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.
“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.