This article argues that Iraq is about to see many significant transformations as countless Iraqis insist on the project of political reform. This difficult dream will need more time and sacrifices to be realized. However, the good news in this context is that a new Iraqi generation has started the first step in this long road.
Recently, many standards have been set by the protesters to accept the new premier. They have repeatedly declared that he must be fair, politically independent, accepted by society, and he has not held any top position since 2003. It is expected that many political leaders will not meet these demands and will impose their candidates who will perpetuate the traditional interests of those players in the Iraqi scene.
This will lead to an increase in the angry of the demonstrators who will not return to their houses without achieving their desire for change. In such a case, the greater political block, which has the constitutional right to choose the new premier, will be in a confrontation with the greater social block, represented by the people who have taken to the streets since October.
The controversy over the nomination of a new prime minister might complicate the scene. Some political parties are now announcing some names, affirming that those figures are adopted by public opinion. In return, the protesters of the Tahrir square raise banners declaring their refusal to such names. Now, we have to think about this question " what would happen if the parliament passes any candidate without taking the opinion of the protesters into consideration?".
Peoples' trust in the parliament will completely collapse, and more violent events would take place. If this occurred, the political class would say that the security situation is not suitable, and holding the early election would be impossible. Therefore, people have to focus on what might be done during this transitional phase to arrange their affairs and to prepare their grassroots for the coming election. This is better than wasting their energy and time on the subject of the new premier provided that the parliament decides the specific date of this election.
But on the other hand, there is a different opinion insisting that there is no a lot of information about the next provisional government. Protesters affirm that it must be formed by technocrats so that it could achieve what is popularly required of it. However, there is no clear talk about its duties and authorities, and it is unknown when its validity will end. Many protesters doubt that this government will pave the way for the next election. Hence, it will not be able to calm street protests.
In spite of the alliance between the Sadrists and the civil forces, they might be in direct conflict. If the Sadrists supported the nominee of the other political parties, the civil forces would read it as a treason to their previous agreements. This will weaken the momentum of the protest movement in Baghdad and southern Iraq. Thus, Sadrists and their close allies in the cities of protest must be aware of this danger. Losers want this conflict to happen eagerly.
Though tribes had a destructive role in reshaping politics in post-2003 Iraq, they can now consolidate the results that the protesters are looking to accomplish. Historically, tribes believe they were the power responsible for liberating Iraq from the control of the colonial forces during the revolution of 1920, and they also were behind defeating Da'ish, and now they can do the same by freeing Iraq from the political forces that have abducted it since 2003.
Tribes in southern Iraq have asserted that they targeted the headquarters of those parties, but in return, they worked on protecting the official institutions from the acts of looting to send a clear message to the society: " they revolted for change and reform". They strongly stood against those parties, and this would reshape the identity of the protests to be more patriotic.
However, we fear that some tribes might want to exploit this event to extend their influence and to impose their model to rule the Iraqi state. The destiny of Iraq is to become a civil state in which all diverse people can live peacefully.
Neither the military governments nor the religious ones have succeeded in realizing this objective. As well, the tribal governments will also fail to save Iraq from the chaos and the sectarian wars. Consequently, tribes must think about how to provide the necessary strength that the protesters need to put Iraq on the right track
On 20th December, the office of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani sent a clear message to the Iraqi society through which he set the stage for cultural, social, and electoral changes that would later reshape the political equations in a way that will decrease the interests and influence of the traditional political parties.
He said, " the new parliament, which will decide the form of the next government, must address the previous problems of corruption, quota system, and social injustice". Implicitly, he refers to the parties that have controlled the Iraqi fate since 2003 and conducted policies that led to these results. Who wants to change this distorted Iraqi picture must improve his/her electoral behavior to punish those parties and to give a chance to the youth to participate in ruling Iraq.
In Iraq, there is a living nation that does not die because of the invasions, the unfair governments, or the regional conflicts. It is a country that is looking forward to the future steadily, patiently, and with desire for creating a life worthy for the Iraqi people. It is truly said that the journey of thousands of miles begins with a single step, and this variable has its local motivations supporting it inside the social and religious Iraqi domain, and this will give the protests the needed enthusiasm to sustain their effectiveness for reform and change.
Diyari Salih is an Iraqi academic with a Ph.D. in Political Geography from the University of Baghdad and a Post-Doctorate in International Relations from the University of Warsaw. His research focuses on geopolitical issues in Iraq. He tweets at @DiyariFaily