Allawi Reports Intensifying Talks With Sadr Bloc

As Violence Rises, Political Stalemate Seems to Solidify

Though it doesn’t appear that the announcement necessarily portends any deals in the near future, Iraq’s former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi today announced that his secular Iraqiya bloc will intensify talks with the Sadr bloc, which came out of the March 7 election in charge of the Iraqi National Alliance (INA).

Iraqiya came out of the election with a narrow plurality, but seemed destined to wind up in the opposition when the INA paired up with the second place State of Law bloc. Tension between the two Shi’ite religion factions have pointed to a break-up, however, and the INA seems to be testing the water for a new pairing with Iraqiya.

The alliance isn’t as far-fetched as it sounds. Allawi’s bloc centers mostly around nationalism, and while the INA came out as a religion-heavy Shi’ite bloc Moqtada al-Sadr, the bloc’s de facto leader after the election, is strongly nationalist as well.

But the INA appears to have ruled out anyone from Iraqiya as a prime minister, and has also ruled out State of Law leader Nouri al-Maliki. Maliki and Allawi have also broken off talks. Assuming we take everyone at their word this could mean the most likely result is still a split parliament and a fresh election.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.