As polling data continues to slowly come out of Iraq, the political faction loyal to Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has emerged as an increasingly important power, poised to seize the reins of the Iraqi National Alliance (INA).
Though the INA’s overall vote results have been embarrassing, the Sadr bloc has gone from an also-ran ally to the dominant Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SIIC) to the clear front-runner to take it over.
From small, vocal opposition faction, the Sadrists, if the polls hold true, will emerge as the head of a second-tier bloc, roughly equal to the Kurdish faction in size. This will not give the INA the victory it once sought, but it will leave them in the position of a valuable ally to one of the two frontrunning parties.
But where this will leave the SIIC is unclear. The party, once dominant in Iraqi politics under Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, now finds itself, less than a year after his death, a mere afterthought, struggling to find some position of relevance. Predictions abound, including the group abandoning the INA and slinking back to Maliki as a minor ally, but its days as a mover of politics in Iraq appear over, and for all intents and purposes the group looks like it hasn’t survived Hakim’s death, at least not in any meaningful form.