The interactions of the Iraqi scene, which followed the parade of factions from the Popular Mobilization Forces in the Green Zone on May 26, in response to the arrest of the Iraqi security authorities, Qassem Musleh al-Khafaji, the commander of West Anbar operations in the crowd, a blockage in the relationship between the political backer of the state militias and the Iraqi government. , which is an expected context in light of the mutual view between the two parties about the limits of responsibility and powers granted to the government. The political wings of the state militias, especially “Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq” and the Iraqi “Hezbollah”, and most of the components of the “Al-Fateh Coalition” view the government as a transitional government, whose powers are limited to reaching the legislative elections station, and dealing with the rest of the files with the logic of “managing business.” . On the other hand, the government considers itself a government with full constitutional powers, but it is governed only by a period of time during the transitional period.
Although these contexts were not surprising in the context of the relationship between the two parties, especially the position of the Prime Minister, Mustafa Al-Kazemi, who declared his challenge more than once to the positions of political leaders affiliated with the crowd, and his insistence on investigating Khafaji through official channels, and not handing him over to the security of the crowd according to What some of its leaders demanded, but it can be said that this incident constitutes a crossroads in general in the Iraqi scene, in light of a number of indicators, including:
1- Involvement of the armed forces for the first time in the crisis
The Minister of Defense, Jumaa Inad, was keen to send direct messages that the role of the PMF militias has limits on the ground, as he said that “Whoever believes that the liberation operations that took place against the terrorist organization (ISIS) would not have been completed without the PMF, is mistaken, because the forces of It was the army that contributed to the liberation of Iraq, and it could carry out the liberation operations alone, but the crowd only contributed to the acceleration of liberation, and had it not been for the support of the army’s aviation and the air force, the victory would not have happened.” These statements, which Enad repeated more than once, were interpreted as an attempt to reduce The role of the crowd in the war against ISIS, noting that its role accelerated the process, but it was not the exclusive role, in the context of the stubbornness of protest against the militias’ military parade at the Green Zone, and its assertion that this parade does not frighten the state that can control it. .
2- Shaking the position of the crowd
The crowd has officially become accused, as the previous incident was the first of its kind at this level, and it also opened other files, including the fact of loyalty and affiliation to some of the crowd forces to the state, and the extent to which the crowd is employed in the political scene, to play roles in the interest of political forces that wish to exclude Activists from the election scene, so as not to affect the political momentum of the crowd.
3- The militia crack series
The military parade led to divergent attitudes within the crowd, as there is a sector against those trends practiced by politicians affiliated with the militias, but mostly this sector tried to remain silent or neutral in the crisis, on the other hand, the parade was for a sector directed by political leaders who have a rivalry with Al-Kazemi, and insists It is a battle in which it must win, which was evident in the celebrations of those factions when the release of al-Khafaji was announced, before that news was denied, which represents the second stage of the crack in the path of the crowd, and its division between the crowd of “thresholds” loyal to the reference Iraq, which held a conference last September, in which it announced not to engage in political action, and the loyalist mobilization affiliated with Tehran, was followed by talk recently about the formation of the Revolutionary Guards’ secret armed factions and new loyalties.
4- Multiple Clashes
The clash began by talking about the responsibility for breaking the prestige of the state. Hadi Al-Amiri, in his first statement, linked the prestige of the crowd to the prestige of the state, and considered that “whoever breaks the prestige of the crowd breaks the prestige of the state.” On the other hand, the statements of Al-Kazemi, and then the Minister of Defense, on the contrary, came when she emphasized her resistance to the manifestations of “arms running out”, which represented an attempt to break the prestige of the state. The circle of internal clashes gradually widened. It was also noticeable that the Islamic Supreme Council, led by Ammar al-Hakim, which is affiliated with the Fatah coalition led by Hadi al-Amiri, criticized the military parade, which reflects the divergence of political positions within the coalition.
The scene of divergence in attitudes shifted sharply to various institutions, including Parliament, which witnessed a stormy session, in which the Al-Fateh bloc launched an attack on the government, specifically the Minister of Defense, to the point of accusing him of incitement and provocation, and demanding his accountability. There also seemed to be a discrepancy about the position of the “reference” when Excerpts from the “Victory” sermon by Iraqi authority Ali al-Sistani were republished in 2017, in which he called on those who participated in the adequacy defense to maintain “a high position and a good reputation,” and not to exploit the position to achieve political ends. There are those who considered that the republishing was just a coincidence. , While most observers considered it not a coincidence, but a projection of the current crisis.
It can be said that the interactions taking place in the Iraqi political arena may go one of the following two tracks:
1- Tactical retreat of the crowd
The crowd may have lost a round, but it will continue the battle against Al-Kazemi, as a kind of tactic to stop the collision, which came in the context of talking about a truce between the parties, non-escalation through armed manifestations, and contentment with political escalation, as happened in Parliament, by transforming an alliance Opening the scene from the confrontation with the Prime Minister to a confrontation with the Minister of Defense, as an instigator against the crowd, in parallel with the attempt to avoid the growing wave of escalation on the part of political activists, who launched the “Who killed me” campaign, in an attempt that might shake the crowd’s image during the upcoming elections stage. , while retaining a margin for mediation in order to soften the atmosphere.
2- The most violent wave of escalation
Even with the containment of the Khafaji crisis and its repercussions, it is not believed that it is the last crisis in light of the two sides reaching the stage of clash, as a second, more violent wave of mutual escalation may erupt if political assassinations continue, especially since there is a party in the accusation circle, in addition to the containment process. And the mediation roles played by some forces will not change the equation of the relationship that has been established between Al-Kazemi and his opponents, and has turned into a “bone-breaking” battle, and the crisis may be fueled again if Al-Khafaji is convicted.
advanced stage of clash
It can be said that the precedent of Qassem al-Khafaji’s arrest and its repercussions, according to Iraqi observers, represents an advanced stage of the clash between state and non-state forces, and it will be credited to the transitional government that it has re-shed light on the priority of rehabilitating the state, an unprecedented scene in the Iraqi case, but it remains linked to the stage Transitional, and has not yet been tested in the natural contexts in which governments are formed as an expression of the balances of power, and therefore the actual test will appear in the light of the results of the upcoming elections, and whether they will reshape the previous balances of power or change the map, but outside the context of the transitional phase, the special variable The relationship between the armed forces and the crowd may take an independent path in the medium and long term, and most likely the relationship will remain governed by tension in light of the challenge of institutional integration.
• The Minister of Defense, Jumaa Inad, was keen to send direct messages that the role of the PMF militias has limits on the ground, as he said that “Whoever believes that the liberation operations that took place against the terrorist organization (ISIS) would not have been completed without the PMF, is mistaken, because It was the army forces that contributed to the liberation of Iraq.”