Iraqi Shiites Ditch Maliki in New Coalition

Group favors a government more closely allied with Iran
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 24, 2009 9:41 AM CDT
Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr is followed by an advisor as he leaves his hotel in Istanbul, Turkey, Saturday, May 2, 2009.   (AP Photo/Ibrahim Usta)
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(Newser) – Iraq’s major Shiite parties have formed a new coalition without Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki or his Dawa Party, they announced today. That means that unless Maliki finds new allies, he will likely lose his job following the January elections. If the new coalition wins a majority, he’ll be replaced by a leader with much closer ties to Iran, the Washington Post reports.

The coalition will be led by the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council, and includes the anti-American Sadr Movement. Both parties are closely linked with Iran, and their leaders currently live there. Maliki’s popularity has waned recently as violence has surged following the withdrawal of US troops from Iraqi cities. Last week’s coordinated bombing that killed more than 100 in Baghdad was a particularly harsh blow.