More surprises emerged in Iraq on Sunday ahead of next May’s national elections, after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced signing an electoral pact with leading official at Hashd al-Shaabi, and leader of the Badr Organization, Hadi al-Ameri.
Also on Sunday, the Hikma Movement headed by Ammar al-Hakim said it was joining the Abadi-Ameri alliance under the name of “the Nasr al-Iraq coalition,” or Victory.
An Iraqi politician, who wished to remain anonymous, told Asharq Al-Awsat on Sunday that the decision of the Hikma Movement to join this alliance might strengthen Abadi’s situation and could guarantee his reelection for a second term.
The politician said that all indicators reveal that Iran is backing Abadi, adding that it could be the force that encouraged Hash al-Shaabi to ally with the prime minister, a decision that places Nouri al-Maliki in a very difficult position.
For his part, head of the Sadrist Movement, Muqtada al-Sadr, lashed out at the Nasr al-Iraq coalition and its decision to participate jointly in the upcoming parliamentary and provincial council elections in Iraq. He said Abadi’s election campaign will pave the way for “corrupt” people to return to the government.
“I express my condolences [to the people of Iraq] for the abhorrent political alliances of abhorrent sectarian subjugation that paves the way for the return of corrupt people to power once again,” Sadr said in the letter on Sunday.
He added that his party was previously invited to join the Nasr al-Iraq coalition, but he said: “We completely rejected it.”
Sadr said he was surprised by al-Abadi’s move. “We believed he was the first to advocate for patriotism and reform,” he added.
Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, member of Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq politburo Laith al-Azari did not rule out on Sunday the presence of an Iranian influence behind the alliance.
For his part, professor of political sciences at the Kufa University, Ayad al-Anbar told Asharq Al-Awsat he was pessimistic about the new alliance.
"Abadi is no longer critical to political reform in Iraq. His alliance with Hashd al-Shaabi forces contradicts his previous positions, which rejected the participation of those forces in the political process,” he said.