BAGHDAD: Iraq’s caretaker Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi warned on Saturday that the political crisis in the country was threatening security achievements made in past years.
“This political crisis threatens the security achievements and the nation’s stability,” he said in a speech marking Islamic Day of Combatting Violence against Women in Baghdad.
“Now, the solution is for all political parties to make concessions for the interests of Iraq and Iraqis,” said Al-Kadhimi.
His warning is a clear indication of the dangers of one of Iraq’s worst political crises since the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq.
It is the result of disagreements between followers of Muqtada Al-Sadr and rival Iran-backed groups since last year’s parliamentary elections.
Al-Sadr won the largest share of seats in the October elections but failed to form a majority government, leading to what has become one of the worst political crises in Iraq in recent years.
On Saturday, Al-Sadr said “all parties” including his own should give up government positions in order to help resolve the political crisis.
Al-Sadr and his supporters have been calling for parliament to be dissolved and for new elections, but on Saturday he said doing so was not “so important.”
Instead, it is “more important” that “all parties and figures who have been part of the political process from the American occupation in 2003 until now no longer participate,” Al-Sadr said on Twitter.
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“That includes the Sadrist movement,” he added.
“I am ready to sign an agreement to this effect within 72 hours,” he said, warning that without such a move, “there would no longer be anymore room for reforms.”
Al-Sadr’s supporters have for weeks been staging a sit-in outside parliament, after initially storming the legislature’s interior, to press for their demands.
On Tuesday, they also pitched tents outside the judicial body’s headquarters in Baghdad for several hours.
Last week, the prime minister called for a meeting of senior political leaders and party representatives to find a solution.
He warned that if “fighting erupts, the shootings will not stop and will remain for years.”
Iraq has witnessed relative stability since Daesh was largely defeated in the country in 2017.
But terrorists have continued to wage attacks, frequently hitting security forces and military targets with roadside bombs and firing on convoys or checkpoints.
During the rise of Daesh, when it controlled large parts of Iraq, deadly explosions were common in the oil-rich country.