With a deal between Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and the Sadr-led Iraqi National Alliance (INA) seemingly a done deal, Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi today claimed the Iraqiya bloc was close to a forming the government themselves.
According to Hashemi, Iraqiya had reached an agreement with the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SIIC), the former dominant player in the INA, and said he believed those who would go along with SIIC would be enough for Iraqiya to form the government.
Iraqiya won a narrow plurality in the March election, but has struggled to find government partners. Maliki’s State of Law bloc, a narrow second, also struggled but was on the cusp of a deal with the INA when US officials stepped in and demanded he oust Sadr’s faction, the largest in the INA, from his coalition.
Now it seems that the INA may well be splintering, with US threats making Sadr too dangerous a partner to accept but the SIIC and the various smaller factions still very much in play. If the INA stayed a solid bloc, it seems no government would be possible, at least without major fallout with the Obama Administration.
But this creates the new question of what it will take to get the SIIC on one side or the other, and while both are giving lip-service to “change” and their political stances the likelihood is that it will involve major position concessions, despite the SIIC being a comparatively small party in and of itself. Officials in the INA had floated SIIC figure Adel Abdulmahdi as a possible Prime Minister candidate, and while State of Law had ruled this out, Iraqiya might still be willing to budge, assuming they can bring enough other members of the Shi’ite INA with them to make it a worthwhile partnership.