The results of Iraq’s 2009 provincial elections are in, and while the statistics are clear, the consequences are more difficult to discern. What can be noted for sure is that political parties who campaigned on a stronger central government and a unified Iraq, such as Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s Daa’wa party, prospered at the ballot box whereas parties who focused on religious and sectarian identities, such as the Iranian linked Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, known as ISCI, showed much deeper losses.
Another party in particular who seemed to suffer at the polls was Muqtada al-Sadr’s Movement. In the run up to the elections, rumors circulated of secret deals between the Sadrists and Maliki’s Daa’wa party, and some even speculated that Sadr’s Mehdi Army would once again resume armed resistance. While no violence has yet occurred nor deals confirmed, the Sadrists have announced a plan to appeal the election results with Iraq’s Electoral Commission, citing voting irregularities in several districts. Some of the provinces especially
highlighted by the Sadrists are Baghdad, Najaf, Kadhumiya and Qadisiyah, all heavily Shia provinces and all provinces that showed strong results for secular, nationalist parties like the Daa’wa.
It is in this light that we bring you an unaired interview from our archives. In December 2007, Alive in Baghdad had a chance to sit down with Sayed Hazim Al-A’araji, the top Sadrist representative in the Kadhumiya district of Baghdad. While some of his words may seem like an anachronism with all that has happened in the last year, much of it is worth a new look and a new consideration.