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Iraq’s election could yet be won by Iran

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The battle to determine the composition of the next Iraqi government has not yet been won, but Iran could secure a strategic victory in the face of lackluster engagement by the United States.

Senior U.S. foreign policy officials are distracted by the upcoming summit with North Korea, while those assigned to push back against Iranian influence are solely focused on re-imposing sanctions – failing to appreciate the significance of this potential turning point for Tehran’s regional influence.

The elections, which took place on May 12, distributed parliamentary seats across a highly fragmented set of political parties and groups. Iraqi politicians are now negotiating hard to try to build a viable coalition. But the Iraqis are not engaging in this process alone.

Foreign powers, particularly Iran and the United States, shape the process of coalition building that follows every election.

To form a government, a coalition of at least 165 members of parliament must be created. Three moderate groups, Sairoon, Hikmah, and Wataniyya, have joined forces and though, collectively, they have 99 seats, they will struggle to reach 165 without U.S.........

© Hürriyet Daily News