As the noose was placed around Saddam Hussein’s neck in December 2006, his masked guards yelled: “Muqtada! Muqtada! Muqtada!”
As in Muqtada al-Sadr, the Shiite cleric who is best known as a one-time — and possibly future — U.S. foe who may have finally outfoxed the Americans, Iranians, and Iraq’s political elite to become the supreme political power in Iraq.
That means it is entirely possible that Sadr could pick the next Iraqi government by deciding which political party to form a coalition with. Abadi could be out of a job if Sadr, reportedly closer to Saudi Arabia than Iran, allies himself with Iranian proxies, such as Hadi al-Amiri.
No word from Washington yet about what Sadr’s fortunes at the ballot box mean for the U.S. relationship with Iraq in the fight against ISIS. “We are awaiting the announcement of the official results and look forward to the formation of the new government,” a State Department official told Task & Purpose on Monday. “We aren’t going to get ahead of that.”
A Pentagon spokesman told Eric Pahon that the U.S. government does not support any particular Iraqi candidate or party. “We support a fair and transparent process,” he said. “We stand ready to work with whoever is fairly elected by the Iraqi people.”
President Donald Trump hit back at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday with a letter saying he was "sorry to inform" her that her trip to Brussels, Belgium and Afghanistan would be canceled due to the government shutdown, just one day after Pelosi proposed cancelling the State of the Union address for similar reasons.
Marine Corps drill instructor R. Lee Ermey in his iconic role in 'Full Metal Jacket' (Warner Bros.)
Retired Marine Staff Sgt. R. Lee Ermey, the legendary Marine drill instructor turned iconic Full Metal Jacket actor who died last year, will be formally laid to rest with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery at 10 a.m. on Jan. 18, according to the cemetery's web site.