Photo credit: earthiq.news
Informed sources have told The Cradle that a private meeting was held in Najaf on 15 January between Sadrist movement (Sairoon) leader Muqtada al-Sadr and Fatah Alliance chief Hadi al-Ameri.
According to these sources, Ameri raised three issues critical to reaching a political agreement to form the next Iraqi government.
Sources said that while Ameri considers the formation of a new government and the selection of the next prime minister to be Sadr’s right – given the latter’s sweeping electoral victory – he has asked for the right to veto individuals in consultation with the Coordination Framework, a grouping of mainly Shia political parties that didn’t fare as well in the elections.
According to the sources, Ameri asked Sadr to refrain from confronting the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), and also requested that the Coordination Framework retain the right to veto any decision of Iraq’s armed forces commander related to strategic security issues.
Sadr insists on forming a majority government, and not a coalition with the State of Law party led by Nouri al-Maliki and Asaeb Ahl al-Haq led by Qais al-Khazali, stressing that the Iraqi people want the formation of a national majority government.
The fact that Sadr does not want two big factions of the Coordination Framework in the next government has increased the likelihood of the Framework parties joining the opposition.
Maliki’s party received the most seats in the parliamentary elections after Sadr’s Sairoon.
Despite Ameri asking Sadr to refrain from confrontation with Maliki after the new government is formed, sources say he has agreed to Sadr’s proposal to leave Maliki out of the government formation.
Sadr told Ameri at the meeting that he was ready to form a coalition with all forces within the Coordination Framework except Maliki, and sources say that Ameri’s efforts to reduce differences between the two proved fruitless.
The Cradle has learned that in a meeting between Sadr and the Coordination Framework on 5 December 2021, Maliki and Sadr got into a heated exchange of words, and the gaps have grown wider since.
After his meeting with Sadr, the sources said that Ameri returned to Baghdad for a Fatah Alliance summit, after which he will travel to Erbil to meet with Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) leader Masoud Barzani to discuss the formation of a new government.