Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Iraq's Sadr forms surprise alliance with pro-Iran coalition

Iraq's Sadr forms surprise alliance with pro-Iran coalition
The leader of Iraq's leading parliamentary coalition announced an unexpected alliance with a pro-Iranian political bloc to form a new government.

Muqtada al-Sadr, the leader of the Sairoon alliance that won Iraq's May 12 parliamentary elections with 54 seats, has been openly opposed to Iranian involvement in his country. Tuesday evening, however, Sadr said he was partnering with the Fatah coalition, led by Hadi al-Amirir -- a fluent Persian speaker and Iran's closest ally in Iraq.

Sadr, a former militia leader who led uprisings against the U.S. military presence in Iraq, once called for his country to be independent of both the United States and Iran.

"Our meeting was a very positive one, we met to end the suffering of this nation and of the people," Sadr said during a joint conference with Amiri. "Our new alliance is a nationalist one."

The two blocs won first and second place in the country's parliamentary elections last month. The new alliance marks the first steps towards forming a new government after weeks of negotiations between parties.

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