Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Opinion (Sami Moubayed): Muqtada and Maliki as united as ever

Prime Minister al-Maliki at a press conference with Moqtada al-Sadr late last year.

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.

In pulling out his ministers, Muqtada stressed his demand for a timetable for a US troop withdrawal from Iraq....

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.

Read the rest at Asia Times