Rafik Hariri Center Nonresident Fellow Ramzy Mardini is quoted by CNN on parliamentary elections in Iraq:
“It doesn’t bode well for stability if the electoral results do not reflect an accurate representation of the political realities on the ground,” Ramzy Mardini, nonresident fellow at the Atlantic Council, told CNN.
“What’s more worrisome is, what happens next? Will the government double down on a military offensive in Anbar? Does fighting intensify between Sunni tribes? Does Maliki take advantage to exploit the divisions? Does the violence eventually spill over into Baghdad? Will Anbar be neglected, whereby it converges closer to the adjacent insurgency inside Syria? As is always the case with Iraq, nothing is inevitable, anything is possible.”
“The United States is facing a dire situation in Iraq, whereby both instability in the political and security realms are converging,” Mardini said.
“If there is no resolution in the upcoming post-election saga in forming a government, Iraq’s security situation is expected to worsen. Unlike past electoral cycles, the United States lacks the influence to bring about a resolution, and without its military presence, the psychological effect that helped pacify political behavior is no longer there as a coolant.”
For Iran, the unity of the Shiite political class is a core interest, because it determines the depth and scope of its influence in Iraq, Mardini said.
“A new emerging interest for Tehran could be the maintenance of the status quo in Baghdad,” he said. “The ousting of Maliki could symbolically undermine Tehran’s efforts in safeguarding the survival of the Syrian regime in Damascus.”