Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Iran Prepares for a Post-Sistani Era | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Nuri Al Maliki (AFP)

London – Former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is no longer bothered by accusations and attacks from Muqtada al-Sadr, head of Sadrist Movement, the most popular among Shiite movements in power after 2003.

Based on what an Iraqi Shiite leader at one of the religious movements, who is currently visiting London, told Asharq Al-Awsat, Maliki is trying to return into the picture by making use of the changes in Iraq, in addition to what could be considered as an Iranian reconstruction, and not to forget the services Maliki had provided Iran with, especially during international sanctions.

The prominent figure spoke of a certain deal that had been agreed upon which includes choosing Ammar al-Hakim as head of National Iraqi Assembly, in return of assigning Maliki the presidency of the assembly the following year which happens to be an election year.

This seems to be in favor of Malik who is aiming to become the Sec-Gen of the Iraq National
Strategic Policy Council, which Allawi refused to preside since it lacks executive authorities.

According to the Shiite politician this could lead to a political battle because of the role that could be given to the Popular Mobilization Forces and its leadership during the elections.

Many officials are trying to get closer to Iran including Maliki, while Sadr and Hakim’s role deteriorated, especially that they both have their own organized public and are no longer in need of Iranian funding.

In the most dangerous accusation, Sadr said that “Maliki had sold Iraq for terrorism”. This comes after several charges of corruption against people close to Maliki.

Earlier, Maliki described Sadr during one of his interviews as a person new to politics, which prompted the accusation from Sadr that Maliki sold Iraq and doesn’t care anymore that he no longer has influence.

Saying that Sadr is new to politics could be linked to something bigger in the Shiite arena, especially concerning the arrangements to a post-Sistani era.

The Shiite figure considered that the story is not about the timing of the departure of Religious Authority Ali Sistani, but rather agreeing on a successor.

He believes that Iran is worried that all three possible candidates could not replace Sistani.

The candidates are: Mohammed Said al-Hakim, Bashir al-Najafi, and Iranian Religious Authority of Iraqi origins Mahmoud al-Hashimi al-Shahroudi.

The Iraqi politician believes that Hakim can no longer object after being assigned as head of assembly as a part of the deal with Maliki.

According to the politician, Maliki has dozens of factions within PMF and he is trying to take control over Reform Front which puts him in a position of power in face of his rivals.

He is trying to acquire a political position which makes him the guardian of the prime minister.

Maliki has given Iran several services and Tehran believes that he can be head of Strategic Policy Council.