The Common Ills
Moqtada al-Sadr is back, proving that he’s still a force in Iraqi politics The impetuous cleric whose militia once battled U.S. troops is challenging Iraq’s powerful political elites.
Moqtada is back?
When was he gone?
When THE WASHINGTON POST wasn't interested in him?
Moqtada's actually at his weakest currently.
For example, he met with Haider before setting up his tent in the Green Zone.
In the Green Zone alone should go to the fears Moqtada has about being with the masses these days.
But he met with Haider al-Abadi, prime minister of Iraq.
And he did so because the rallies Moqtada staged were backing what Haider wanted.
(As we noted in yesterday's snapshot, Moqtada's rallies were about frightening the other Shi'ite leaders into silence.)
This time, they wanted the same thing.
But the pre-calls and the visit were about one thing: Making sure that pocketed arrest warrant wouldn't be used if Moqtada came into the Green Zone.
Nouri al-Maliki held on to that, remember?
But there was no way that Moqtada would ever be taken in Najaf or Sadr City.
And even though doing so this week would have been political suicide for Haider, Moqtada was still concerned.
He's concerned now about something else: Parliament approving the Cabinet.
If it can't take place quickly (ten days is often mentioned), Moqtada will lead a call for a no-confidence vote.
This situation puts Moqtada at his weakest.
The no-confidence vote?
The US government (Barack) prevented one in 2012.
Are they going to allow one in 2016?
It's doubtful they'll just go along.
They'll probably try to stop it.
They'll blackmail, bully and buy off just as they did in 2012.
They may be successful, they may not.
But if the no confidence vote does not take place, that's egg on Moqtada's face.
This isn't like 2012 when Moqtada was part of a large cross section of Iraqi politics calling for a no confidence vote.
This was all Moqtada.
Okay, you say, but what if no vote is needed, what if the changes are made?
While that may or may not be good for Haider, is it good for Moqtada?
Does anyone really believe that one of the most corrupt governments in the world is going to suddenly change because a new set of ministers come into the Cabinet?
And who led the call for this?
Failure to end corruption, after a new Cabinet, could reflect very poorly on Moqtada who could be viewed as politically naive and/or impotent.
He has a lot riding on this and you can easily play out seven scenarios -- the bulk of which find him losing prestige and power.
THE POST is wrong about him being back (he'd never been gone), they're also wrong about him being "impetuous." He thought through what he did very carefully.
And that careful thought may allow his power to increase -- or it may not have been enough to save him -- depending on the immediate next events.
The passing of Zaha Hadid continues to garner attention. A smart prime minister would have issued a statement already -- Haider's not smart at all.
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