After six months and several failed attempts, Iraq has finally formed a new government. On 6 May, intelligence chief Mustafa al-Kadhimi overcame parliamentary infighting to secure the seal of approval. Mr Kadhimi has been unable to fill a number of key cabinet positions including the ministers of oil (MEES, 8 May), foreign affairs and justice. The vacant posts highlight the extent of the political challenges facing the new Premier.

Mr Kadhimi, like those before him, inherits a multitude of problems. For one, he has to navigate Iraq’s troubled ‘Muhasasah’ system dominated by heavily intrenched factions. He also faces the crippling poverty, widespread corruption, and broken electricity system that routinely triggers social unrest. Prime Minister Adil Abd al-Mahdi’s heavy handed response to protests was ultimately his downfall (MEES, 8 November 2019). Then of course there is the little matter of Iraq’s perennial security concerns and US-Iran tensions. (CONTINUED - 1192 WORDS)