Will al-Maliki trigger a Shiite-Shiite clash, and what is Iran’s position?

Written by – Elijah J. Magnier:

Iraq did not witness a sharp division between the Shiites in the political arena and the street, but this is happening after the parliamentary elections that led to the Sadrists winning the parliamentary majority (73 seats) and the election of the Speaker and his two deputies. However, differences are not occurring only between the Shiite parties calling themselves the “coordinating framework” (CD) and the Sadrist movement. Rather, it is the CD itself, with its different members, which is not homogeneous. This invites the enemies of Iraq to ignite the embers of a fire with the indirect support of the Shiites. Former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is considered the godfather of the CD, holding direct responsibility for the Shiite-Shiite dispute. However, a final solution must be found before the end of this month, the date for the election of the new Iraqi President.

The inter-Shia dispute over key governmental positions is not new. When the parliamentary elections took place in December 2005, the Shiite alliance called the “United Iraqi Alliance – 555” won a majority of 129 parliamentary seats. Parliament’s number at that time reached 275 (329 MPs today). Consequently, it needed only nine seats to obtain a parliamentary majority (138 seats). The difference occurred between the Shiite coalition, the powerful parties led by the Supreme Council and the Badr Organisation, and the Da’wa party. Following negotiations in which the Grand Ayatollah Sayed Ali Sistani was involved, it was decided to remove Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari because he was given the authority to choose a prime minister from his Da’wa party. He chose his second in command in the party, Nouri al-Maliki, whose name was presented to the occupying US authorities and was approved as the next Prime Minister.

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