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Iraqi Prime Minister-Designate Resigned, Spy Chief Named As Replacement

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Iraqi Prime Minister-Designate Resigned, Spy Chief Named As Replacement

Iraqi protestors wave Iraq’s national flags on motorbikes as they take part in anti-government demonstrations in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square on October 24, 2019. (Photo by – / AFP)

Iraq’s Prime Minister-designate, Adnan al-Zurfi, announced on April 9 that he will not be forming the new government. The country’s spy chief, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, was named as a replacement by President Barham Salih.

In a message, al-Zurfi said he resigned to “preserve Iraq’s unity and its higher interests,” vowing to continue serving the Iraqi people as a lawmaker.

“I will continue to work and prepare for the upcoming early elections to complete the national project and develop its economic foundations for the reconstruction of Iraq,” al-Zurfi noted in his statement, according to Xinhua.

Adnan al-Zurfi was tasked with forming a government last March following a disagreement between Iraq’s major blocs. However, he failed to gain support, especially from Shiite parties.

Al-Zurfi was accused of corruption, with the Shiite armed factions even calling him an “agent of the U.S. intelligence” in a recent joint statement. The factions also warned against allowing al-Zurfi to form a government, stressing that they will work against him.

The strict stand against al-Zufi was not a surprise as he is well known for his strong relations with Washington. Al-Zurfi, a U.S. citizen, is also known to be an obstinate opponent of Iran and its allies in Iraq.

On the other hand, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, head of the Iraqi National Intelligence Service (INIS), is enjoying the support of major political blocks.

The country’s biggest Sunni block, Iraqi Forces Coalition, and Nechirvan Barzani, prime minister of the Kurdistan region, have both stressed their support for al-Kadhimi. Furthermore, all major Shiite blocks appear to be in favor of him.

Al-Kadhimi’s chances to form Iraq’s next government are very high. For more than three years, al-Khadhimi managed to maintain balanced relations with both the U.S. and Iran from his position as the head of the INIS.

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