Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Muqtada and Maliki as united as ever

Although Shi'ite leader Muqtada al-Sadr has withdrawn his six ministers from Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's cabinet, he has not gone as far as pulling his deputies out of Parliament. That would surely have scuttled the Iraqi government. Despite what they want the world to believe, Muqtada and Maliki need each other, if only to keep their nemesis - former premier Iyad Allawi - out of power.

By Sami Moubayed
Asia Times

"DAMASCUS - The relationship between Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki appeared to have taken a major downturn on Monday when Muqtada withdrew his six ministers from the cabinet. Appearances, though, especially in Byzantine Iraqi politics, can be deceptive.....

Significantly, though, Muqtada did not withdraw his 30 deputies from the 275-seat Parliament. Had he done that, it would automatically have brought down not only the Maliki cabinet but the entire Iran-backed United Iraqi Alliance (UIA) that heads Parliament and in which the Sadrists are a leading group.

Muqtada and Maliki apparently want the world to believe that they are no longer friends. They have not become enemies, however; at least not yet......

As far as Muqtada and Maliki are concerned, they are willing to work with the devil - or each other - to defeat Allawi."

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