Author: Tronserve admin
Friday 30th July 2021 05:40 AM
News Analysis: Iraqi New Gov't Faces Tough Challenges Amid COVID-19, Low Oil Prices
BAGHDAD, June 8 (Xinhua) -- After months of tough wrangling of political parties, the Iraqi parliament finally approved on June 6 the full cabinet line-up of Mustafa al-Kadhimi, who is set to lead the country after months of huge challenges that faces the country.
A day after the approval, al-Kadhimi held the first meeting of his full cabinet to discuss the plans that the government could apply to deal with the anti-corruption protests, economic crisis, spread of coronavirus and growing threat of Islamic State (IS) militants.
"We have put the plans, but that entails that all Iraqis to cooperate with the government to put the state on the right path," al-Kadhimi said in a statement after the meeting.
However, many of local analysts believe that it is still too early to see how the situation will develop to an answer a question like: will thinks improve with al-Kadhimi's government?
Nadhum Ali Abdullah, an Iraqi expert of the Arab Forum for Political Analysis, tried to answer the question to Xinhua, saying that al-Kadhimi has an immense task as he is facing enormous internal and external challenges.
One of the internal challenges is the security situation as the extremist Islamic State (IS) group has been intensifying their deadly attacks against the security forces and civilians in different areas across Iraq, let alone the uncontrolled weapons of the tribes and many militias with transborder allegiance, according to Abdullah.
"Those uncontrolled groups are actually paralyzing the Iraqi economy, as they have the ability to carry out smuggling activities and threaten the trade movement of the border crossings," Abdullah said.
Al-Kadhimi's government is also facing other challenges including COVID-19 pandemic at a time the country is suffering from fragile health system after years of conflicts and chaos following the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.
These challenges have added to what was already a severe deterioration of public services, corruption, widespread unemployment, and an increase in the number of Iraqis under the poverty line, in addition to the presence of hundreds of thousands of displaced people, Abdullah said.
However, given the fact that Iraq depends on more than 90 percent of its economy on revenues from selling crude oil, Abdullah believes that the most urgent challenge for al-Kadhimi's government is how to deal with the severe economic hardship resulting from plummeting oil prices, amid the global recession due to the coronavirus pandemic.
As for the external challenges, Abdullah said al-Kadhimi's government will have to pursue a clear and balanced rhetoric with the regional and international countries, including the conflict between Iran and the United States on the Iraqi soil.
Al-Kadhimi's government is also seeking to restore the relations with neighboring countries, foremost of which are the Gulf states and Turkey, to cooperate especially in the issues of water and the export of Iraqi oil through their ports.
For his part, Ibrahim al-Ameri, a lecturer of politics in Baghdad University, told Xinhua that he sees the root of all Iraqi crises is the political infight, which makes the political parties to become almost incapable of responding to the needs of the Iraqi citizens.
Since October 2019, mass anti-government demonstrations have been continuing in Baghdad and other cities in central and southern, demanding comprehensive reform, fight against corruption, better public services and more job opportunities.
Al-Kadhimi is not expected to do more than seeking step-by-step reform within the existing system to seek a new balance between the badly wanted reform and the parties' interests, al-Ameri said.
Al-Kadhimi will also face the deadlock with the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan, which expectations see that he could make an impressive success as the new prime minister believes in federalism and decentralization as effective governance policies to ensure the sovereignty and unity of the Iraqi state. Such vision could provide a strong starting point for the future negotiations between Baghdad and Erbil, al-Ameri concluded.
Hashim al-Shamaa, a political analyst and member of Iraq Center for legal development, despite Iraq's huge problems, the new government has tremendous opportunities ahead because the national, regional, and international interests are looking forward to the success of the al-Kadhimi's government.
"Such a consensus on al-Kadhimi is rarely available to any of his predecessors, despite that many Iraqis are still skeptical about his success, as the man inherited huge challenges while he has even less time than his predecessors to enact change that will truly benefit people's lives," al-Shamaa said.
"Al-Kadhimi made a series of promises in his governmental program, if he managed to implement three of his promises: holding early elections, saving Iraq from the economic crisis and bringing those who killed and kidnapped the peaceful demonstrators to justice, then we can say he made an impressive success in his term," al-Shamaa concluded. Enditem