Qatar’s amir congratulates Iraq’s new prime minister-designate

Iraq has been grappling with a political deadlock since last year’s elections.

Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani congratulated Iraq’s new Prime Minister-designate Mohammed Al Sudani on his election following a year of political deadlock in Baghdad.

Last week, Iraq elected Kurdish politician Abdul Latif Rashid as president who secured victory against former leader Barham Salih. Rashid then named Al Sudani as the prime minister-designate. 

In a phone call on Wednesday, the amir wished Al Sudani “success in his role” and discussed bilateral relations between Qatar and Iraq. Separately, the amir congratulated Rashid on his election in a separate phone call on the same day.

According to Reuters, Rashid had served as the Iraqi minister of water resources between 2003-2010. Sudani was formerly Iraq’s human rights minister and previously served as the minister of labour and social affairs.

Sudani was given 30 days to form a government, following three attempts this year to form an administration in Iraq.

The previous elections took place in October last year and saw the Sadrist movement, led by Shia leader Muqtada Al-Sadr, take the win.

However, elections were followed by clashes between government forces and those supporting Iran-backed political parties.

In November last year, then caretaker Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi survived an assasination attempt in a drone attack. Two of the drones were intercepted and thwarted by security forces but a third hit Al-Kadhimi’s residence, without any deaths.

Iraq has been grappling with a political deadlock since the latest elections, as Sadr refused to negotiate with his Iran-backed Shia rivals. Sadr has long expressed his opposition towards Iranian interference in Iraq’s politics.

In August, tensions soared in Iraq after Sadr stepped down from political activities, leading to violent protests by his loyalists.

Sadr’s decision came after months of unrest in Iraq, with his supporters calling for new elections and the dissolving of the parliament.

Iraq ranks among the most corrupt countries in the world, as per the Transparency International index. Currently it ranks 160 out of 180 countries.

Fighting corruption has been among the key demands by millions of Iraqis who flocked to the streets during the 2019 protests. Civilians also demonstrated against unemployment and a lack of basic services.

Since the US overthrow of former leader Saddam Hussein in 2003, several alliances that comprise of both Sunnis and Iraqi Kurds have formed in Iraq’s parliament.

Iraq has struggled for years since the US invasion, in which the country’s health ministry said at least 151,000 were killed between 2003 and 2006. However, the total number of civilian casualties remains disputed.

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