The results of the national elections in
Iraq were shocking, but they weren’t necessarily surprising. Less than 45
percent of eligible voters cast a ballot. Most didn’t vote at all because they
were frustrated with the current crop of leaders who consistently failed to
improve their lives. This explains why Muqtada Al-Sadr’s
Sairoon Coalition appears to have won a narrow plurality. Sadr has cultivated
his status as an arch Iraqi nationalist and the champion of average
Iraqis. Even still, Sadr didn’t win by much, so his ability to determine the
governing coalition – let alone dictate and dominate it – is going to be very
limited. Prime Minister Abadi could easily retain power as a compromise
candidate, or the Iranians might squeeze the various Shia parties until they
agree to Tehran’s preferred candidate, as they eventually did back in 2010. But for
my money, the most important question is not who becomes prime minister right now.
It’s what happens when the government fails to deliver better governance,
because it’s all too likely that they will fail, especially since the United
States seems uninterested in providing the help and guidance that will be
needed for them to succeed. Do you think that the Iraqi elections matter at all
for American interests? Let us know in your comments. Also let us know what
other topics you’d like our scholars to cover in 60 seconds, and be sure to like
and subscribe for more research and videos from AEI.