Is Al Kadhimi Stalling Chinese Infrastructural Investment in Iraq?
Iraq–Iraq is not stalling a Chinese transportation programme, is what the PM is wishing to tell everyone about. Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi has made it abundantly clear that his government has no intentions of stalling the multi-billion programme and is in fact, pressing ahead with a strategic agreement with China, rejecting claims that he had sought to derail the deal.
Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative has been an ongoing controversy. Iraq is now being accused of derailing in by favoring US over China. It was in 2019, that Iraq had plans to firm up the deal with China then.
India and Pakistan also remain crucial to China’s BRIC plans. Iraq went into a diplomatic overhaul sometime in 2020. This began as the scene in the country started to heat up over issues including corruption, unemployment and public services erupted in October 2019. It was this at this time that Iraq was in the process of finalising the deal with Beijing.
Al Kadhimi, former head of the Iraqi National Intelligence Service, then took over as prime minister in May 2020, after pro-reform protests forced his predecessor Adil Abdul Madhi to resign.
Since his leadership came into existence, the pro-Iranian political factions have blamed him of stalling the progress of the project, favoring US over China. The allegations have been mounting more since the government decided to invest more in South Korea’s Daewoo Engineering and Construction company to build the Grand Port of Al Faw in the south of country, having already signed several contracts with the company to work on related infrastructure.
Before Al Kadhimi coming to power, Baghdad had started implementing some aspects of the agreement, including the construction of power stations and municipal buildings, as the country sought to rebuild after decades of war.