Six cabinet members loyal to radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr have made good on their threat to resign from the Iraqi parliament, after the Prime Minister refused to set a date for the Americans to leave. But they insist—in spite of a spate of violence yesterday and today that many blame on Sadr's Madhi Army—that the move is intended to strengthen the government.
"We are giving the prime minister an opportunity to choose the best people," Saad Hashimi, one of the departing ministers, told a press conference. For his part, al-Maliki has said good riddance, and the White House projects nonchalance. But it may be time to worry: one prominent Iraqi blogger cites a nationalist source who warns that a shadow government could be on the way.