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Shafaq News/ The American magazine " [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] " warned that the apparent calm in Iraq would turn into a calm before the storm, attacking the pro-Iranian forces' takeover of the government, parliament, judiciary, economy and security, at a time when the US administration says it is comfortable with the Iraqi developments, and it is preoccupied with its current conflict with China , While there is a danger that Iraq will turn into a "judicial dictatorship."
Shafaq News agency translated the American report under the title " [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] ", and it stated: "Iraq appears on the surface as if it has achieved a degree of stability, after the formation of an effective government after a political vacuum that lasted a year, and after terrorist violence declined to its lowest level since the American invasion." year 2003".
The report recalled a speech delivered by National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan on May 4 at The Washington Institute, in which he considered that the US strategy based on the "twin pillars of deterrence and diplomacy" contributed to limiting attacks on US interests in Iraq, noting that The real measure of success for a Joe Biden administration is de-escalation of tensions between the United States and the Iran-backed militias that dominate the Iraqi government. He said the White House believes regional de-escalation is vital, in order to allow the United States to focus on competition with China.
But the report warned that this approach could have long-term costs, as Washington's desire for calm is exploited by Tehran's allies, in order to destabilize. Therefore, the report says that Iraq may appear calm, but it may be deceptively calm.
The report considered that Iraq is entering a "uniquely dangerous phase" where Iran's allies have achieved unprecedented control over parliament, the judiciary and the executive branch, and they are rapidly manipulating the political system in their favor and plundering its wealth, warning that "the collapse of Iraq may lead to destabilization of the entire Middle East through Spread of refugees and terrorism.
Under the title "Victory of the Militias," the report recalled the stage of the parliamentary elections and the subsequent political and security events, the Sadrists' exit from the political game, the control of the coordination framework forces, and then the formation of the government of Muhammad Shia' al-Sudani, but indicated that "the monopoly of the coordination framework over all branches of the Iraqi government has never been There is nothing like it in the country's history after 2003."
The report stated that the coordination framework "rules with a level of absolute power that Iraq has not witnessed since the days of Saddam Hussein, and that al-Sudani is like a puppet," and that "the real forces are three warlords" who lead the coordination framework, and they are Qais Khazali, Nuri al-Maliki and Hadi al-Amiri.
Meanwhile, the report said, the United States is distracted by its geopolitical struggle with China and has reduced its goals to simply reducing tensions across the Middle East, regardless of the long-term cost to American interests in the region.
The report saw; The coordinating framework controls the cabinet and parliament until the next elections scheduled for October 2025. More importantly, he added, the framework forces are driving the positions of the judiciary to an extent not seen since the fall of Saddam.
The report explained; Chief Justice Faiq Zaidan is "a close ally of the warlords in charge of leading the coordination framework," recalling that the Supreme Court intervened decisively in the country's politics to consolidate the influence of the militias through its position by amending the criteria for forming the government when Muqtada al-Sadr was trying to form it by deciding that he needed a majority. Two-thirds in Parliament, rather than a simple majority.
In addition, the report said that the coordination framework forces control the intelligence service, Baghdad airport, anti-corruption agencies, and customs centers. He continued, saying that the Iranian-backed forces are using their influence within these institutions to step up their efforts to silence their opponents. The coordination framework plunders the state's resources for its own political benefit, referring in this context to the establishment of the "General Engineer Company" and to the use of the massive expansion of Iraq's budget in order to buy citizens' support for them.
The report stated that the United States prevented the formation of the "Engineer Company" during the era of Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi in 2018, and that former Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi opposed the formation of the company in 2022 when the Iranians offered him approval to establish the company in exchange for facilitating his obtaining a second government term. But Al-Sudani announced in November 2022 the formation of the “General Engineer Company for Construction, Engineering, and Mechanical, Agricultural and Industrial Contracting,” and this time, the United States did nothing.
The report pointed out that the company's "powers are unlimited," as it can work in any sector, as its name appears, and it can obtain free land, government capital, and state-owned institutions, and it can carry out construction and demolition work without the approval of the Council of Ministers or Parliament, and he mentioned that this happened in January. December 2022, on 1.2 million acres of government land along the Iraqi-Saudi border at no cost. To set up a project dedicated to planting trees, noting that the land area is half the size of Lebanon and more than 50 times larger than the largest agricultural project planned in the history of Iraq.
The report also indicated that the land is located in a strategic location in an area where Iraqi militias have launched drones on Saudi Arabia and the UAE on multiple occasions since 2019.
The report warned that the continued growth of Al-Muhandis Company will represent a severe blow to Iraq, and will frustrate the United States' hopes about the country's economic future.
After referring to the largest budget in Iraq's history, with a volume of spending of $152 billion, an increase of nearly 50% over the last Iraqi budget in 2021, the report said that this "reckless level of spending ignores the warnings of the United States, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, which called on Iraq to to shrink its bloated public sector.
The report considered that the forces of the coordination framework are trying to buy loyalty through unsustainable spending, including the creation of no less than 701,000 new government jobs, an increase of 17% in government employees within one year, indicating in this context the endeavor to increase the size of the forces. The Popular Mobilization Forces increased from 122,000 people to 238,000, a 95% increase in the number of state-funded militias in a country experiencing the lowest levels of violence in two decades.
Therefore, the report says that burdening the state with salary obligations, the coordination framework will thus be like laying the foundation for future instability, as this fiscal policy will lead to the elimination of most of Iraq's reserves amounting to $115 billion within half a decade, and that in the event of a decline in oil prices Baghdad will collapse faster.
In addition, the report said that for the United States, "the apparent calm in Iraq may turn into the calm before the storm," noting that it is not the first time that Washington believes that it is on the road to stability in Iraq, as after the 2010 elections, a re-election took place. Assigning Nuri al-Maliki to a second disastrous term, the United States tried to wash its hands of the country, but pro-Iranian forces manipulated the formation of the government and spread corruption and nepotism. Iraq seemed calm as the United States withdrew militarily in 2011, but two years later Washington was forced to return to the bloody war after ISIS took over a third of the country. Therefore, the report considered that "Washington cannot allow history to repeat itself."
The report believed that the United States does not need to send troops or billions of dollars to help reverse the dangerous trends taking place in Iraq, as American financial and intelligence capabilities can still play an influential role on the actions of Iraqi officials, as many of them have ambitions and political interests in trade and in banking. international.
For example, the report quoted US diplomatic sources as saying that Faeq Zaidan was very concerned when three members of Congress sent a letter to President Biden in February, in which they indicated that Zaidan might be targeted for sanctions.
The report indicated that Washington needs to use such influence to express its concern about the situation of the judiciary in Iraq and its leadership. The report warned that there is "a real danger that Iraq will become a kind of judicial dictatorship," explaining that governments come and go, but the judiciary serves as a permanent club used by Iranian-backed militias.
The report called on the United States to fulfill its promises to support American values of democracy and human rights, support investigative journalism, and use its financial intelligence capabilities to find money hidden abroad by corrupt officials and return this money to Iraq, as is the case with regard to the "theft of the century" money.
However, according to the report, the most urgent thing for Washington is to work "isolating the General Engineer Company from the Iraqi economy before it pollutes the investment scene in the country." Although the report indicated that it is calculated by the US government that the engineer company is already subject to scrutiny by the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the US Treasury Department and the Office of the Global Anti-Corruption Coordinator, but that "this must be translated into its classification into sanctions."
The report concluded by saying that the United States can be on the right side of history in Iraq if it continues to push hard against the worst abuses of the militias behind the current government. The report added that Washington, even despite its rivalry with China and the ongoing war in Ukraine, can still Using its voice and its financial and intelligence capabilities with the aim of weakening anti-democratic forces and giving young people, reformers and anti-corruption investigators in Iraq the opportunity to defend the fragile democracy that hardly exists in Iraq.
Translation: Shafak News Agency
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