These days Iran views the Prime Ministry of Mr. Haider al-Abadi as in contrast with its interests in Iraq. In this regard Tehran has dispatched its proxy, former Iraqi premier Nouri al-Maliki, to take on Mr. al-Abadi.
In the past few days reports have been heard from inside the Iraqi government of an increase in Maliki’s measures and plots against the al-Abadi government. Many political circles believe Maliki, receiving orders from Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei, intends to topple the al-Abadi government. In the beginning of November Maliki held separate meetings with militia leaders aimed at gaining their support as these groups have joined forces under the command of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF).
On the other hand since Maliki has no official political post he intends to declare his expulsion from the vice presidency post by Prime Minister al-Abadi as illegal and gather the support of militias behind his cause. Maliki’s objective is to establish a coalition against al-Abadi for future developments in Iraq.
Tariq al-Harab, Maliki’s legal advisor who for 8 years provided legal cover for Maliki’s illegal measures, issued a statement on November 5th over the vice presidency posts: “Revoking the post is part of the Prime Minister’s authority as he is the official in charge of directly executing the government’s policies based on article 78 of the constitution. However, expelling officials from their post is under the authority of the President in based on Law #1 of 2011. Therefore, this inflicted a significant blow to Maliki.
1. In the beginning of November Maliki held secret separate meetings with leaders of known militia chiefs from the Asaeb, Najba, 9th Badr Corps including Qeis Khazali, Akram Ka’bi and Hadi Ameri, and the media never reported on these meetings. Moreover, Maliki has held various meetings with a number of smaller militia groups, with the goal of gaining their support for future measures against al-Abadi.
2. Based on the intelligence received the focus of these discussions were on how to topple al-Abadi and his government, and these meetings are attempting to pave the grounds for such actions.
3. After restricting al-Abadi’s reforms and placing a contingent on these measures to the Parliament, through the State of Law and other representatives of associated parties Maliki is attempting to impose his own hegemony over al-Abadi’s reforms. The Iraqi Prime Minister has in response followed his own measures through the Marjaiya, or supreme Shiite religious authority, leaders of political groups and the backing of popular demonstrations to not allow the State of Law stop his reform plans in the Parliament.
4. Militia leaders in their meetings with Maliki have raised issues over the problems and restrictions imposed on their forces by al-Abadi. Maliki is using the levers of the PMF and al-Abadi’s own policies to further the divide between the militia groups and the Iraqi Prime Minister. Maliki has in the past month on numerous occasions expressed his support for the PMF and militia groups.
5. An element linked to the Supreme Islamic Council of Iraq made the following remarks about Maliki’s policies: “Maliki is investing on the PMF and militia groups. He is strongly seeking to take control over their leadership and this is the only method for his return to power.”
6. Maliki has enormous amounts of money and his associates are still working in the ministries of interior and defense. Therefore, through these levers he can act as a major barrier before al-Abadi’s actions.
7. A member of the Asaeb al-Haq Political Bureau by the name of Mehdi al-Hosseini made the following remarks over al-Abadi’s policies: “To this day there has yet to be any mentioning of officially evicting al-Abadi from the prime ministry post. However, if he continues his political pertinacity he will be set aside from the Prime Ministry post… the resistance front in Iraq and Asaeb al-Haq have yet to reach such a conclusion to set Mr. al-Abadi aside from the prime ministry. If al-Abadi continues his measures against the PMF, a change in the prime ministry is possible and quite probable.”
“Al-Abadi’s reforms was a mere brag and show off, and he has not been able to implement any of his decisions because Maliki continues to welcome guests as the vice president and refuses to hand over his office to the government,” he added.
8. Baha al-Araji, the representative of the 9th Badr Brigade in the Iraqi Parliament, alluded in an interview with the state-run al-Iraqiya TV on October 22nd referring to Maliki’s measures against al-Abadi: “The National Alliance is completely against the reforms because it does not see its interests in the reforms advancing. Iran doesn’t want al-Abadi, and since it cannot take a firm stance before al-Abadi he has resorted to other methods of stonewalling against the Iraqi Prime Minister. Those individuals in the National Alliance that are close to Iran are the main obstacles before the reforms.”
9. Al Jazeera TV on November 5th cited a leader of Iraq’s Dawa Party saying Maliki is seeking to launch a new project aimed at participating in the provincial elections of 2017 and parliamentary elections in 2018. Arrangements have been made for a preliminary meeting to be held on November 21st for the leaders of a new elections list headed by Maliki dubbed the “al-Hashad al-Moqadas” (Sacred Assembly) in Najaf, southern Iraq.
10. On November 8th Maliki in Karbala referred to the fact that the Parliament will not transfer his authority to al-Abadi. “Revoking the vice presidency post is not legal. The Parliament has yet to evaluate this matter. If the Parliament retrieved the authority transfer it means that all decisions made must be evaluated… reforms must not be in contradiction with the law,” he said.
1) Maliki is plotting and resorting to all his assets against al-Abadi and leading his government into utter failure.
2) Maliki’s measures and using militia groups and the PMF against al-Abadi’s policies, taking place with full support provided by the Iranian regime, will lead to al-Abadi being weakened.
3) If al-Abadi is weakened it will allow the Iranian regime and Quds Force-linked militia groups in Iraq to have a more open hand and al-Abadi will show no reaction in the face of Tehran’s actions.
4) Since the State of Law is mainly in support of Maliki, al-Abadi is seeking to form a new coalition against the State of Law.