Saturday, June 12, 2010

Maliki Tries To Woo Sadrists

The Iraqi government recently released 14 Sadrists from prison on June 9, 2010. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki first mentioned freeing Sadrists in May when he sent two delegations to meet with Moqtada al-Sadr in Qom, Iran. Officials claimed that it was part of a reconciliation process started by the Prime Minister. Most think that it was an attempt to appease the Sadrists who have consistently complained about the authorities arresting and holding their followers.

 Sadr’s objections to Maliki returning to the premiership is a major reason why a new Iraqi government has not been formed yet

So far, the overtures have been rejected by the Sadr movement. Sadr himself called Maliki a liar on April 11. In June, Niqash on-line magazine interviewed Ameer Kinani, the secretary general of the Sadrist political party Ahrar. Kinani accused Maliki of using the government against their movement, not solving the terrorist problem in the country, trying to politicize the security forces, and said that the prime minister was a dictator. Such strong language does not point to the Sadrists being appeased by Maliki’s move. That being said, they could still come around if they are given some of the major ministries they are asking for such as Education, Planning, and Justice. As of now, they are playing hardball, and their objections to Maliki returning to the premiership is one of the major reasons why Maliki’s State of Law and the Sadrist-Supreme Council led National Alliance have not formalized their new coalition, and no new Iraqi government has been announced more than three months after national elections.

SOURCES

AK News, “State of Law: “Our talks with National Coalition stalled due to selection of new Prime Minister,” 4/29/10

Aswat al-Iraq, “Iraqi courts release 14 Sadrist detainees,” 6/9/10

Najm, Hayder, “al-kinani: maliki is a dictator par excellence,” Niqash, 6/8/10

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, “Sadrists Wary Of Renominating Iraqi Premier Al-Maliki,” 5/21/10

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