Shi’ites unite in a new power grab

A new coalition formed to run in the parliamentary elections
scheduled for January – announced in on Monday – has the backing of

and could pose a serious challenge to Nuri al-Maliki.

Many are eyeing what the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani will say in the
upcoming days, although sources close to the veteran cleric stress that he will
not take sides, as he did in 2005, so that his support doesn’t influence
ordinary voters.

In 2005, Sistani put his full weight behind the UIA, using his image on their
campaign posters – and his unblemished record and grandfatherly status – to get
young Shi’ites to vote for the UIA. The UIA swept the polls, but later

The real tipping force will be Iran. At this stage, the Iranians have given no
indication of whom they will support of the prime minister hopefuls, Maliki or
Jaafari. Al…

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