Iraqi Shia Cleric Calls For Demonstrations Against Maliki’s Return

Powerful Shia cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr called earlier this week for a demonstration against an Iraqi court ruling that returns his bitter rival, ex-Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki, to a vice presidential position.

The ruling announced on Monday by Iraq’s federal court is “an attempt to bring back corruption” Al-Sadr said in a statement on his website. Without setting a date, he also called..........
for a protest to take place after Ashura, an event observed by both Sunnis and Shia in different ways.

Al-Maliki took one of three vice presidencies two years ago after he failed as prime minister to stop Daesh from sweeping across the country and was pressured to step down by both the United States and Iran as the two powers came to an agreement over the divisive former prime minister, widely acknowledged as sectarian.

The federal court overturned a decision last year by his successor Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi to scrap the three vice-presidencies, in what he said was an effort to cut costs after a collapse in oil prices curtailed national revenue.

Al-Maliki served two four-year terms as prime minister and his conflict with Al-Sadr goes back to the first, when he ordered the army to crack down on the cleric’s militia with US support in violence that left hundreds dead in Baghdad and Basra.

His bloc in parliament in recent months has taken steps to investigate and dismiss ministers in Al-Abadi’s government, fuelling speculation that Al-Maliki is planning to return to power when Daesh is defeated.

Iraqi forces are preparing an offensive to take back Mosul in northern Iraq, the last city under the control of Daesh, with the backing of a US-led coalition.