Ahead of PM U.S. Visit

Iraqi politician discusses internal challenges to Sudani

NAJAF, Iraq – Former Governor of Najaf and prominent politician, Adnan Al-Zurfi, Secretary-General of the National Wafa (Loyalty) Movement, provided a an overview of the current state of U.S.-Iraq relations ahead of the anticipated visit of Prime Minister Mohammed Shiaa Al-Sudani to Washington in mid-April.

Al-Zurfi, once a candidate for Prime Minister and as somone familiar with the political circles in Washington, questioned Sudani’s competitors, the resistance and the coordination framework about the benefit of “undermining Sudani’s image in Washington and disrupting his settlements and normaliztion efforts with Erbil”.

In an interview with local media, Al-Zurfi recounted his experience as part of a delegation to Washington, where he represented the Finance Committee of the Iraqi Parliament. He talked about his efforts with the U.S. Department of State and Congress to tell them that Sudani is “a young Iraqi politician who does not align with extremism”.

Al-Zurfi said that the U.S. administration expected certain steps from the Iraqi government, which were hindered by attacks on the embassy and military sites of coalition forces. These incidents presented a new challenge for Sudani’s government, leading to a complicated relationship due to subsequent coalition strikes on multiple Iraqi targets.

He added that the scheduled visit of Sudani to Washington mid-April faces internal challenges in the U.S., with Republicans expressing reluctance towards the visit while the Biden administration appears more welcoming.

However, the recent killing of three U.S. soldiers at Tower 22 in Jordan “has significantly impacted American public opinion, particularly in the context of upcoming presidential elections, where it has become a point of ridicule against Biden”.

Al-Zurfi highlighted the internal challenges for Sudani, “especially if he decides to run in the elections independently, potentially alienating the coalition that facilitated his rise to power. Hence causing him problems and obstacles”.

“This was evident with the issue of salary payments to the Kurdistan Region and also the decisions of the Federal Court. Despite not being directly caused by Sudani, they strained the government’s relationship with its Kurdish counterparts.”

Al-Zurfi said that “as MPs, we may share the same legal and constitutional views as the court, but the current atmosphere have ultimately destabilized the government’s rapport with the Kurdistan Region.”