“If chaos continues” .. Al-Kazemi will take a “moral and patriotic” step

The successive events in Iraq during the past few days have raised talk about the crisis of “uncontrolled weapons” in the country, which prompted the Iraqi government to stress the need to “put arms in the hands of the state”, in light of the spread of armed militias, which experts describe as an “unresolved dilemma.” “.

Against the background of the armed escalation in Iraq, the caretaker prime minister in Iraq, Mustafa Al-Kazemi, announced the formation of an investigation committee to determine those responsible for placing weapons in the hands of those who opened fire on the demonstrators.

Al-Kazemi said, “For more than two years, we have been adopting a policy of restricting arms to the state’s hands, despite all the accusations, appeals and missiles directed at us.”

Al-Kazemi pointed to the necessity of “putting weapons under the authority of the state,” speaking of a crisis in Iraq due to “uncontrolled weapons,” according to the Iraqi News Agency, “conscious.”

But before that, an Iraqi government official told Reuters that the authorities cannot impose their control over the rival armed factions, stressing that the government is powerless to stop this, because the army is divided between loyalists (to Iran) and followers of al-Sadr.

power struggle

Members of Sadr's Peace Brigades fighters gather during clashes with Iraqi security forces near the Green Zone, in Baghdad,...

Al-Sadr’s Peace Brigades fighters in the Green Zone in Baghdad on August 30, 2022

The clashes that erupted on Monday and lasted for nearly 24 hours between an armed group loyal to the leader of the Sadrist movement, Muqtada al-Sadr, and rival Shiite factions backed by Iran, killed 30 people and wounded about 600 others, according to “AFP”.

After the clashes, Sadr ordered his followers, on Tuesday, to end their protests in central Baghdad to calm the tension that led to the bloodiest violence in the Iraqi capital in years.

The clashes between the rival factions came after ten months of political stalemate in the country since the parliamentary elections last October.

Because of the sharp divisions between the political parties, neither a new prime minister was appointed nor a government formed after the elections, and the parliament failed to elect a new president for a country that is among the world’s richest countries in its oil resources, but is mired in economic and social crises.

Muqtada al-Sadr and his most prominent opponents in the coordination framework, including former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, agree on one point to resolve the crisis, which is the need for new early elections, but al-Sadr insists on dissolving parliament first, while his opponents want to form a government before parliament.

The coordination framework represents the political front of the popular crowd, whose absolute loyalty to Iran is subjected to “sharp criticism” from a wide segment of Iraqis, according to “AFP”.

It is clear that the crisis continues, because the two main Shiite blocs did not reach a consensus, which prompted experts to assert that “the state is the biggest loser because it monitors (only) two powerful armed groups fighting for power,” according to the agency.

These facts raise a question about the state’s ability to confront the dilemma of uncontrolled weapons.

“Militia State”

Supporters of the popular crowd gather to commemorate the second anniversary of the killing of an Iranian...

Supporters of the Popular Mobilization gather to commemorate the second anniversary of the killing of Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad on January 1, 2022

The director of the Iraqi Center for Strategic Studies, Ghazi Hussein, spoke about “the spread of the phenomenon of uncontrolled weapons in Iraq due to sectarian militias linked to foreign parties,” describing this as a “complex crisis.”

Speaking to Al-Hurra website, he indicated that most of these militias are militarily linked to the “Iranian Revolutionary Guards and the Quds Force.”

“The number of these militias is about 34, and they receive training, armament, and financial support from Iran, which gave Tehran wide influence within Iraqi territory,” according to Hussein’s speech.

He continues: “These militias represent a deep state within the state in Iraq, and they possess economic, financial and political capabilities, and they have factories for weapons, missiles and drones” in some areas of the country.

The Iraqi political analyst, Lina Mazloum, points to “a problem that has been going on for years due to the refusal of the majority of these militias to hand over their heavy weapons to the government and join the Iraqi army.”

Mazloum says: “Over the past years, these militias have been able to turn Iraq into a backyard for international conflicts, targeting Western and diplomatic interests to serve Iranian interests.”

The Iraqi strategic researcher, Makhlid Hazem Al-Darb, spoke of “a crisis that has been rooted in the country for years due to the complex sectarian quotas within the Iraqi state.”

In his interview with Al-Hurra, he points to the loyalty of some military leaders who follow the orders of parties and blocs, “which has thwarted security efforts to restore security in Iraq” and created militias with non-national loyalties.

These militias possess a “military, political and financial base” and engage in illegal activities such as “drug and weapons smuggling,” according to Al-Darb hadith.

Al-Darb stressed the impossibility of controlling the phenomenon of “arms unleashed” because these militias are “stronger than the government” and have “political parties” in Parliament, and were able to control “all the joints of the Iraqi state.”

What is the solution?

Al-Sadr's Peace Brigades fighters fire their weapons during clashes with Iraqi security forces near the Green Zone in Baghdad...

Al-Sadr’s Peace Brigades fighters fire their weapons during clashes in Baghdad on August 30, 2022

These data prompted the experts with whom Al-Hurra spoke to stress that “there are no internal solutions to the deep-rooted crisis.”

Ghazi Hussein enslaves the possibility of solving the crisis of uncontrolled weapons through a “military confrontation” between the Iraqi army and militias whose numbers are estimated at tens of thousands, because this will cause a “real massacre”.

He believes that the intervention of the international community, whether “diplomatic, political or military,” may be the best solution to confront the phenomenon of “organized violence” in Iraqi society, and to disband those militias that represent an “armed state within the state.”

Mukhaled al-Darb talks about the inability to confront these armed militias and solve the crisis of uncontrolled weapons, except through the intervention of an “international international outsider”.

Lina Mazloum agrees with that, who stresses the “need for the international community to intervene” to stop the bleeding of Iraqis’ blood at the hands of armed militias, in the absence of “internal solutions to the crisis.”

Mazloum points out that “these militias threaten the security and stability of the entire Middle East region, not just Iraq.”