RealNews

Militant cleric wields influence with al-Jaafari

The selection of Ibrahim al-Jaafari to stay on as Iraq’s prime minister exposes stresses within his Shi’ite coalition and the growing political importance of militant conservative cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. The backing of Sheik al-Sadr, whose followers captured about one-quarter of the Shi’ite alliance’s 128 seats in the new parliament, proved critical in a weekend vote of caucus members to determine who would be prime minister. “He became the kingmaker,” said Amatzia Baram, a Woodrow Wilson International Center fellow who follows Iraqi political developments. “Without Muqtada, Jaafari had no chance.” Full Story

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