BAGHDAD — On Dec. 26, the leader of the Sadrist movement, Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, met with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to discuss the reform project advanced by Sadr over a year ago through popular protests against those accused of corruption. One of those blamed was former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, currently one of Iraq’s vice presidents.
The meeting came after a series of demonstrations against Maliki, who has been visiting Shiite cities in central and southern Iraq. Anti-Maliki demonstrations in the south have revived concerns about Shiite infighting, especially after hundreds of angry protesters from Iraq’s southern province of Basra stormed a meeting in which Maliki was expected to address a group of influential figures, driving the attendees out of the hall. Sadr and his followers were held responsible for mobilizing the protests; Sadr refused to comment about them.