ERBIL — The commander of Iran’s Quds Force, Ismail Qaani, arrived in Baghdad on Monday, less than 24 hours after the Iraqi parliamentary elections.
Russian news agencies said Qaani’s visit to Baghdad was not publicized as he is scheduled to meet with the Iran-backed Shia factions.
The visit is believed to be part of Iran’s immediate reaction to the initial results of Sunday’s elections in Iraq, a neighbor where Iran maintains a huge influence.
Many political observers see Qaani’s visit to Baghdad as a plan to organize the Shia factions for the formation of the next Iraqi government, whose prime minister’s office is reserved for the Shias.
According to the initial results of the elections, the Sadrist Movement, led by populist cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, has taken the first place in the race for the next Iraqi legislature.
However, due to the record low turnout, the Sadrists are not believed to have a clear majority to form the next government alone. Therefore, they are expected to form coalitions with other major Shia factions to appoint the next prime minister of Iraq.