At a time Iraq is facing serious economic and political issues, an untimely rift within government's ranks has appeared in the horizon. This comes after reports revealed that Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had discovered that Interior Minister Qasim al-Araji is implementing a foreign agenda in Iraq.
According to reports, Abadi has withheld powers from the interior minister and the two leaders have had a falling out.
Observers say that the prime minister has discovered suspicious movements by Araji, adding that these movements are related the deployment of security forces on the ground and the presence of army personnel in Sulaymaniyah city in Kurdistan Region.
This comes after Kurdish protesters, angered by years of austerity and unpaid public sector salaries, set fire to the offices of political parties near the city of Sulaimaniyah on December 18. At least six people were killed and more than 70 injured during the protests.
Sources told The Baghdad post that the protests were incited by the Iranian Mullah's regime intelligence via their puppets in Kurdistan.
They asserted that these figures are exploiting the financial crisis in Kurdistan and the inability of the Kurdistan Region Government (KRG) to pay the civil servants' wages.
The Mullah's regime plot is to pillage and destroy Sulaymaniyah's infrastructure, its government buildings, organizations and its political parties' headquarters as a pretext for an Iranian intervention and bring it to the Mullah's sphere of influence like it did in Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut and Sanaa, they added.
Some observers speculate that the rift between the premier and the interior minister was a result of the incidents that took place in Sulaymaniyah.
Araji could be involved in the unrest that gripped the city, given the strong ties between the Iraqi interior minister and the Mullah regime, they added.
Since January 29, 2017, Araji has served as Iraq’s interior minister. With credentials that include training from Iranian special operators known as the Quds force and time spent as a guerrilla and militia commander, surprisingly enough, Araji now heads one of Iraq’s most powerful ministries.
He studied accounting at the Ayatollah Motahhari University in Iran and Islamic studies in the Imam Kadhim Institute. His biography also states that Araji moved to Iran a few years after the Iranian revolution. He was enrolled in the Badr Corps and was trained to fight Iraqi forces led by Saddam Hussein during the Iraqi-Iranian war. Araji once described his years in Iran as a fighter as formative.
Although the Interior Ministry has denied in an official statement the there is a rift between Abadi and Araji, the cabinet remained silent, confirming what has been reported earlier.
There is a fraternal relation between Abadi and all ministers, including Araji, the statement read, stressing that the reports on the rift between the premier and the interior minister are groundless, it added.
Araji is a key member in the Abadi-led government, which aims at fighting corruption and providing services to citizens, according to the statement.
Earlier, Hanin Qadw, a Badr parliamentary bloc MP, unveiled reports that the Iraqi prime minister withheld powers from the interior minister. In a press statement, he said the reports did not accurately mention what these powers are, adding that these reports have not been confirmed.
Similarly, Okaz newspaper reported that Araji and Abadi have had a falling out, adding that the prime minister is vexed due to the interior minister's interference in the affairs of the army, which its personnel are stationed in the vicinity of Sulaymaniyah.
Abadi is expected to overthrow Araji very soon unless Iran puts pressure on him to change his mind or force the prime minister to replace the interior minister with another Iranian agent, analysts told The Baghdad Post.