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The struggle for Iraq's political field after the assassination of Qasim Sulimani, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis; the protest movement, Iraq's militias and the ruling elite

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Duration: 0:35:38 | Added: 07 Feb 2020
Professor Toby Dodge, LSE, gives a talk for the Middle East Studies Centre seminar series. Chaired by Dr Toby Matthiesen (St. Antony's College, Oxford).

The assassination, on 2 January 2020, of Qasim Sulimani, the Commander of the Quds Force of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the senior commander of Al-Hashd Al-Sha'abi and the founder of Kata'ib Hezbollah militia, has thrown Iraqi and wider regional politics into turmoil. However, Iraqi politics were already in a state of tumult with its the major cities in the south and central of the country racked by a large and sustained protest movement. These avowedly secular and nationalist demonstrations called for the overthrow of Iraq's post-2003 system, the Muhasasa Ta'ifiya, and the politically sanctioned corruption at is core. Iraq’s ruling elite first responded by issuing unrealistic promises of further spending and jobs. When this failed, they used overt and covert violence, spearheaded by the militias Muhandis controlled, in an attempt to suppress the movement.

In the wake of both the assassinations and the protest movement, the future of Iraqi politics is in the balance. Those who run the militias at the core of Al-Hashd Al-Sha’abi and those that have been demonstrating on the stress of Iraqi cities have radically different visions for Iraq’s future. This talk will investigate the ideological organisation and actions of the major actors in Iraqi politics and where the country maybe heading.

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