Iraq’s Stalemate Risks New Intra-Shi’ite Clashes

Sadr rules out any consensus government

An October 10 election didn’t leave any obvious path to a majority government in Iraq, but the delays and stalemates that have resulted are starting to raise tensions and risk new intra-Shi’ite conflicts.

The Sadrist Trend won the plurality in October, for whatever good it does them. They’ve got allies among Sunni Arabs and Kurds as a path for trying to form a coalition, but that’s been resisted by a rival Shi’ite group, the State of Law, effectively blocking the Sadrist coalition and trying to force a unity deal.

Sadr is ruling out that idea, saying that he absolutely will not allow a return to a “consensus” government. Both sides say they won’t accept the other side’s position forever.

Sadr argues that the public, which voted for his bloc on a promise of independence, wouldn’t accept another corrupt consensus deal. The State of Law is aligned with a number of militias, and Iran, and is warning they are holding out for a seat at the table.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.