One day after the Iranian missile strike against U.S. military bases in Iraq, Iraqi media reported that caretaker Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi appears to be attempting, along with the support of pro-Iran lawmakers, to win the parliament's blessings to stay in his position, or to head the upcoming government.
A Facebook post promoting Abdul-Mahdi reinstatement as prime minister (Source: Facebook.com).
Abdul-Mahdi, the son of a Shi'ite cleric who had served as a minister in Iraq's monarchy, announced his resignation on November 3, 2019, after Iraq's top Shi'ite cleric, Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani, urged legislators to withdraw support for the government over its use of violence against Iraqi protesters.
However, reports in Iraqi media quote a lawmaker from the Al-Bena' bloc, who said that "many Shi'ite MPs are in favor of reinstating Adel Abdul-Mahdi to form the new government". The Al-Bena' bloc is a pro-Iran coalition that claims to be the largest parliamentary bloc, and is therefore entitled to select a new premier according to the Iraqi Constitution.
"Political blocs have begun to accept the idea of reinstating the resigned prime minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi to form the new government," MP Salem Al-Tufayli of Al-Bena' bloc said on January 9.
Al-Tufayli also said that "this scenario surfaced after the prime minister showed up in the parliament and opposed the presence of U.S. forces," in reference to Abdul-Mahdi's speech to the parliament about ending the U.S. military presence in Iraq following the assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.
Muhammad Al-Husayni, a senior leader in the Al-Hikma Movement, echoed the same sentiment and said "there is a proposal by some political blocs to renew the confidence in Adel Abdul-Mahdi and his government," and they feel that it is "necessary for Abdul-Mahdi to stay in his position and to abolish the idea of holding early elections."
Haneen Al-Qaddo, an MP from the pro-Iran Al-Fateh Alliance, said on January 9 that "Abdul-Mahdi is known by the parliamentary blocs, and his recent position was very courageous when he recommended the departure of foreign troops from the country," noting that "his position and the failure of political blocs to agree on a candidate for the position of prime minister makes them go toward reinstating him."
Former Iraqi MP and current political mediator Izzat Al-Shabandar, known for his pro-Iran stance, said that a meeting was held recently that was attended by all Iraqi political parties with the exception of Muqtada al-Sadr's Sa'iron bloc. In the meeting, it was agreed to reinstate Abdul-Mahdi to his position. He also noted that former Iraqi prime minister Haider Al-Abadi's Al-Nasr bloc objected to reinstating Abdul-Mahdi.
A video from January 3, 2020, was circulated on Iraqi social media showing close aides to Abdul-Mahdi at the funeral of Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis. In the video, a man gives an emotional "appeal" to Abdul-Mahdi's aides and to the crowd, asking them to do their best to keep Abdul-Mahdi in his position, because it is the "best response to the Americans".
Footage from the funeral of Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis showing the crowd chanting in support of Abdul-Mahdi as his aides look on. (Source: Facebook.com)
It is also worth noting that as early as January 5, a social media campaign titled "Yes For Adel Abdul-Mahdi, The Prime Minister" was circulated by Abul-Mahdi's supporters on Twitter and Facebook.