A new damning voice recording of Iraqi former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has been released.
The fifth recording of what is now known in Iraq as the "Maliki WikiLeaks" revealed that the former PM was discussing partnering up with an armed Shiite faction to wage a confrontation with the Sadrist movement, led by influential Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.
The new recording will only deepen the dispute between the rivals. Other leaks have Maliki severely criticizing Sadr, which prompted the cleric to demand that he turn himself over to the judiciary and quit political life.
In the latest recording, Maliki is heard having discussions with representatives of a largely unknown Shiite faction, the "Ummet al-Akhyar", whose religious reference is known as "Ayatollah al-Mirza".
One of the members of the group, “Abu Hassan”, was heard offering allegiance to Maliki to “shed blood”.
The hours-long conversation between the group and Maliki revealed that the faction enjoys support among Shiites in central and southern Iraq.
Maliki is also heard speaking of his “good” relationship with Qais Khazali, leader of the Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq militia, which is designated as terrorist by the United States.
He also said that the leaders of the Fatah Alliance, led by Hadi al-Ameri, Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq, Kataib Hezbollah, Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada, and Badr Organization are directly affiliated to Iran and “care about nothing but farms and money. They are in a different world.”
Maliki also called on armed factions to adhere to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and steer away from the orders of the Iranian Intelligence Ministry
On the ground, tensions have mounted between Sadr and Maliki supporters, especially after the cleric revealed that he had received death threats.
Maliki’s Dawa Party issued a statement on Tuesday calling for “putting out the strife” and accusing “internal and foreign secret agencies” of seeking to fuel strife and inter-Shiite fighting.
He insisted that the recordings were fabricated and fake.
Local media reported that the residence of Mahmoud al-Salami, an MP from Maliki’s coalition, was attacked by gunmen.
The attack on his home in the Dhi Qar province led to material damage, said a security source.