When Barham Saleh was elected President of the Republic on October 2, 2018, the Shiite politician, Adil Abdul Mahdi was entrusted to form a new Iraqi government, replacing the outgoing Prime Minister Haidar Abadi, who led Iraq over the past four years, preoccupied with the war on the terrorist organization ISIS. On 24 of this month, the Iraqi Council of Representatives voted on 14 ministries out of 22 ones nominated by Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi. After the Council’s vote on more than half the cabinet , Adel Abdul Mahdi was sworn in as Prime Minister and Commander-in-Chief of the Iraqi Armed Forces .
Adel Abdul Mahdi is one of the founding leaders of the “Iraq after 2003”, seen as a long-standing figure in Iraqi politics, as an independent figure capable of making a compromise between the internal and external parties strongly present on the Iraqi political scene. He is not extraordinary on Iraqi politics. He was well known of his influence and power that his name was presented on every entitlement in Iraq , as a compromise candidate who is acceptable to all parties, therefore, this “Veteran” bears in his hands, a lot that enables him to carry out the task entrusted to him.
He is acceptable to Tehran as well as to Washington, a necessary consensus in a country that has long found itself in the midst of tension between these two bitter enemies, Baghdad’s allies. Abdul Mahdi is also credited with maintaining good relations with Kurdish leaders, a major advantage of normalization of relations with Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region which conducted a failed referendum on independence from Baghdad a year ago.
Months before his appointment to form the next Iraqi government, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi wrote an article in the newspaper al -adalah «Justice», which is overseen by him and through which he presents his views and views of how to build the state, an article bearing an interesting title, «Thank you conditions are not available». He pointed out the real danger to any economic and political reform in Iraq, and many of us may note the skill of the man in his understanding of these problems and ability to diagnose them in real terms, he began to diagnose the rent problem of the Iraqi economy and how it constitutes a barrier to the rest of the sectors of production , he indicated to the opposition of the political forces to the approach of economic reform as they were controlled by the mentality of rent state as described by him, and he addresses the issue of separation of powers and the establishment of constitutional institutions, and the problem of administrative corruption, and support the military formations, also he referred to international relations based on logic, not on the dependency .
The task of Abdul Mahdi, no doubt, difficult, but has been described in political circles and elites as a last chance for Iraq, especially that the events of Basra may be repeated in more than one place in Iraq and perhaps overthrow the entire political system. In this context, observers believe that Dr. Adel Abdul Mahdi received the presidency of the Council of Ministers with a heavy legacy as a result of the war on (ISIS), and randomness that accompanied the past period, with scarce resources and the ceiling of high expectations, and it is not easy to achieve high success rates. “What needs to be done is to calm the anxiety and anger of the street, and to provide an energized dose of hope, by providing jobs in the private sector, by offering temptations and exemptions within the available limits,” Dabbagh said. He added that the state is no longer able to absorb the huge numbers of unemployment and the mass of new graduates. ” “It requires a minimum of services, and improve them through a new vision that does not rely on a mechanism that has not been successful.”
They pointed out that Adel Abdul Mahdi will focus on defusing internal and regional political tension; that he is a man of dialogue and not a clash personality. And he will do what can be done to resolve hot files, and manages what is different in a different way, which creates trust between partners and discards doubts. At the regional level, he needs a calm approach to crises in the region and strained relations with some countries, such as Turkey. And that the Prime Minister-designate needs to develop this harmony between the three presidencies, each of its position, without interference to the role of each of them.
Abdul Mahdi is expected to benefit in the challenges he faces from long political experience, from good relations with most of Iraq’s political components, and from being a man of compromise, not from a man of confrontation. This puts him outside the local, regional and international polarization. In addition to having good relations with the most Sunni political forces, Abdul-Mahdi has historical relations with Kurdish politicians; which may contribute to improving the relationship between Baghdad and the Kurdistan region, which was marked by tension during the periods of Maliki and Abadi, Baghdad alone does not bear – certainly – its responsibility, especially after the referendum crisis on the independence of Kurdistan, and the subsequent repercussions, such as the redeployment of the Iraqi army in Kirkuk and the disputed areas (September – October 2017).
At the regional level, Adel Abdul Mahdi is a consensual person, as is the case at the domestic level. It was no accident that his name was re-presented to the premiership as he had already been put forward during the crisis of 2010, after the win of the Iraqi List, led by Allawi, ranked the first place, but despite of this , Maliki took over as prime minister , pushed by Iran, which pressed for the establishment of a broader coalition that enabled al-Maliki to form the government , . In the context of fierce regional rivalries and conflicts in the region, it is not known that a specific regional party opposes him; he is not calculated on the Iranian line, and at the same time does not pursue policies opposed to Iran. He is also acceptable to the US, though not the US candidate for the post of prime minister. In addition Adil abd al-Mehdi has strong ties with international organizations ,he developed them when he was assumed the post of oil and financial minister , and in 2004, he ran the Iraq file at the Paris Club to reschedule his debts; which means that perhaps he would be the best choice as prime minister at this stage, which is expected to see an escalation in the US-Iranian conflict, especially in Iraq.
Observers of the Iraqi issue see that he is facing serious challenges such as economic reform, reconstruction and improvement of services. He has come to face it not because of the power he derives from the authority he will assume, the support he receives from an influential neighbor or a “patronizing” superpower, but for a sense of historic opportunity for change, because all his rivals have exhausted their strengths in fighting each other. He is now the strongest political personality in Iraq because everyone needs to rearrange the situation of Iraq and return it to a “natural” situation in which life can resume, or at least delay the resolution of local, regional and international conflicts indefinitely. And for that
Adel Abdel Mahdi will need experienced advisors in political affairs, international relations, culture, economics, finance and services to make the required change. But the most important thing to know is that the Iraqi street with him, as was the case with Haider Abadi in 2015, that he should not accept less than an effective government to restore things to normal state , and stop corruption and the provision of basic services and security and jobs and restore Iraq’s stability. Adel Abdul Mahdi is the last chance for a prosperous Iraq.
Iraqi Studies Unit
Rawabet Center for Research and Strategic Studies