, hundreds of protesters in support of al-Sadr stormed the Parliament building, even as police fired tear gas at them. They sang and danced in Parliament, leaving after about two hours once al-Sadr tweeted that they should return home, saying, “Your message has been heard …"

Key comments:

“Al-Sudani just represents a very convenient excuse for Muqtada al-Sadr to voice his displeasure with the entire Coordination Framework and the political system in Iraq," said Alshamary to Al Jazeera. “He would have done this if anyone else were nominated. Al-Sudani actually represents one of the least controversial figures from the Coordination Framework."

“Your message has been heard, you have terrorised the corrupt," al-Sadr tweeted on Wednesday, asking his followers to return home. “Revolution of reform and rejection of injustice and corruption."