Fears for further escalation in Baghdad after Coordination Framework announces counterprotest
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Shiite coordination framework on Sunday announced a counter-protest in Baghdad, after populist leader Muqtada al-Sadr the same day called for a ‘revolution’ for reform.
The Iran-aligned Coordination Framework said they will protest tomorrow at 5PM in Baghdad, leading to fear among experts and Iraqi-based diplomats for an escalation.
Supporters of Sadr continued to occupy the Iraqi parliament for the second day on Sunday to protest the nomination of the Coordinating Framework candidate for Prime Minister, Mohammad Shiya al-Sudani.
Fanar Haddad, assistant professor at the University of Copenhagen, told Kurdistan 24 that Sadr seems to be doubling down on his position.
“His last tweet doesn't leave much room for compromise. He is pushing his rivals into a corner whereby they either dance to his tune or face him in an armed confrontation,” he said.
“In case of the latter, I think Sadr will have the upper hand - not least because the formal ISF (Iraqi Security Forces) will likely side with him.”
Haddad said Sadr is positioning himself “as the patron of anti-systemic protest that goes beyond his Sadrist base and, by extension, as the patron of any reconfigured Sadrist dominated power sharing arrangement.”
Earlier this year, Sadr and his allies failed to form a "national majority government" following Iraq’s October 2021 parliamentary elections.
Yerevan Saeed, Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington DC earlier told Kurdistan 24 that the confrontation between the Sadr movement and the Coordination Framework could lead to chaos.
“The confrontations of these two different camps on the street without independent security forces to mediate between them could lead to disasters.”
Rasha al-Aqeedi, an Iraqi analyst and deputy Middle East editor at the New Lines Magazine, also told Kurdistan 24 that Sadr's statement clearly calls for a complete overhaul of the political system in Baghdad.
"His repetitive use of "subordination" to describe his rivals which is a term often used for pro-Iran politicians and militias is an attempt to place himself as a nationalist. The sit-ins at the GreenZone, which he calls liberation, can escalate if and when the Coordination Framework decide to counter protest."
"Muqtada calling this protest Iraq's "last chance" and him resorting to precedents in Shiite history makes this impending Shiite-Shiite confrontation extremely worrisome."