Will Iraqi Elections be Decided in Iraq?

By Mustafa al-Kadhimi for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraqis have long repeatedly said that political decisions are taken outside the country, and that regional and international agreements specify the trajectory of new governments. As soon as the results of last month’s elections were announced, all attention was channeled to outside powers to know the real result.

Political events are not isolated but instead are highly interrelated. One cannot disregard the influence of Iran on major Shiite powers, that of Turkey on Iraqi Kurdistan and some Sunni factions and that of Saudi Arabia on some Sunni powers. Certainly, one also cannot talk about an Iraqi policy away from the role and influence of Washington.

The scenarios of the 2006 and 2010 elections are expected to repeat again this year. Iraqi political forces will likely push the crisis deeper and cling to their positions, while refusing to make concessions. Without hesitation, they will push the political process to the brink, thus creating a perfect environment for foreign interference, as these powers will not hesitate to call for this intervention.

Iraqi political culture still gives foreign powers roles that these powers did not even think about playing. Political conflicts include foreign influences as part of a game, according to which Iraqi parties empower themselves and weaken their rivals.

For example, some political and media circles talked about Washington not supporting Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s quest for a third mandate or of a “political majority” forming the government. Other circles said that Iran supports a third term, while others believed that Iran and Washington support Maliki. Another group, however, said that neither country supported Maliki.

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