Iraq’s Protest Camps Splinter on Question of New PM

Sadr's call to end protests has many reconsidering protests

The appointment of Mohammed Allawi as Iraq’s PM-designate may be the biggest challenge yet faced by Iraq’s large anti-government protest movement. Many protesters are questioning whether to continue rallying right now.

Many protest leaders scoffed at Allawi’s appointment, seeing him as too much of an insider. The premiership is meant to be a very interim position right now, however, meant to give way to new election reforms and a vote.

Cleric Moqtada al-Sadr is a big factor in this, as he was supporting the protest movement heavily, and has backed Allawi, calling on his supporters to take down their protest camps. Not everyone is leaving right away, but many are certainly considering it.

Few protesters see Allawi as the answer, but almost no one wanted the PM job right now because of the expectation of early elections. Since Sadr’s bloc is the largest, he may be ensuring that Allawi is taking things toward an election, as the protesters want, though there is enough suspicion within Iraqi politics that some fear he’s just got Allawi to do something that benefits his bloc.

Twice a former Communications Minister, Allawi is the cousin of former PM Ayad Allawi. He has promised that his priority will be to bring to justice those involved in violence against the protesters, which is a tall order given the number of attacks that have happened.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.