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Extension of Iraqi PM’s Term Sparks Dispute within Coordination Framework


Asharq Al-Awsat


The extension of the term of Iraqi caretaker Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi has sparked a sharp dispute within the Shiite pro-Iran Coordination Framework, revealed Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish sources.
Head of the Sadrist movement, Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr supports the extension, while powers close to Iran are seeking to thwart the move.
A source from the Hikma movement, of Ammar al-Hakim, revealed that the Shiite forces are holding secret dialogue with Sadr ahead of the formation of a new government by the Framework and that they are seeking to nominate Kadhimi as its prime minister.
One movement in the Framework believes that proposing Kadhimi to head the new cabinet would make negotiating with Sadr much smoother, it added.
Supporters of the extension have been promoting the idea to Iranian factions to persuade them to go with it.
For the first time since the eruption of the crisis in Iraq in October 2021, activists in the Framework criticized Lebanese cleric Mohammed Kawtharani, Hezbollah’s official in charge of the Iraq file, over his role in promoting the extension.
Another influential Shiite figure, secretary of the Islamic Movement of Iraq, Shibl al-Zaidi, has also been criticized.
Zaidi had previously claimed that some political forces are hindering the Framework from coming up with a unified leadership and clear political vision.
Meanwhile, a senior political source revealed that Shiite forces affiliated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) have received clear messages that “Tehran rejects the eruption of intra-Shiite strife in Iraq.”
They also are “uncomfortable” with the formation of a government that Sadr opposes.
Such a scenario will transform Sadr into a “victor in his battle with the Framework,” explained the source.
This will prompt Shiite forces, including Sadr’s rival former PM Nouri al-Maliki, to work against the development of such a scenario
On the Kurdish front, leaders of the Kurdish Democratic Party have refrained from commenting on the possibility of extending Kadhimi’s term.
One of the officials said KDP leader Masoud Barzani favors a “lasting settlement that secures the country’s political and social stability.”

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