Weekly Regional Brief
Complications in US withdrawal from Iraq
A U.S. military base located in Northern Iraq was hit by a rocket attack via a drone just “days before Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi is expected to meet US President Joe Biden at the White House… to discuss a possible full US troop withdrawal from Iraq.” The attack was likely conducted by pro-Iranian armed groups.
To further complicate the situation, 35 individuals were killed in an ISIL suicide bombing attack in Baghdad on Saturday, July 24. Although Iraq’s prime minister denies the country’s need for U.S. military assistance, these two instances have the potential to influence the upcoming Iraqi-U.S. talks.
Tunisian Political Crisis
On Sunday, July 25, Tunisian “President Kais Saied removed Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi, who was also in charge of the interior ministry, and suspended Parliament.” The suspension is expected to last 30 days, but can be extended.
This came per the request of protesters whose disapproval of the government stemmed from a poor COVID-response and consequential economic problems, including high unemployment rates and fewer state services.
Lebanon Selects New Prime Minister Designate
On Monday, July 26, Lebanon’s President, Michel Aoun, began consulting parliament about the need for a new prime minister designate, as Saad Hariri resigned last week. Shortly after, billionaire businessman Najib Mikati, who served as prime minister in 2005 and 2011-2013, was appointed for the position.
Arabic Sources from the Region
After Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi’s historic meeting with Pope Francis in March 2021, the Iraqi leader hosted a trilateral summit this week with Jordanian and Egyptian leaders to discuss strengthening economic cooperation and combating terrorism. Iraq seeks to build a partnership between the region’s heads of state and restore Iraq’s image as an Arab and international leader. Al-Kadhimi announced the “New Sham” project, an economic investment plan named for the region loosely comprising the three countries participating in the summit, with the hope that more of the region will participate in coming years.
This article was published by Sky News Arabia, an Abu Dhabi-based Arabic news source owned by Comcast and the Emirati royal family.