Saturday, September 15, 2007

Sadr Bloc Withdraws From Iraqi Government

The political faction loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr has withdrawn from the Iraqi government, depriving the coalition assembled by Nuri Kemal al-Maliki of 30 votes in parliament. Today's decision was announced at a press conference in the holy city of Najaf, and comes five months after the Sadrist faction of the cabinet withdrew.

The Sadrists have long complained that Prime Minister al-Maliki has ignored their concerns and failed to include them in the decision making process. One major point of contention between the Sadrists and Maliki has been their insistence on a timeline for the withdrawal of American forces, and Maliki's steadfast refusal to incorporate them. The Sadrist faction has also been extremely critical of re-Baatification efforts.

Although the withdrawal of the Sadrists is not likely to bring down the government, the move is significant because Maliki became prime Minister only with the support of Muqtada al-Sadr and his followers.

No official reason for the withdrawal has been given, but it seems something of a given that al-Sadr is eager to distance himself from a government that is so close to the Americans that some call it a puppet. The movement issued a brief statement proclaiming that "The political committee has declared the withdrawal of the Sadr bloc from the alliance because there was no visible indication that the demands of Sadr's bloc were being met." There was no further elaboration.

To even the casual observer, it is starting to look like aWol and his minions picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue.

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