Sadrists Furious With Al Maliki Over

Sadrists Furious with al-Maliki over “Baathist” Charge

The USG Open Source Center reports on the tiff between the Sadrists in parliament and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki occasioned by the latter’s charge that some Mahdi Army commanders are “Baathist” thugs.

Iraq: Al-Sadr Trend Criticizes Prime Minister’s Charge of ‘Ba’thist’ Infiltration
Iraq — OSC Report
Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Iraq: Al-Sadr Trend Sees US Impatience, Iraqi Political Opportunism Behind Prime Minister’s Charge of ‘Ba’thist’ Infiltration The Al-Sadr Trend expressed resentment at Prime Minister Al-Maliki’s recent charge that the movement has been penetrated by criminals whom he described as “Ba’thist” holdovers. Some officials within the movement viewed Al-Maliki’s criticism as an insincere effort to placate the US Administration, which is rumored in Iraqi media to be preparing to bring down the current government over its failure to meet US expectations. Other observers in the Al-Sadr Trend explained the charges as a sign that the prime minister’s party was feeling free enough to drop its agreement with the Al-Sadr Trend now that it has signed a new bilateral alliance with the leading Shiite party.

Officials in the Al-Sadr Trend cast Al-Maliki’s charge as a concession to the US intended to stave off the downfall of his faltering government. Iraqi media reports of concern among US officials that the Baghdad government would fall short of attaining its objectives revived predictions that Washington would seek to bring down the Al-Maliki Government in the near future.

Al-Sadr Trend spokesman Salih al-Ubaydi said that “the man is carrying out his commitments to the US Administration” and explained that, by offering the US a “green light” to attack the Sadrists, Al-Maliki sought to “save his government from a conspiracy” of “domestic and foreign forces” (Al-Sharqiyah TV, 8 July). Ahmad al-Shaybani, a top aide to Muqtada al-Sadr, reported that Al-Maliki hoped to “extend this government’s life,” but he cited information from “our private sources” as indicating that Al-Maliki had been told by the “occupation forces” that “the next few days” would see his government fall (Al-Zaman, 8 July).
Asma’ al-Musawi of the Trend’s political bureau ascribed Al-Maliki’s charges to the prime minister’s “political duality” — that is, “a change in his rhetoric when he faced the media” — and reported that, in private meetings, he had told the Trend that “the government would not have endured had it not been for (its) support” (Al-Malaf Press, 8 July).

Other observers in the Al-Sadr Trend interpreted the prime minister’s charges in the context of the announcement by his Islamic Da’wah Party (IDP) that it had reached an agreement with the Iraqi Islamic Supreme Council (IISC) — formerly the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) — with the ultimate aim of forming a new “moderates’ front” with the leading Kurdish and Sunni Arab parties. Referring to the old IDP pact with the Al-Sadr Trend — which enabled Al-Maliki to come to power in the first place and which has evidently been superseded by the new IDP/IISC agreement — some Sadrist officials commented sardonically that, if Al-Maliki’s criticism of the Al-Sadr Trend was valid, it followed that he himself had been brought to power by the hated “Ba’thists” ( Al-Malaf Press, 8 July).

Ahmad al-Sharifi reported that the Al-Sadr Trend’s “new position on Al-Maliki” reflected the formation “behind the Al-Sadr Trend’s back” of an IDP-IISC “coordination committee” to further those parties’ special interests (Al-Zaman, 8 July).
In a report citing “sources close to the Al-Sadr Trend,” a news website sympathetic toward the movement noted that the prime minister’s statement marked the IDP’s decision to forsake its longstanding alliance with the Sadrists. “Despite the claim that the Al-Maliki Government provided cover for the Al-Sadr Trend, the facts indicate otherwise,” commented the report, which after a listing of the Sadrists arrested or killed concluded “there has been no protection for the Al-Sadr Trend or the Jaysh al-Mahdi from Al-Maliki’s government” (Nahrain Net, 8 July).

This OSC product is based exclusively on the content and behavior of selected media and has not been coordinated with other US Government components.

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