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Iraq: Rockets Hit Baghdad's 'Green Zone'

    Iraq: Rockets Hit Baghdad's 'Green Zone'
    Last updated: 2 months ago
    Image credit: aljazeera

    Facts

    • For the second day in a row on Thursday, and following weeks of relative calm, four rockets landed in Baghdad’s "Green Zone" - the area in which Iraqi government buildings and foreign missions are located. [1]
    • Local security forces stated that no one has claimed responsibility for the attack and no deaths were reported, though Iraqi state news reported that four security officers were wounded. [2]
    • The attack came after supporters of Iraqi Shiite Cleric Muqtada al-Sadr on Wednesday attempted to storm the Green Zone while parliament held a vote on the resignation of speaker Mohammed Halbousi. However, riot police confronted the protesters around the time that three rockets were fired into the area. [3]
    • The demonstrators' goal was to prevent parliament from convening, as al-Sadr's supporters are anxious that the Speaker of Parliament has shifted his support for the pro-Iran Coordination Framework Alliance (CFA). The protesters aim to block the naming of a new PM and the formation of a new governing coalition that excludes al-Sadr. [4]
    • Iraq's political scene has been mired by deadlock for almost a year since the October 2021 elections, in which al-Sadr's movement won the largest bloc in parliament but couldn't form a government due to objections from the CFA. The "Sadrist'" bloc then resigned in June. [2]
    • Last month, the dispute between al-Sadr and the pro-Iran CFA led to the worst armed clashes Baghdad has seen in years, with scores of dead and wounded as al-Sadr's militia attacked the Green Zone. Al-Sadr eventually stood down and called for his forces to withdraw from the city. [5]
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    Spin

    Al-Sadr, known for stirring the pot in Iraqi politics, is playing with fire. Though popular with many in the Shiite community, his unruly supporters and his fierce rhetoric are plunging Iraq into civil strife. His actions instigated the violence in Baghdad last month, and he should make way for the CFA, which now has a clear and legal pathway to governance.

    Iran is wholly to blame for the current crisis in Iraqi politics. The CFA, with Iranian support, has gone out of its way to derail al-Sadr. Al-Sadr even offered the CFA some seats after winning the biggest bloc in parliament, but the Alliance refused due to Iran's all-or-nothing attitude.

    Cynical narrative

    Al-Sadr has already lost to Iran, and antics like this aren't going to change that. The firebrand cleric did quite well in last year's elections, but his inability to form a government has led to a significant loss of ground to Iranian-backed groups.

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