Hadi al-Amiri (L) and Muqtada al-Sadr are both Shiite politicians in Iraq. Composite photo: Amiri FB / Jawabna FB
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Muqtada al-Sadr, leader of the Sayirun bloc in the Iraqi parliament, has published a damning letter accusing Hadi al-Amiri’s pro-Iran Fatih alliance and the Shiite Bina Coalition of trying to buy government ministries with the help of external actors.
Firebrand Shiite cleric Sadr, whose sectarian Mahdi Army militia resisted the post-2003 US occupation, has reinvented himself in recent years to become a reformer, keen to eradicate corruption and political patronage in Baghdad, promote independent technocrats to government, and shrug off foreign influence.
In his letter, published on Monday, Sadr lashed out at “some members of the Fatih Coalition and some leaders within the Bina Coalition [trying] to buy the ministries for a massive amount of money with the support of external sides.”
Bina is a group of Shiite-party MPs that supports Amiri’s Fatih, which won the second-most seats in Iraq’s May 12 parliamentary election – after Sadr’s Sayirun alliance with communists and secularists.
He reminded Amiri of the details of their agreement and accused him of breaking its terms.
“We agreed to run Iraq together in a right way and new style in which its sovereignty and independence is preserved. We promised to continue to love Iraq and its nation,” Sadir wrote.
“We should either continue with what we agreed on or let all the achievements we made go to you. Or we should try to make reforms. If you remember you had agreed that you would not compromise on the nation,” Sadr added.
“I made alliance with you, not the corrupt and the militias.”
Amiri is one of Iraq’s most influential political and military leaders. As head of the Badr Organization, he plays a key leadership role in the Iran-backed Hashd al-Shaabi paramilitias – also known as the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMFs) – established to fight ISIS.
Responding to Sadr’s letter late on Monday, Amiri denied knowledge of the allegations and insisted he remains committed to Iraq.
“I received your message through the media outlets. I commend your firmness. In the meantime, I hope you pass on to me the information you have so we can seriously work on it through court,” Amiri said in a statement, carried by Iraqi media.
“I am reiterating to you that I am ready to spill my blood, [that of] my sons and brothers and friends, for the homeland ... We do not keep silent against any corruption being committed against the homeland, God forbids. We keep our promise. We do greatly care about Iraq and our aim is to serve it far away from sectarianism,” Amiri added.
Sadr’s Sayirun emerged as the largest bloc in the May 12 election with 54 seats, followed by Amiri's Fatih with 48. The election had an historically low turnout.
To form the government, the blocs reached an agreement and formed the Coalition for Reform and Development (CRD) – an alliance together with Haider al-Abadi's Nasr (Victory) Coalition and Ammar al-Hakim’s Hikma Front, as well as and some Turkmen parties and the Sunni al-Wataniya.
After Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi’s cabinet was sworn in, Fatih nominated Falih al-Fayyath for the Interior Ministry – a candidate rejected by Sadr.
Fayyath was sacked by former PM Abadi as national security advisor for his backdoor political dealings.
The disagreement has delayed the swearing in of eight ministers, hampering the new government.
Last updated 11.05 pm