PM Haidar al-Abadi meets Muqtada al-Sadr, who in recent months led series of anti-government protests
By Arif Yusuf and Ali Jawad
Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi on Monday met with firebrand Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who in recent months has led a series of anti-government demonstrations.
The meeting tackled a host of political and security issues, particularly the war against Daesh and ongoing operations to retake the city of Mosul from the notorious terrorist group, according to a statement issued by al-Abadi’s office.
Monday’s meeting was the first between the two men since February, when al-Sadr called for the dismissal of al-Abadi’s cabinet.
In March, al-Sadr supporters staged a series of protests in Baghdad to demand that al-Abadi replace members of his cabinet with a government of “technocrats” untainted by corruption or sectarian affiliations.
Al-Sadr’s Ahrar Bloc holds 34 out of 328 seats in Iraq’s parliament.
The Ahrar Bloc, however, is not represented in Iraq’s current government after Ahrar-affiliated ministers collectively resigned in April.
“The meeting [between al-Sadr and al-Abadi] was intended to coordinate positions between members of the National Alliance,” alliance member Habib al-Turifi said.
The Shia-oriented National Alliance, which includes both al-Sadr’s Ahrar Bloc and al-Abadi’s Islamic Dawa Party, is the largest bloc in Iraq’s parliament.
According to al-Turifi, al-Abadi intends to propose a list of new ministers to parliament following the end of the current parliamentary recess.
For the last ten weeks, the Iraqi army has led a wide-ranging offensive to retake Mosul, which was captured by Daesh in mid-2014.
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