Following major protests demanding reform, the country witnessed, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the formation of a provisional government in May 2020, under former intelligence chief Mustafa al-Kadhimi as the new prime minister. New elections were rescheduled to October 2021.

The government is incapable of mitigating the country’s economic difficulties because of its heavy dependence on oil revenues and the weakness of the private sector. Iraq’s security and political uncertainties render the country unattractive to foreign investment. Poverty has increased dramatically during the pandemic, and the estimated 1.2 million internally displaced persons are particularly affected.

The state’s overall feeble administrative capacity was exposed by its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The fragile security situation has weakened further, as attacks by the Islamic State militia occur with increasing frequency. Moreover, Iran’s interference in Iraq’s domestic affairs has increased.

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