London, Asharq Al-Awsat – Informed sources within the National Iraqi Alliance [NIA] have revealed that the Supreme Islamic Council of Iraq [ISCI] that is led by Ammar al-Hakim, and the Iraqiya bloc that is led by Iyad Allawi, have postponed the announcement of their alliance – which was expected to take place on Monday – due to the presence of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in Iran. Al-Maliki chose to coordinate his visit to Iran with the scheduled announcement of the Allawi – al-Hakim alliance in order to place the two parties in an awkward position with Tehran.
A source who spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity revealed that “al-Maliki wanted to send a message to Iran that all Shiite blocs have agreed upon his nomination, and that the ISCI is the only [Shiite] bloc that disagrees and wants to ally with the Iraqiya bloc. However the ISCI and the Iraqiya bloc have taken the prompt decision to postpone the announcement of their alliance for they do not want to enter a confrontation with Iran or with any other party that wishes to weaken their alliance.”
The source also confirmed that the Sadrist trend, that previously accepted al-Maliki’s nomination as the National Alliance prime ministerial candidate – which is the alliance between al-Hakim’s NIA and al-Maliki’s State of Law coalition [SLC] – is today “not committed to al-Maliki’s nomination, and that the deadline given by the Sadrist trend to al-Maliki will end at the end of the current month.” The source added that “this is a definite deadline after which the Sadrist trend will be free of its support for al-Maliki.”
The source also revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that “the Sadrist trend has made a preliminary decision to join a new alliance that includes all political parties and forces [in Iraq] including the Kurdistan alliance.” The source also clarified that the Sadrist trend only announced support for al-Maliki following external pressure, in a veiled reference to Iran.
The Sadrist trend had announced its support for al-Maliki’s nomination as the National Alliance’s prime ministerial candidate earlier this month, whilst the ISCI and the affiliated Islamic Virtue party announced their rejection of al-Maliki’s nomination by boycotting National Alliance meetings.
As for whether Iraqi vice president and NIA prime ministerial candidate Adel Abdel-Mahdi will be the new candidate for a new alliance, a source told Asharq Al-Awsat that “in its postponed announcement the Iraqiya bloc was going to announce its support for Adel Abdel-Mahdi’s nomination, and this will be announced at a later date.”
Moqtada al-Sadr, leader of the Sadrist trend, has called for a new Iraqi government to be formed as quickly as possible, stressing that this government should include all Iraqi parties. An official source within the Sadrist trend revealed that “the Sadrist trend will not participate in a government that does not include all political blocs.”
A source close to Moqtada al-Sadr told Asharq Al-Awsat via telephone from Baghdad yesterday that in a meeting in Qom on Monday, al-Sadr informed al-Maliki that “he will not support a government that does not include the Iraqiya bloc, and that he considers the participation of the Iraqiya bloc, the ISCI, and the Kurds essential in the formation of any government, otherwise he will withdraw his party’s support for al-Maliki.”
Meanwhile Nasser al-Rubaie, a senior member of the Sadrist trend and a member of the party’s negotiation commission told Asharq Al-Awsat yesterday that “our relationship with the Iraqiya bloc is very good, dialogue is ongoing and our meetings with them have not ceased.” He also stressed that “the Sadrist trend wants a government that represents all parties and blocs that won [seats] at the elections without marginalizing any bloc.”
A source close to al-Sadr told Asharq Al-Awsat that “the meeting between Sayyid Moqtada al-Sadr and al-Maliki was short and the two parties did not discuss any details, and was not characterized by the light atmosphere that prevailed during the al-Sadr – Allawi meeting which took place in Damascus.” The source added that “al-Sadr and his party will not forget Allawi and the Iraqiya bloc’s defense of the Sadrist trend and its imprisoned Sadrist members, and they will not forget the Iraqiya bloc leader’s praise of the Sadrist trend’s patriotism.”
A source in the Iraqiya bloc has also confirmed that Allawi “has telephoned al-Sadr over the past three days, and that telephone calls between the two leaders are ongoing in order to coordinate the formation of the government.”