December 1, 2010
MOOKIE IN THE MIDDLE:
Sadrists Expect Big Role in New Iraq Government (AP, 12/01/10)
After winning 40 seats in the election, the Sadrists swung their support behind al-Maliki in a surprise move in September that was crucial in propelling him to a second term.Posted by Orrin Judd at December 1, 2010 3:20 PM
Now the question of how much political power they will receive in return is unnerving Iraqis and Americans alike.
The Sadrists' Mahdi Army militia repeatedly battled with American forces since 2003 and was involved in brutal sectarian violence against Sunnis. In recent years, it has also grown closer to Iran, where the movement's leader al-Sadr is studying — meaning its presence gives Tehran yet another avenue of influence in Baghdad.
The Sadrist movement is pressing for a bigger presence in the police and military apparatus and could pick up key service ministries like Health, Education or Electricity, which would give them significant patronage powers for their supporters and wide influence over all Iraqis' lives.