Breakthrough in Iraq Gov’t Deal

It looks like Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki will get a second term. After seven months of bargaining and jockeying for position, al-Maliki seems to have secured the nomination by winning the support of the Sadrists, supporters of the radical exiled cleric Moktada al-Sadr. After withdrawing from the government in 2006, the Sadrists returned with renewed force this March, winning 40 seats in parliament. Their success is bad news for the U.S., as the Sadrists are closely allied with Iran and vehemently oppose what they call “the foreign occupation.” The alliance with the radical Shiite group threatens to raise tension with Sunnis as well, a majority of whom supported the secular Shiite leader Ayad Allawi. Because of the heightened tensions between religions and political factions, it could still take weeks for Maliki to officially secure re-election in parliament.