Despite US Warnings, Sadr Bloc Expects ‘Big Role’ in Iraqi Govt

Faction Seeks Major Cabinet Positions as Part of Coalition

Though the Obama Administration has made it very clear they don’t want cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s political bloc anywhere near the coalition government, the bloc has not only remained within the coalition, but is expected to reap considerable positions in the cabinet.

Top Sadr bloc MP Hakim al-Zamili suggested that amongst the positions sought was Deputy PM in Charge of Security Affairs, as the bloc has often called for the need to “shake up” the security forces.

Analysts said such a position was unlikely because Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki needed to retain some measure of control over the security forces to keep the US happy, and some reports have suggested that the positions of Defense Minister and Interior Minister have been ruled out, though Zamili denied that this was the case.

The Sadrist political faction has rarely had any influence in parliament, but gained several seats in the March election, ending up with the largest number of seats in the Iraqi National Alliance and playing the role of kingmaker in the wake of the vote. While it is conceivable that other members of the INA may get some positions the government has suggested that the large Iraqiya bloc will get virtually nothing, and it seems inevitable that the Sadrists will get multiple key positions.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.