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Return of Sadr to Iraqi National Alliance Raises Questions | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Prominent Iraqi Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr speaks during news conference in Najaf, south of Baghdad, April 30, 2016. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani

Baghdad – Ammar Al-Hakim, head of the Iraqi National Alliance, seemed happy as he announced the return of the Sadrist movement to the Iraqi National Alliance.

The announcement was made during a press conference at the house of Hakim with the presence of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and representatives of Sadrist movement, while Nouri al-Maliki was absent.

Maliki didn’t attend any of the meetings of the leadership of the National Alliance despite the fact that the deal happened under his patronage, but he achieved what was planned for, and that is the return of Moqtada al-Sadr, head of Sadrisit movement, to the alliance.

Yet, the unity of the alliance seemed to prominent Iraqi Shi’ite politicians, Ezzat al-Shabandar and Nadim al-Jabiri, as a tribute to the big brother, in reference to Iran.

Sadrist movement representatives announced the return of the Sadrist movement to meetings of the three authorities of the Iraqi National Alliance.

Chairman of the Sadrist movement committee to the Iraqi National Alliance, Jaafar al-Moussawi said that the movement presented a letter of reforms including 14 points.

He added that the meeting held by the political committee reached a consensus about the return of the Ahrar Bloc to the meetings.

Moussawi stated that the content of the Sadrist Movement’s letter will be announced by the official spokesman of the Iraqi National Alliance. The movement valued the efforts made by Hakim.

For his part, and despite direct and indirect disputes between Maliki and Sadr, Prime Minister Abadi considered the return of Sadrists to the meetings of the Iraqi National Alliance an important step for political stability.

Abadi praised the effort made by the president of the Iraqi National Alliance for unifying of the stance of Iraqis.

Former MP and prominent Iraqi politician Ezzat al-Shabandar, speaking to Asharq al-Awsat newspaper, wondered if there was anything indicating that this bloc would support the national project that Sadr has always called for.

Shabandar added that everything remained the same even when they speak of a technocratic government, as they choose their candidates from the same old blocs.

The former MP expressed his content with the schisms within the Shi’ites, Sunnis, and Kurds because he believes it sets the ground for a new national map.

Haidar al-Gharabi, Professor at the Hawza, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the request of Religious Authority Sisatni for Sadr to return to the alliance proves once again that Sistani is the father of everyone, even those who follow Khamenei.

Gharabi added that Sadr is applying his father’s saying to refer to the Religious Authority since it unites all, especially that Sistani has always called for a united Iraq.

He pointed out that since they consulted with Sistani, figures have to comply with what he says to avoid disputes on posts and positions.

Prominent politician and former Sec-Gen of Virtue Party Nadim al-Jabiri told Asharq al-Awsat that members of the alliance refer to the Religious Authority only when it falls in line with their benefits, while they deny his opinions when it contradicts with their aspirations.

Jabiri believes that the return of Sadr to the alliance is a return to square one and can’t be described as a positive outcome since it delivers the wrong message and deepens sectarian divisions.