The Cradle
Iraq’s Coordination Framework cancels counter-protests amid fears of civil war
The progress made by the Coordination Framework after months of political deadlock ended with Muqtada al-Sadr supporters occupying the Iraqi parliament to block a prime ministerial nomination
By News Desk - July 31 2022

Supporters of Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in the Iraqi parliament on 30 July, 2022 (Photo credit: Ahmad al-Rubaye/GETTY)

Leaders of the Iraqi Coordination Framework political coalition canceled their counter-protests on 30 July, fearing an escalation that could, according to local media reports, lead to a civil war.

Hours after members of Al-Sadrist party stormed the Green Zone in Baghdad, breaking into parliament for the second time over the span of three days, the CF called on their supporters to counter-protest.

“We call on the people to protect the state and its legitimacy, and stand in the face of this dangerous transgression and deviation from laws, customs, and Sharia,” a statement by the CF read.

Shortly after, however, the statement was retracted by coalition leaders urging Muqtada al-Sadr to end what they called the “great sedition,” and calling on him to agree to a serious dialogue.

“The calls issued by the leaders of the Coordination Framework, to prioritize dialogue and understanding are a display of responsibility and awareness towards their national duties,” said Sheikh Qais al-Khazali.

Al-Khazali was a commander alongside Al-Sadr in the Iraqi resistance against the US occupation after 2003, but later defected to the political party of Asaeb Ahl al-Haq.

Similar statements were issued by the leader of Al-Hikma party Sayyed Ammar al-Hakim, previous prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, and the commander of the Badr party, Hadi al-Amiri.

“I call upon our dear brother, his eminence Sayyed Muqtada al-Sadr, for serious dialogue with the CF to find a resolution to the political deadlock and avert the impending dangers,” a statement by the office of Al-Amiri read.

The speaker of the Council of Representatives of Iraq, Mohamed Al-Halbousi, then suspended parliament until further notice.

According to local reports, this decision puts an end to the nomination process of the CF-backed prime minister-designate Mohammed al-Sudani until a political settlement is reached.

Over months, Al-Sadr has refused numerous calls for cooperation with the CF, claiming his right to form a majority government that excludes all other Shia political parties.

Al-Sadr’s decision led to the formation of the CF, an unlikely coalition between different Shia political parties.

An eight-month deadlock and failure to form a government led to Al-Sadr’s announcement of retirement from Iraqi politics. He also ordered the collective resignation of 73 legislators from the Iraqi parliament on 12 June.

Not long after that, Al-Sadr reversed his decisions and called for rallies on 15 July.