Intel: Trump congratulates Iraq’s new Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi

al-monitor Iraqi PM-designate Mustafa al-Kadhimi appears in parliament for a vote of confidence in Baghdad, Iraq on May 06, 2020. Photo by Iraqi Parliament/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images.

May 12, 2020

President Donald Trump congratulated Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi Monday on his confirmation by Iraq’s Council of Representatives.

“President Trump expressed the support of the United States for Iraq during the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic and emphasized the shared interest with Iraq in achieving the enduring defeat of [the Islamic State],” said White House spokesman Judd Deere. “President Trump also encouraged the prime minister to address the Iraqi people’s demands for reform and legitimate early national elections.”

Why it matters:  Kadhimi is the first candidate to successfully form a government since former Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi resigned in November amid protests targeting the Iraqi political elite over corruption and the government’s failure to provide basic services throughout the country. Both the United States and Iran have publicly backed Kadhimi’s new government, and the Trump administration has extended a sanctions wavier for Iraq to continue importing Iranian natural gas to meet its electricity needs throughout the summer.

What’s next:  Washington and Baghdad will convene a strategic dialogue next month to hammer out the future of US troop presence in Iraq. After Trump’s January strike on Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani and the leader of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units, the Iraqi Parliament passed a nonbinding resolution calling for the expulsion of US forces from the country.

Know more:  Ali Mamouri walks us through Iraq’s new cabinet members.

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