Back in August 2009, Dawa led provincial councils started banning alcohol in the capital, Basra, Najaf, and Wasit. (1) That led to the closing of several liquor stores that had just re-opened after government crackdowns on Shiite militias in 2008. Dawa is Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s party.
Even though the premier has run on a secular platform in the 2009 and 2010 elections, there are still religious elements of his party, and it may be trying to appeal to likeminded Iraqis. The Sadrists for example, were key to securing Maliki’s nomination for a second term in office. Starting another anti-liquor campaign could be aimed at winning points with them as they have come out in support of the bans.
Sadrists protesting for banning alcohol in Baghdad
Writers and poets protesting crackdown on liquor sales in Baghdad
(Jewish Policy Center)
1. Al-Wazzan, Saleem, “booze ban in basra,” 3/23/10
Agence France Presse, “Iraqi writers protest against club closure and alcohol ban,” 12/3/10
Al-Jader, May, “Iraqi Writers Union outraged by social club closure,” AK News, 11/29/10
Al-Rafidayn, Al Arabiya, Al-Mada, Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, “The Crisis of Closing Down Baghdad Night Clubs Escalates,” MEMRI Blog, 12/9/10
Reuters, “Supporters of Shi’ite cleric MOqtada al-Sadr,” 12/10/10
Al-Wazzan, Saleem, “booze ban in basra,” 3/23/10