Iraqi PM Adil Abdul-Mahdi Resigns

Abdul-Mahdi cites top cleric's call for him to step down

After months of protests and growing condemnations of his continued rule, Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi announced that he will submit his resignation to Parliament. This ends slightly over a year in office.

Abdul-Mahdi said his resignation was in response to calls from Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the top religious leader in Iraq. Sistani has for weeks called on the government to give in to protester demands.

His government seemed to be resisting this, faced with calls from the Iranian government to roughly maintain the status quo. This had turned the protesters against Iran, culminating with the destruction of Iran’s consulate in the holy city of Najaf this week.

This was likely the beginning of the end for Abdul-Mahdi, as Iran faulted his government for failing to protect the consulate, and his security forces started killing protesters in larger numbers, though as in the path the mounting deaths weren’t accomplishing anything to stop demonstrations.

Losing support from Iran, facing criticism from Sistani, and still following a strategy of trying to kill his way out of a protest movement that seemed only to be making the unrest grow, Abdul-Mahdi was in a losing situation, and finally recognized it. What comes next is unclear.

The protesters want wholesale reforms to the system of government, ousting the ruling class that has held power since the US invasion and occupation, and replacing it with a government not so beholden to foreign interests. It’s not clear that’s going to happen, but if it doesn’t, the protest movement will almost certainly continue. After all, the protesters wanted much more than just to swap out premiers.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.