The nuclear deal between Iran and P5+1 (the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council-The United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, France, and China-Plus Germany) and the European Union was signed in summer of 2015. On May 8, 2018, Donald Trump, the president of the United States, announced its withdrawal from the deal due to breaking the deal by Iran. Trump also announced that the United States of America will impose more sanctions on Iran and those countries that have helped Iran. He simultaneously said the U.S. will try to contain Iran because the deal not only has not been able to limit Iran’s power and activity but also has made the Middle East much more problematic and chaotic whilst strengthening the terrorist groups in the region.
The future of Iraq and the role of Iran
The people of Iraq cast their ballots on May 12, 2018, to elect a new parliament. According to the final results populist cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr’s coalition wins the majority of the seats (54) and took the first place. Fetih coalition headed by Hadi Amri has got 47 seats, Nasir coalition headed by Haidar Al-Abadi has got 42 seats and the State of Law, headed by Nuri Maliki, has got 26 seats. This result has complicated the process of forming the next cabinet. Iran through Major General Qasim Soleimani who is the commander of Quds Force wants to play a crucial role in forming Iraqi government and prevent Sadr from forming a new government. This is a scenario but there are some other scenarios as well.
Scenarios of forming Iraq's new cabinet
First Scenario (Forming a new government close to Iran)
This scenario argues that Iran plays a major role through Qasim Soleimani to shape a government that includes Maliki, Abadi and Hadi Amri to further increase its political and sectarian hegemony in Iraq and expel Sadr because Sadr is known as an anti-Iran and tries to prevent regional intervention and policy in Iraq. Abadi has already rejected to join this scenario.
Second Scenario (Forming a government close to the US)
The US wanted Abadi’s coalition to win and the US itself would have played a role to form a new government with the participation of most sides including Kurds because Abadi had kept the political and sectarian balance between Iran and Saudi Arabia and he didn’t allow Iran to impose its full hegemony on its cabinet. Additionally, Abadi was able to defeat ISIS with the help of Coalition forces, and preserved the unity of Iraq. The US argues that if Abadi becomes a prime minister once again the it will be capable of restoring political stability in Iraq and prevent Iran from intervening in Iraq’s internal affairs.
Third Scenario (Forming a technocrat government)
This scenario is about Sadr and its partners. Sadr’s bloc has won the majority and they want to form a technocrat cabinet which includes all different components of Iraq. Sadr’s conditions for this new government are: restoring political decision for Iraqis themselves, preventing Iran's intervention in Iraq and confronting corruption, but the weak point of this scenario is the Sadr’s stance against the US as he is also anti-America.
Challenges and opportunities for Kurds
The political process in Iraq is a multi-dimensional and comprehensive process. The model of democracy in Iraq is a concordant democracy. This means that all different components of Iraq would participate in government. Today, Kurds face many challenges and opportunities in the upcoming government.
1-There will be no political and constitutional guarantee for Kurds if they will separately go to Baghdad or will not form a united bloc and that their demands will be totally neglected by Baghdad.
2-If a majority government is formed and uses PMU to control military and civil apparatus the government will impose more economic and political sanctions on KRG.
1-KRG will be able to restore its diplomatic and political position or rebalance power through the participation in the upcoming government but it is necessary that Kurds go to Baghdad with a strong political agenda.
2-It is difficult to form a central and strong government by Shias because they are suffering from internal divisions, so the US may give another chance to Kurds to play their role in the next cabinet.