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Demos
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Sadr Set to Win Iraqi Election
May 14th, 2018 at 11:17am
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Cleric Sadr, in surprise comeback, seems set to win Iraq election

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Nationalist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, a long-time adversary of the United States, led in Iraq’s parliamentary election with more than half the votes counted on Monday, the electoral commission said, in a surprise turn of fortune for the Shi’ite leader.

In the first election since Islamic State was defeated in the country, Shi’ite militia chief Hadi al-Amiri’s bloc, which is backed by Iran, was in second place, while Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, once seen as the front-runner, trailed in third position.

The preliminary results were based on a count of more than 95 percent of the votes cast in 10 of Iraq’s 18 provinces...

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Some background on Sadr:

Sadr and the Mahdi Army

A Shia Cleric's Radical Vision for Iraq
  
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EF
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Re: Sadr Set to Win Iraqi Election
Reply #1 - May 14th, 2018 at 11:24am
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Demos wrote on May 14th, 2018 at 11:17am:


But I bet he won't win by nearly as big a margin as Putin did.
  

non sumus stulti
but
accidit stercore
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Re: Sadr Set to Win Iraqi Election
Reply #2 - May 14th, 2018 at 11:34am
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Disillusionment Appears to Help Shi'ite Cleric in Iraq Vote

BAGHDAD — Widespread disillusionment with Iraq's current political class appears to have helped the political coalition of influential Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr become the early front-runner in national elections marked by record low turnout.

Partial returns of the 2018 vote — the first since Iraq declared victory over the Islamic State group — were announced late Sunday by the Iraqi electoral commission and put al-Sadr's political alliance in the lead in four provinces, including Baghdad.

The election came as the country deals with the disenfranchisement of the country's Sunni minority. Of more than 2 million Iraqis displaced by the war, the majority are Sunnis. Also at issue is the influence of Iran on the country: Iranian-backed Shiite militias who played a key role in defeating IS and were allied with the Shi'ite-led Baghdad government made significant electoral gains.

Al-Sadr is a strong Iraqi nationalist — he is critical of any outside influence in the country — and campaigned on a platform that criticized Iraq's current political leadership as deeply corrupt. He rose to prominence in Iraq after the 2003 U.S.-led overthrow of Saddam Hussein when he commanded a militia that fought American troops. He also commanded paramilitary forces in the war against IS.

Al-Sadr did not run for a seat in parliament and therefore cannot become prime minister. However, if his alliance wins the most seats, a member of his bloc will be tasked with forming a majority government and will appoint the country's next prime minister. Despite not holding an official office, al-Sadr exercises strong organizational control over his followers...

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Demos
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Re: Sadr Set to Win Iraqi Election
Reply #3 - May 14th, 2018 at 11:37am
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EF wrote on May 14th, 2018 at 11:24am:
But I bet he won't win by nearly as big a margin as Putin did.

Probably not, since these are real elections. And that is the good news, i.e., real elections taking place in Iraq. The other good news here is that Sadr does not have ties to Iran (even if he doesn't like us either). I think the question really is what happens with the Sunnis - will they have a role in the new government (since Sadr's party will need to form a coalition) or continue to sit on the sidelines.
  
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Re: Sadr Set to Win Iraqi Election
Reply #4 - May 15th, 2018 at 12:45pm
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Re: Sadr Set to Win Iraqi Election
Reply #5 - May 15th, 2018 at 3:42pm
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For what it's worth, some discussion of Iran's attempt to maintain its influence in Iraq...

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Soleimani is in Iraq to form a Shia Coalition that will marginalize Sadr and exit the US.  Soleimani can also easily turn Sadr if the past is any indication.

Soleimani is 4 seats away from forming a pro-Iran coalition without Sadr - he will either peel away eats from Sadr or move Sadr - and don't kid yourself - the best way to do this is to leave Haider al-Abadi as PM.

https://twitter.com/MPPregent/status/996443645309079552
  
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Re: Sadr Set to Win Iraqi Election
Reply #6 - May 16th, 2018 at 9:46am
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Iraq’s Top 10 Potential Prime Ministers

Nouri al-Maliki was a relatively unknown parliamentary infighter for Iraq’s Dawa Party when he was tapped to replace the ineffectual Ibrahim al-Jaafari as his country’s prime minister following the disastrous bombing of a Shiite holy site in the city of Samarra in 2006. Haider al-Abadi was as obscure when he received the blessings of Tehran, Washington, and the senior clergy in Najaf to take the helm after the collapse of the Iraqi armed forces in the face of an Islamic State onslaught in 2014.

If the pattern holds, two things can already be said about the prime minister who will eventually emerge from last week’s general election in Iraq: He’ll be from the country’s majority Shiite community, and if it’s not Abadi he will probably be relatively unknown, to Iraqis and the international community alike. (It’s also clear that Moqtada al-Sadr, the Shiite cleric who is the leader of the coalition that surprisingly won the election, won’t end up prime minister, because he didn’t run for a seat in parliament.) “Judging by experience, it could be an unexpected candidate — the compromise figure rather than any of the household names,” says Fanar Haddad, an Iraq specialist at the National University of Singapore.

Iraqi politicians will begin assembling their next government as soon as last weekend’s general election vote is officially ratified and seats in the 329-seat parliament are allocated (a process that could take weeks given the number of voting irregularity allegations). The process will necessarily be a compromise: Winning a majority of lawmakers requires proving unobjectionable to the country’s main power brokers.

These include the Iraqi political blocs representing all three major sects and ethnicities, the Shiite clergy in the shrine cities of Najaf and Karbala, and Iraq’s patrons in Iran and the United States. Increasingly, Saudi Arabia — which shares a border and tribal links with Iraq and sees itself as a protector of the country’s Sunni minority — is gaining a say in who leads Iraq. With strong ties to Iraq’s ethnic Turkmen minority and some Sunni factions, Turkey also has leverage, though no veto. And the brinkmanship has already begun. According to one analyst, Qassem Suleimani, the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’s secretive Quds Force, has dispatched deputies to Baghdad to make sure Iran’s interests are represented...

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