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Breakthrough for new Iraq government? Allawi meets Maliki, Sadr

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But Sadr upheld his opposition to Maliki – who in the past deployed Iraqi security forces against Sadr’s militia followers – becoming premier again.
“I haven’t even met [Maliki] – how can I ally with him?” Sadr said.

Progress, but not a breakthrough

The political meetings sought to breathe new life into a process that has angered Iraqis. They are fed-up and frustrated with politicians who appear, with all their bickering, more worried about their posts and perks than with forging a government that can solve Iraq’s multitude of problems.

“I see movement, but I don’t see a breakthrough,” says Toby Dodge, an Iraq specialist at the International Institute of Strategic Studies in London.

“If one imagines that Sadr had reconciled himself to Allawi being the lesser of two evils, you’ve still got a long way to [go],” says Mr. Dodge. “It’s still much more likely that Allawi will take second fiddle to Maliki… The Sadrists have a veto, and maybe in talking about Allawi so positively, Sadr is setting some form of [high] price for what’s to come.”

Such a deal might include Allawi gaining several key security ministries, and serving perhaps as deputy prime minister for security, while Maliki – or someone else from his State of Law bloc, if necessary – takes the top spot.

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