Antichrist Straightens Out Iraq’s Government

Sadr, Amiri in row over allegations of corruption in the nomination of Iraqi ministers

Amiri’s Fatih leads the al-Bina Coalition, which includes prominent Sunni entities, as well as the State of Law Coalition led by Nouri al-Maliki, Sadr’s main adversary. (Photo: Reuters)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr on Monday warned the head of the al-Fatih Alliance, Hadi al-Amiri, of a rift in their coalition should the latter not move to deter what Sadr described as the “purchasing of ministries” with “unprecedented” foreign backing.

Following months of political deadlock after the May 12 national elections, Sadr reluctantly allied with Amiri to defuse a possible conflict between Shia parties and agreed to nominate Adil Abdul-Mahdi as prime minister.

Amiri’s Fatih leads the al-Bina Coalition, which includes prominent Sunni entities as well as the State of Law Coalition led by Nouri al-Maliki, Sadr’s main adversary.

Allegations of backdoor deals trading high-level positions in Abdul-Mahdi’s yet incomplete cabinet has led public anger in the country, still wracked by rampant corruption 15 years after the fall of the former regime.

“There are huge deals between some members of al-Fatih and Sunni politicians among the al-Bina Coalition to buy ministries with large [sums] of money and with unprecedented external support,” Sadr wrote on his Twitter account on Monday.

We agreed together that Iraq should be managed in a [transparent] manner and in a new way that preserves its independence and sovereignty,” Sadr stated, directing his criticisms toward Amiri.

The firebrand cleric warned the alliance would only continue as long as Amiri “tries to change” what is “happening under his watch” and remain committed to “not compromise the nation.”

Following an election, parliamentary factions normally enter deals to form the largest bloc, present a candidate for the premiership, and form government.

These elections, however, were less straightforward as two major coalitions claimed to be the largest bloc: the Sadr-led Reform and Reconstruction Bloc, and the Amiri-led al-Bina Coalition. The two eventually banded together to name a single candidate for the post of prime minister.

Sadr reaffirmed his agreement with Amiri in that “Iraq is the largest bloc,” and said, “I am allied with you” not “the corrupt and the militias.”

Sadr appeared to refer to both Sunni and Shia leaders in the al-Bina Coalition, more notably those with close ties to Tehran.

“I hope that your eminence will be able to send the information available to you in order to follow it seriously with the judiciary,” Amiri later responded to Sadr’s claims.

Sources with close links to the coalitions told Kurdistan 24 that Sadr was specifically referring to the leader of the al-Hilal Party, Jamal al-Karbouli, and prominent leaders in the Iran-backed Hashd al-Shaabi.

“Sadr’s message does not indicate that there is a lot of tension (with Amiri),” he said. “It’s too early to talk about the coalition breaking up.”

Another source said that Sadr was “upset” by al-Bina nominating former national security advisor and Chairman of the Hashd al-Shaabi, Falih al-Fayyadh, to take the post of Minister of Interior, demanding another candidate be presented.

The post of Interior Minister is among eight that have yet to be filled since Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi formally took office last month.

The parliament is scheduled to hold a meeting on Wednesday, but voting on the remaining posts is not on the agenda, further delaying the formation of the government.

Editing by Nadia Riva

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