Iraq’s Sadrists Back Off Attacks Upon Prime Minister Maliki For Now
In the last two months, Moqtada al-Sadr emerged as one of the strongest critics of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. He called the premier a dictator, and demanded a no confidence vote against him. At the end of June into July however, Sadr seemingly backed off in his attacks, and now appears to be working with Maliki. That could have been the result of Iranian pressure, which came down hard upon Sadr to reconcile with the prime minister. Even without that outside influence, the Sadrists have been playing a political game coming out against the premier rhetorically, while taking no substantive actions against him. This is all part of a strategy to position the Sadr Trend for the 2013 provincial and 2014 parliamentary elections where it hopes to either unseat Maliki or gain greater concessions from him in return for their support for a new ruling coalition.