Supporters of Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr celebrate an
between the al-Sar faction in Iraq's National Assembly and
Minister Nouri al-Maliki, apparently guaranteeing a second term
the controversial Iraqi leader.
Iraqi News Agency,
Coalition with Al-Sadr 'Angers Americans'
knew that whether it was Jeffrey or some other U.S. official, they would act in
accordance with the mentality of the occupier, which of course we reject."
al-Sahil, a member of Muqtada al-Sadr's faction
"It was to
be expected that the Americans would support al-Maliki, since he's the one that
implemented the Campaign of the Knights (reference to the military campaign
against al-Sadr's Mahdi Army). But now that Maliki is allying himself with it,
this will definitely anger Washington."
The man once referred to by the White House as the 'radical cleric' Muqtada al-Sadr may be Washington's worst nightmare: In the Iraqi democracy America fought to create, it looks like he is the kingmaker.
BAGHDAD: On Wednesday,
the Americans broke a week-long silence about Nouri al-Maliki
receiving the blessing of Muqtada
al-Sadr for a second term as prime minister. American Ambassador James Jeffrey
expressed great concern about the coalition formula backed by Tehran, which prompted
al-Maliki to respond personally, saying that Jeffrey's information was inaccurate.
In the meantime, a member of
the al-Sadr faction described the concerns of the U.S. ambassador about a
Sadrist-Maliki coalition as a continuation of the mentality of occupation.
Informed sources expect al-Maliki’s
opponents to exploit Washington’s fears to maximum effect. Ambassador Jeffrey said
of al-Sadr that he's no different from any of the others who are obstructing
Iraqi democracy. In televised remarks, Jeffrey said that any formal role granted
al-Sadr by the Iraqi government would, negatively affect the emergence of a
strategic partnership between Washington and the Baghdad government.
This is the first indication from
Washington about the coalition formula being championed by Tehran, which was
achieved with great difficulty after America preferred to attempt to create a
constructive relationship between Maliki and the leader of the Iraqi List, Ayad
Alawi [who won the most votes in the March election].
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But Qusay al-Sahil of the al-Sadr
faction wasn’t surprised by the American reaction, describing it as to be
expected. Al-Sahil said, "We always knew that whether it was Jeffrey or some
other U.S. official, they would act in accordance with the mentality of the occupier,
which of course we reject."
Shiite cleric and
political leader Moqtada al-Sadr, right welcomes the
Ayad Allawi, winner of
Iraq's election seven months ago, to a meeting
in Syria on July 19. Syria
called the meeting to try and bridge the
gap between Sunni Allawi and
Shiite al-Sadr. Since Allawi is seen as
less sensitive to Iranian
influence, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon,
Jordan and Egypt
all favor him over Prime Minister Maliki.
Moreover, Adnan al-Danbus, a member
of the Iraqi List led by former Prime Minister Ayad Ailawi, said, "it was to
be expected that the Americans would support al-Maliki since he is the one that
implemented the Charge
of the Knights (reference to the military campaign against the al-Sadr's Mahdi Army in the
south of the country). But now that al-Maliki is allying himself with it, this will
definitely anger Washington."
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