Saturday, November 17th | 9 Kislev 5779

Subscribe
May 21, 2018 8:33 am

Victorious Iraqi Cleric Seeks to Maneuver Iranian Influence

avatar by Reuters and Algemeiner Staff

Email a copy of "Victorious Iraqi Cleric Seeks to Maneuver Iranian Influence" to a friend

Iraqi Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr speaks during a news conference with Iraqi politician Ammar al-Hakim, leader of the Hikma Current, in Najaf, Iraq May 17, 2018. Photo: REUTERS/Alaa al-Marjani/File Photo.

Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, whose political bloc was declared the winner of Iraq’s parliamentary election, met Hadi al-Amiri, leader of a pro-Iran bloc, on Sunday in what Sadr portrayed as part of an inclusive discussion about government formation.

During the meeting, the political rivals discussed the results of the 2018 parliamentary elections, according to a statement from Sadr’s office.

“The process of government formation must be a national decision and importantly, must include the participation of all the winning blocs,” the statement said.

Winning the largest number of seats does not automatically guarantee that Sadr will be able to hand-pick a prime minister.

Related coverage

November 16, 2018 2:21 pm
0

Business as Usual as UN Committee Passes Nine Resolutions Slamming Israel in Single Day

A special committee of the United Nations General Assembly on Friday voted in favor of nine resolutions attacking the State...

As no electoral list won an outright majority, negotiations to form a coalition government are expected to drag on for months.

Amiri’s Al-Fatih bloc came second. One of the most powerful figures in Iraq, Amiri heads an umbrella of paramilitary groups and has maintained close ties with Iran for decades.

Sadr, a long-time adversary of the United States who also opposes Iranian influence in Iraq, cannot become prime minister because he did not run in the election. However, the victory of his Sairoon bloc puts him in a position to have a strong say in negotiations.

Before the election, Tehran publicly stated it would not allow Sadr’s bloc to govern close ally Iraq, with which it shares a border. Iran has influenced the choice for prime minister in the past.

The meeting with Amiri came less than 24 hours after the populist cleric met with incumbent Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, hinting at a possible coalition.

Abadi’s electoral list trailed Amiri in third place, but he could still emerge as a compromise candidate. Abadi is seen as palatable to all sides because he has managed the competing interests of the United States and Iran — uneasy allies in the war against Islamic State — during his term in office.

Share this Story: Share On Facebook Share On Twitter Email This Article

Let your voice be heard!

Join the Algemeiner

Algemeiner.com