Having spent the last seven months publicly rejecting the notion of having any involvement in a government with current Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Ayad Allawi has suddenly had a change of heart and is interested in terms for a shared government.
The change comes just days after a deal between Maliki and anti-US cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has brought Maliki within a few seats of being able to dominate the government and relagate Allawi’s secularist Iraqiya bloc to the opposition.
The US was long keen on bringing Maliki and Allawi together, but without success. Yet now that Allawi is open to the idea, it seems he isn’t really needed, and his bargaining power is likely extremely low.
Though it remains possible that Maliki might accept Allawi’s bloc, if for no other reason than to keep the nation’s Sunni minority from claiming that the government is entirely Shi’ite run, it seems difficult to believe he will be able to negotiate anything more than a secondary position, while strengthening Maliki even further.
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