Iraq Report

Iraq Report
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Iraq's highest court has thwarted the ambitions of both Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region, creating the circumstances for continued instability in Iraqi political affairs.
Iraq Report
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The political instability that has wrangled Iraq since October's elections has spilled over into the Gulf, as Iran-backed Iraqi and Yemeni groups target the UAE.
An Iraqi protester waves the national flag amid clashes with riot police at Baghdad's al-Khilani Square on February 19, 2020 during ongoing anti-government demonstrations. (Photo by AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP) (Photo by AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP via Getty Images)
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Iran views Iraq as its most important foreign policy arena and maintains excellent and deep ties with every faction. In other words, whoever wins in the Iraqi elections, Iran wins.
An Iranian woman walks past a large poster of slain top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani (R) and senior Hashed commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis ahead of the second anniversary of their death, in the capital Tehran, on December 31, 2021
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In the two years since Qasem Soleimani's assassination, Iran has failed to fill the void left by its mastermind strategist and is struggling to maintain its grip on the lynchpin of its regional influence - Iraq.
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The US has announced the official end to combat missions in Iraq, but after decades of military interventions and political instability, the future of Iraq's fragile political system is hanging by a thread.
kadhimi basra
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While the prime minister emerged unscathed, the attack itself has been viewed as a deadly message designed to re-establish Shia militia dominance after they were trounced in elections.
Islamic State  flag Mosul - AFP
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The Islamic State has attacked a number of Iraqi military and security positions, as well as targeting Shia civilians in the eastern Diyala governorate, triggering extrajudicial and retaliatory killings by Shia militias aligned with the government.
An Iraqi woman shows her ink-stained index finger before a national flag after having cast her vote in the first parliamentary election since declaring victory over the Islamic State (IS) group, in the capital Baghdad's Karrada district on May 12, 2018
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It is already clear that Iraqi politics is suffering from a serious crisis of legitimacy and a failure to act soon may mean that democracy – such as it ever was – may lose the ability to be resuscitated and reformed at all.
An Iraqi protester gestures the v-sign during a demonstration against state corruption, failing public services and unemployment at Tayaran square in Baghdad on October 2, 2019. [Getty]
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Rather than democratic change, since the US invasion in 2003 Iraqis have complained of a sectarian, corrupt, and nepotistic political system that has brought little positive change to their lives.
Iranians gather in the northeastern city of Mashhad on January 5, 2020 to pay homage to top general Qasem Soleimani and others after they were killed in a US strike in Baghdad [Getty Images]
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Whilst the main protagonists of the Iran-Iraq War have long departed, the seeds sowed by the conflict continue to have rippling effects for the region today. With Iranian soft power at unprecedented levels, what will the future hold for Iraq?