Thursday, April 15, 2010

Iraq's anti-American kingmaker

An influential Shiite movement did not back either front-runner in a poll on who to support for Iraq's next prime minister, further muddying on Wednesday the political situation in the aftermath of the inconclusive March elections.

In a survey, supporters of anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr voted 24 percent for him to support Shiite politician Ibrahim al-Jaafari, who was interim prime minister from 2005 to 2006, the movement's spokesman Salah al-Obeidi announced.

Iraq's incumbent Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his chief rival Ayad Allawi received only 10 percent and 9 percent of votes respectively.

Al-Obeidi left open whether al-Sadr would follow the guidance of his supporters in the course of future negotiations, saying that "each event has its own way," but the results seemed certain to at least add further complications to the already long drawn-out negotiating period that has followed the March 7 election.

Did hundreds of Americans die fighting the Sadrists in Sadr City in the early days of the war so that their leader could be Iraq's kingmaker?

Sadr's power - - and America's acquiescence in his power - - dishonors the sacrifice of our war dead.

If we're not there to win, we shouldn't be there.

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