Iraq’s Kurdish President Taps a US-Iraqi Double Citizen for PM

Iraq’s new PM-designate is drawn from the 2003 exiles (later death squad leaders) brought in on US tanks

Editor’s note: Can you guess that Americans are pulling the strings of the president who holds his role under an ethnic quota (under the sectarian order introduced by the US the president is Kurdish, PM Shia and speaker of the parliament Sunni)?

The new Iraqi prime minister-designate is a religious moderate who rose to prominence in the 2000s under a US-installed order that largely succumbed to the influence of Iran.

A presidential decree, made public on Tuesday, announced that Adnan Al Zurfi, a former grocery owner in Detroit, will form a government to replace that of caretaker prime minister Adel Abdul Mahdi.

However, Mr Al Zurfi’s perceived closeness to the US is likely to be a significant obstacle in gaining a vote of confidence during the 30-day time frame set by parliament.

Iraq’s legislative body is dominated by political associates of the Iran-backed militias that hold considerable sway in Iraqi politics and want to end US influence in the country.

While the Kurdish president, Barham Salih, as well as parts of the military and intelligence apparatus are still overseen by pro-US figures – a legacy of the US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003 – many Iraqis want an end to the US presence.

As a parliamentarian in the current Iraqi legislature, Mr Al Zurfi is an ally of Haider Al Abadi, a centrist former prime minster whose efforts to stem corruption had failed.

Mr Al Zurfi was educated in religious studies in Iraq. Unlike pro-Iranian politicians, he wears a suit and necktie, trademark attire for Iraqis who want to distance themselves from Iran. In Tehran, the establishment frowns upon the necktie as a pro-Western relic from the days of the Shah.

After a failed Shiite uprising in southern Iraq against Saddam in 1991, Mr Al Zurfi fled to Saudi Arabia then to the United States. He lived in Michigan, earning a living as a shopkeeper and linking up with the opposition to Saddam in exile.

US forces brought Mr Al Zurfi back to Iraq and appointed him governor of Najaf in 2004. He spent a year in the post and then became an Iraqi intelligence operative, where he amassed a reputation as a strongman, before again becoming governor of the province.

The role was important, given that Najaf is the epicentre of Shiism and home to Ayatollah Ali Al Sistani, the kingmaker of Iraqi politics who prefers to practice his role with an invisible hand.

Last November, Mr Al Sistani made a rare public intervention, forcing Mr Abdul Mahdi to resign after security forces and pro-Iranian Shiite militias killed hundreds of civilians in a violent crackdown on a mass protest movement demanding the removal of the political class.

Mohammed Allawi, a former telecom minister, was set to replace Mr Abdul Mahdi in February but withdrew his nomination after failing to gain the support of enough MPs to form a government.

Mr Al Zurfi would be faced with the task of containing the spread of coronavirus in Iraq as he takes on a state that’s been undermined by corruption. Consecutive governments since the downfall of Saddam have made no significant improvement to infrastructure and basic services, despite Iraq’s ranking as a top Opec oil exporter.

The state has little control over a porous border with Iran and Syria. Iraqi militia supported by Iran have started a war of attrition against US troops in the country that threatens to expand into a larger conflict.

With the huge drop in oil prices, Iraq’s situation is also precarious financially. A member of the parliament’s finance committee, Haitham Al Juburi, said this week the 2020 budget deficit is projected at $85 billion, more than double the government’s forecast before oil prices plunged in February.

A European executive who does business in Iraq said it might be too late to halt Iraq’s slide towards becoming a failed state, even if Mr Al Zurfi is confirmed as prime minister.

“I feel like it is all moot at this point,” the businessman told The National. “Iraq must be the single most poorly governed country in the world now.”

Source: The National

  1. fluttershield mlp says

    Let them control the oil revenues. It seems all oil revenues flow through New York banks, and is controlled by our criminally corrupt and occupied government here in the USA of war criminal profiteers.

  2. cechas vodobenikov says

    prior to the US invasion, Iraq possessed an aesthetic culture, high levels of education, health and excellent infrastructure…”world domination manifests itself as an intellectual, or if u prefer a cultural diktat. this is why the amerikans have so zealously tried to bring down the intellectual and cultural common denominator of the entire world down to Their own level. try to convince an amerikan that their values will destroy Russia—u will not be able to.” Alexandr Zinoviev (1999)

    1. CHUCKMAN says

      Yes, Iraq was in many ways the most advanced of Arab countries,

      Saddam was an awful man, but he heavily promoted education, the country’s immensely important archeology, science, art of various forms, and it was not a repressive state in terms of a religious faction.

      America has destroyed much of that. Indeed, there still is not dependable electricity even nearly two decades later.

      1. Canosin says

        “…..and it was not a repressive state in terms of a religious faction…..”
        have you been there yourself? have you travelled or worked there?
        did you share food or drinks with Iraqis? Have you been in Arbil, Mosul in the North….or in Haditha…..or down in Basrah….Shatt al Arab….Sulamaniya…??? not to mention Baghdad itself?
        Saddam was a monster….thats for sure……and you are right…in terms of education… infrastructure like highways, power plants, universities, irrigation, schools, medical assistance etc. etc. there was enough of everthing due to the oil industry….but it was a barbaric regime…regardless of religion or not….it was a barbaric secular regime…the Baath party was the arab socialist way…same as in Syria….the sunni minority (the clan of Saddam) ruled brutally over the Kurdish and Schia population (majority)
        however, true is, that the coalition of the willing destroyed with its invasionsince 2003 the whole infrastructure of Iraq with millions of victims…and still counting….
        you should not try to glorify Saddams regime……it was hell…..and has only been replaced with a more sinister and satanic occupant… this day….
        what are you again parroting about?

        1. Mrm Penumathy says

          I have never been to Iraq nor lived under Saddam, it seems you hate immensely. Given that he was a monster according to your western propaganda and standards he might even have thrown infants from incubators into the furnace. But how do you justify the water boarding and immense loss of life in Iraq. Have you seen the pictures that the saviors of Iraq took of their prisoners? never mind the bombing and utter destruction of Falluhjah to save it. I guess that is ok with you since and your ilk like Madame Albright another savior from Clinton clan said about sanctions that killed approximately 500 thousand children in Iraq ” Oh yeah it is worth it you have to do what you have to do to save democracy (Save the Kuwaiti king)0″

          1. Canosin says

            seems you have clearly misunderstood….of course the first US lead gulf war was a crime based on hoax (includes the half million children)….as well as the committed crime monstrosity since the start of the second gulf war in 2003 from the US…till today…..
            I am referring to Saddam Hussein…..since he was a monster too……..

      2. Ulricht says

        Was Saddam really an “awful man”? I never knew him personally and because all I ever knew of him was via a truly awful propagandic media I do not have confidence in my second hand perceptions.

        1. CHUCKMAN says

          Yes, he was. That doesn’t mean I supported the American invasion. I did not. And it was a terrible mistake.

          But Saddam had a brutal streak. He used poison gas on the Kurds. He used it in great volumes against Iran. And people who were suspected of working against him were horribly tortured.

          It is important though to remember that for a long time he was supported and encouraged by the United States.

          That included promoting the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-88, a terribly bloody war, as punishment for Iran. And it was America or one of its European allies that is said to have supplied him the chemicals for poison gas.

          1. itchyvet says

            Ho, Chuckman, you really suck the Kool Aid my man. Funny really, cause I was under the impression you were a Time magazine man. If not, may I remind you of the great write up that same magazine did of Saddam, also his son in law as well, who defected to the U.S. where he was grilled by the C.I.A. for everything he was worth, giving the FACTS freely, which the magazine couldn’t wait to put to print. Those FACTS stated clearly, YES Saddam was a tyrant, BUT he was the U.S.’s tyrant, therefore GOOD. That’s one FACT. Fact 2, this same son in law, described what his responsabilities were in Iraq, which was to dismantle all WMD and dispose of same. Time magazine did huge build up on this, yet weirdly, the whole thing was ignored. Biggest mistake I ever made, was bin the magazine after reading, wish to God I had kept it. And what happened to said son inlaw, the U.S. interviened on his behalf with Saddam who said he was welcome to return. He did return and Saddam topped him. No one anywhere, in any nation said a word. As for the gas supplies, if you bother to look, there’s heaps of evidence available to PROVE who it was who supplied it. Made in the U.S.of A.

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