Maliki Makes a Play for the Southern Tribes


In the Shia dominated south of Iraq, a conflict is developing over political dominance in the upcoming provincial elections.  Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki has begun a campaign of tribal outreach in an attempt to consolidate his power at the national level.  As a result, the Shia constituency in southern Iraq has become the political battlefield for Iraq's three major Shia political entities.  These political movements are Dawa, the party of Prime Minister Maliki, the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI), and the Sadr Movement.

This backgrounder documents Prime Minister Maliki's tribal outreach in the summer and fall of 2008, and considers the implications for the Iraqi Shia political landscape.  Additionally, it presents ISCI's reaction to this outreach program, documenting statements and actions by party leaders and affiliates to counter Prime Minister Maliki's push for dominance.