Author: Iraqi Thoughts

Kurds Look to Baghdad as Confidence in the KRG Plummets

Protests in Sulaymaniyah on December 18, 2017 (Feriq Fereç/Anadolu Agency) In an article for Foreign Policy just before the Kurdish independence referendum, Bernard-Henry Lévy wrote that the Kurdistan Region of Iraq is, “a secular and democratic friend of the West with an elected parliament and free press.” When Lévy wrote these words, the Kurdistan Region’s parliament had been inactive for 2 years, and two months later the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) would be cracking down on protests and arresting opposition politicians, journalists and activists across the province of Sulaymaniyah. The suppression on freedom of speech and illegal arrests by...

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Analyzing Voter Attitudes Towards 2018 Elections in Iraq

Hashim Al-Rikabi A recent nationwide public opinion survey looked at voter attitudes towards the upcoming parliamentary and provincial elections in Iraq, scheduled for May 2018.  The results of the survey, which interviewed 2,300 people across all 18 provinces, offer some interesting insights into voter participation, preferences and priorities. Electoral Participation The survey results found that approximately 59% of participants expressed willingness to participate in the upcoming elections in contrast to 16% who said they would not vote, and 25% who were undecided. There was no difference between males and females in regards to the participation (males 60%, females 57%;...

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Rationalizing the Debate Over the PMF’s Future: An Organizational Perspective

The Iraqi armed forces achieved one of the greatest military victories in recent history, and many Iraqis sacrificed their lives to defeat ISIS, one of the biggest threats to world peace. Nevertheless, the unjust media campaigns against the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), and more specifically the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), which, ironically, are often spearheaded by Iraq’s supposed allies, never stopped. Realistically speaking, one should not be surprised by the attacks against the PMF. Taking into consideration that it effectively disrupted many political equations and military balances in the region, the PMF will certainly become a target. Some Iraqi...

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Baghdad Proposes New Approach to Revenue Sharing with Erbil

By Ali Hadi al-Musawi Iraq’s proposed 2018 federal budget bill offers insights into how Baghdad plans to deal both politically and financially with the Kurdistan Region. In a departure from business as usual, the federal government has amended a decade long revenue sharing arrangement that has underpinned the basis of Erbil’s administrative autonomy in the post-2003 era. Cabinet approved the 2018 budget law on November 5, but wrangling within parliament has meant that it has yet to be put to a vote or even formally debated. According to State of Law MP, Khalid Al-Asadi, there are three outstanding issues...

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The Risk of Militia Participation in Elections

As Iraq nears provincial and parliamentary elections in May 2018, it is becoming clear that politicians affiliated with the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) will take part in the elections. Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi has been very clear that those who want to participate cannot do so as part of the PMF, regardless of the type of role they hold within the paramilitary forces. Members of parliament like Hadi Al-Ameri, a PMF commander, and Ahmed Al-Assadi, the former spokesperson of the PMF have already announced their intentions to run in the elections. They will do so by formally resigning from...

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