Misfortunes are piling up for Mohammed Shia' al-Sudani, Iraq’s prime minister, as the international politics of the Middle East get more complicated.
He never anticipated Hamas’s attacks on Israel and the subsequent war in the Gaza Strip, and the shockwaves from it, which are rippling through his relations with the United States.
Before 7 October, Al-Sudani was pre-occupied with the dinar’s plunge in value against the dollar. He was hoping to visit the White House, to strengthen his relations with key decision-makers in the US to help alleviate the currency crisis dominating Iraq.
The formation of al-Sudani's government – made up of groups under the Coordination Framework banner – denoted a significant shift in the US approach towards Iraq. The coalition managed to reach a majority after MPs from the Sadr Movement withdrew from Parliament. But it includes political figures categorised by the United States as "terrorists."
And they have openly expressed anti-US views, vehemently opposing both its military presence in the country and its political influence over it. The formation of the government came about with regional and global circumstances playing a pivotal role in supporting the Framework group’s rise to power.
Its nomination of al-Sudani to lead the government showed deft navigation of the circumstances. He had a reputation as a non-controversial figure with expertise in international and regional relations, derived from his prior roles in various administrations.
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The US moved quickly to establish communication with al-Sudani from the early stages of his nomination through to his appointment and the subsequent formation of his government. Its ambassador to Baghdad, Alina Romanowski, was the first to congratulate the new prime mimister.
That looked like signal of a willingness for a pragmatic approach from the US to internal politics in Iraq, and the outcome of its domestic political decision making. There was a perception that progress was being made away from perceptions that the US was imposing its own agenda on Iraq’s politics, or endorsing its own chosen candidates for government positions.