As recently reported, both the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SIIC) and Iran are desperately trying to put together the United Iraqi Alliance (UIA) before the 2010 parliamentary elections. Al-Hayat newspaper recently reported that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has agreed to rejoin the List as long as he gets to set the agenda. According to the paper, the coalition will be called the Coalition of the State of Law, after Maliki’s successful list in the 2009 provincial vote. The alliance will also be open to any party, and not just be a Shiite one like it was when it was originally formed. The Prime Minister has talked to Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani about creating such a list.
An SIIC member was also quoted in the Azzaman paper that they were consulting with the Sadrists to bring them back into the fold as well. Sadr’s followers left the alliance in September 2007 after there were efforts to push him out of the ruling coalition behind Maliki’s government. The Sadrists and SIIC are long-time rivals who carried out a running battle against each other across the south after the U.S. invasion. Maliki launched a crackdown on the Mahdi Army in March 2008 that largely broke up the militia. That didn’t stop the State of Law List from reaching out to the Sadrists after the January 2009 elections. The Sadrists have recently been protesting against their followers still being in prison, and being abused after the government’s offensives. They have blamed Maliki and the Supreme Council for these arrests, and their release may be a precondition for them to rejoin the alliance. Until then the Sadrists have said they will run on their own like they did in the provincial vote.
If Maliki goes ahead and rejoins the Supreme Council they could be a powerful force in the 2010 balloting. Maliki’s State of Law won the most seats in the provincial elections, but only came away with a majority in two provinces. Including the Supreme Council, and other parties would make the alliance a dominant force, and give Maliki say over any new coalition that was put together in parliament, thus cementing his role as kingmaker and center of Iraqi politics.
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Al-Sharqiyah Television, “Iraq Al-Sadr bloc leader speaks of unjustified detentions, views spat with Kuwait,” BBC Monitoring International Reports, 6/11/09
- “Iraq detains Interior Ministry employee over prison rights violations; update,” BBC Monitoring International Reports, 6/15/09
- “’Special groups’ leaders arrested in Iraq; political, security roundup,” BBC Monitoring International Reports, 6/15/09
- “US troops start withdrawal from Al-Sadr City; Iraq roundup,” BBC Monitoring International Reports, 5/29/09
Tavernise, Sabrina and Mizher, Qais, “In Iraq’s Mayhem, Town Finds Calm Through Its Tribal Links,” New York Times, 7/10/06