Sunday, February 01, 2009

Reports of a Sadr/Maliki local-council deal

There are now at least two reports, independent of one another, about a deal between Maliki and the Sadrists involving an alliance in one or more provincial councils. There aren't any details about the nature of the alliance, but one reported preparatory step was the agreement by Maliki for the release--with the acquiecence of the Americans--of Sadrists held prisoner at Camp Bucca.

(1) In an item dated Friday January 30, the Sadrist-affiliated newssite Nahrainnet said "a high-level person in the Council of Ministers" told them that Prime Minister Maliki had decided to issue an order for the release of a number of high-ranking Sadrists, from Bucca prison in Basra, and that this was to be carried out within 24 hours "unless the Americans had objections for security or political reasons".
And the source said the aim of this order was for Maliki and his list to obtain the support of the Sadrist trend in the local-council elections to be held the day after tomorrow, Saturday. ...

This step of Maliki's is to strengthen his chances for a big victory in his main struggle against the Supreme Council in the local elections, aiming to gather Sadrist votes for Maliki's "Nation of laws" list in the elections.

(2) In an item dated Sunday February 1, online newssite Iraq Alaan, in the course of a report on early estimates of a tight race between Maliki's list and that of the Supreme Council in Najaf governate, adds this:
[A source close to the electoral commission who didn't want to be named] ruled out the chances of the Supreme Council holding on to the majority that it has enjoyed previously in the provincial council. And political sources in Najaf spoke about "an agreement in principle between "Nation of Laws" [Maliki] and "Independent Liberation" [Sadrist] for an alliance in the coming provincial council.

(H/t LB of Roadsto Iraq)


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