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Iraq faces a deadly dilemma: make a deal with the militias that appear to be behind an assassination attempt on the life of Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, or face off against them in a fight that is sure to leave the Iraqi state and people worse off.
Sunday morning’s drone attack on the prime minister’s private residence marked a major escalation in an already tense and volatile post-election standoff. The militias—who were the biggest losers of October’s legislative elections—have disputed the legitimacy of the poll and deployed their followers to stage round-the-clock sit-ins at entrances to the Green Zone, the seat of Iraq’s government. Meanwhile, the elections’ main winners, including Moqtada al-Sadr’s movement, have announced they will try to form a government in which they actually call the shots, upsetting the usual practice of distributing Cabinet positions evenly among winners and losers.