Divisions between Iraq’s Shia ‘very likely’ to escalate into military conflict after failure to elect president, MP warns

Dana Taib Menmy


Iraqi parliament

The Iraqi parliament has failed yet again to elect a president [Getty]

The division between the Sadrist faction and pro-Iran Shia factions in the Iraqi parliament is “dangerous” for Iraq’s stability and security, and “very likely” to escalate into a military conflict, a Kurdish lawmaker in the Iraqi parliament told The New Arab. 

The Iraqi parliament on Wednesday postponed a session for electing a president indefinitely after pro-Iran Shia parties and some Kurdish and independent MPs boycotted it.

As a result the constitutional quorum of 220 lawmakers out of 329 was not met, the parliament announced

This is the third time and the second this week that the assembly could not elect a president for Iraq due to the lack of consensus among the different Iraqi political sides. 

“We boycotted today’s session since we are very concerned that the division among the Shia in the Iraqi political arena, especially between the Sadrists and the Coordination Framework, is dangerous for Iraq’s stability and security and for the survival of the current Iraqi political system because it is very likely to escalate into a military conflict,” Muthana Amin, an MP from the Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU) told The New Arab in a phone interview on Wednesday.

“We have fears that attending a parliament session in which those divisions are settled in the interest of one side is dangerous for Iraq’s stability.” 

Amin added that the core issue is not the Iraqi presidency, which is usually taken by an Iraqi Kurd,  but it is the division of Iraq’s premiership and the ministries among the various Shia factions.

The Sadrist bloc headed by Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, won the largest share of votes in parliamentary elections held on October 10, with 73 seats.

Sadr has formed the Rescue Alliance with Masoud Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) faction, and the Sunni Sovereignty Alliance headed by Khamis al-Khanjar.

The triple alliance have announced their nominations for the presidency and premiership, and vowed to form a national unity government in an attempt to marginalize  the Coordination Framework, a pro-Iran Shia parliamentary faction that includes more than 100 MPs. 

According to the Iraqi constitution, the parliament should elect the country’s president with a quorum of two-thirds of the lawmakers. The elected president will then be sworn in before the parliament, and would assign a candidate from the biggest parliamentary fraction to form a new government. 220 lawmakers must attend the special session for electing the president. Iraq’s supreme federal court has given lawmakers until 6 April to choose a new president.

A parliamentary source told AFP that only 178 out of 329 lawmakers were present in parliament on Wednesday. Lawmakers from the Coordination Framework and four Kurdish factions boycotted the session. 

After the session ended, Sadr quickly posted a tweet vowing that he “will not make a consensus” with pro-Iran factions, adding that such a consensus “means the end of the country.”


“While there are frequent foreign interferences in Iraq, and almost 80 percent of the Iraqis no longer believe in the political process, we think that claims by a certain political force of winning a national majority with  only 800,000 votes is not suitable for Iraq,” Amin said in reference to Sadr’s attempts to form a national unity government without the pro-Iran factions. 

Nouri al-Maliki, the pro-Iran former Iraqi prime minister and leader of State of Law Coalition has said he is working on an initiative to deal with the current political deadlock, without revealing details yet.


Notice on the Continuation of the National Emergency With Respect to Somalia

On April 12, 2010, by Executive Order 13536, the President declared a national emergency pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701-1706) to deal with the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States constituted by the deterioration of the security situation and the persistence of violence in Somalia; acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia, which have been the subject of United Nations Security Council resolutions; and violations of the arms embargo imposed by the United Nations Security Council.

On July 20, 2012, the President issued Executive Order 13620 to take additional steps to deal with the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13536 in view of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2036 of February 22, 2012, and Resolution 2002 of July 29, 2011, and to address:  exports of charcoal from Somalia, which generate significant revenue for al-Shabaab; the misappropriation of Somali public assets; and certain acts of violence committed against civilians in Somalia, all of which contribute to the deterioration of the security situation and the persistence of violence in Somalia.

The situation with respect to Somalia continues to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.  For this reason, the national emergency declared on April 12, 2010, and the measures adopted on that date and on July 20, 2012, to deal with that threat, must continue in effect beyond April 12, 2022.  Therefore, in accordance with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)), I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13536.

This notice shall be published in the Federal Register and transmitted to the Congress.

                                JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.


    March 30, 2022.



MAPUTO, 31 March 2022 – Violence is continuing to displace thousands of people in the province of Cabo Delgado in Mozambique, with reports of children being abducted by armed groups, one year on from attacks on the town of Palma that left dozens dead.

In February, at least seven children were abducted by armed men, including three girls and four boys. Save the Children fears that some of these children may be trained as soldiers, or used as wives.

Save the Children heard reports from families that in February armed groups attacked the village of Bangala 2, south of Palma. During the attack, armed men beheaded three men and kidnapped an unknown number of women, as well as setting two vehicles on fire. On the coastal island of Matemo, also south of Palma, another three people were killed, while women and children were kidnapped and their homes burned, said Save the Children.

In January, at least 14,200 people, including at least 6,800 children, fled their homes following further attacks. Save the Children said horrific violence – such as people being beheaded in their homes – is taking place in all districts in the north of the province and children are being directly recruited into armed groups.

Save the Children is particularly concerned that children are at high risk of long-lasting psychosocial damage due to the attacks and violence. Children are also continuing to live away from home – in cramped conditions with extended family, or in displacement camps – which lack basic services like health care or schools although some families are now attempting to move back home.

The battle of Palma – which started on 24 March and continued until 5 April 2021 – left dozens dead and displaced over 88,000 people. The violence was a turning point in the armed conflict in Cabo Delgado, galvanizing regional and international attention and leading to the deployment of troops to the region. However, a year on from the attacks, the humanitarian needs remain acute. At least 734,000 people have been displaced across the region, including nearly 360,000 children 

Save the Children’s Country Director in Mozambique, Brechtje van Lith, said:

“We have recorded stories of carnage witnessed by children against their parents and neighbours, creating traumas that will last for the rest of their lives. We are providing much needed humanitarian support to the displaced children and families in settlements and with host communities, which includes psycho-social support, education, nutrition, water and sanitation and protection services.

“We are scaling up our response to reach more people in hard-to-reach areas. Most of the displaced population cannot yet return to the areas of origin, where safe conditions are not assured. Our collective support remains critical.”

Save the Children is the leading INGO responding to the crisis in Cabo Delgado, reaching 302,024 people, including 173,902 children in 2021. This was through life-saving and life-sustaining support to internally displaced people, host communities and families, through child protection, education, health, nutrition, livelihoods and water, sanitation and hygiene interventions.

Save the Children has been working in Mozambique since 1986, and is one of the leading developments and humanitarian agencies in the country. Every year our programmes reach more than 1.8 million people directly in the sectors of health and nutrition, education, child protection, child rights governance, climate adaption and risk reduction.