The upcoming Iraqi parliamentary election will take place on May 12. It is the fourth election after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s regime, and the first one after the defeat of the Islamic State. In spite of the crises that have been ravaging the country over the last decade and ongoing regional turmoil, Iraq is trying to get back on its feet. But many challenges still lie ahead.
2003 Regime-change: hopes and controversies
There is a date that could be conventionally considered the starting point of the Kirkuk issue. It is 11 March 1970, when the Kurds and the Iraqi government - after nine years of conflict - signed the “1970 Peace Accord”. The agreement granted autonomy to Iraq’s Kurdish governorates and, with regard to areas disputed due to mixed Arab-Kurdish populations, provided for a census and a plebiscite.
When the first elections were held in Iraq in 2005, two years after the fall of the Saddam Hussain regime, the political landscape in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) was dominated by two major parties: the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). By the following elections, in 2010, a new political force, “Gorran” (Change) had split from the PUK and secured 25% of the local (KRI) parliamentary seats in 2009, and 8 seats in the national (Baghdad) parliament.
Iraq’s parliamentary elections, scheduled for 12 May 2018, will serve as the first national referendum since the defeat of the Islamic State (IS) in 2017. Observers of the lead-up to the elections will invariably examine the sectarian Shia versus Sunni rivalries during the process, to the neglect of the intra-sectarian Shia rivalries that have evolved since 2003. After the fall of Saddam Hussein, the Shia factions did run on a single ticket, the United Iraqi Alliance.
Fifteen years after the demise of the Saddam Hussein regime, Iraq is still struggling to keep faith with the promises generated by the fall of one of the most brutal regimes ever ascending to power, able to maintain its grip on the “land of the two rivers” for decades despite internal opposition, external pressure and ill-fated military operations.
L’area del Mediterraneo allargato continua a essere caratterizzata da numerose crisi che, lungi dal risolversi, sembrano invece diventare sempre più profonde, coinvolgendo un crescente numero di attori. I focolai di conflitto sono inoltre circondati da contesti e aree in via di transizione che, in cerca di un nuovo equilibrio, difficilmente potranno dare un contributo alla stabilizzazione dell’area.
FOCUS - Area MENA: eppur si muove
La politica estera economica dell’Italia continua a puntare sull’area MENA, nonostante l’instabilità che la caratterizza. L’ultima conferma è venuta dalla recente visita del Presidente del Consiglio Paolo Gentiloni ad Abu Dhabi in occasione della firma di importanti accordi di Eni per acquisizioni nel settore energetico di uno dei paesi più ricchi di idrocarburi dell’area, oltre alla vendita del 10% del giacimento di gas off-shore Zohr alla Mubadala Petroleum.