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Fadhila Announces Departure from UIA

The Washington Post is reporting that the Shia party Fadhila has formally withdrawn from the governing coalition of the United Iraqi Alliance (UIA) and is seeking an alliance with the predominately Sunni Iraqi List faction. Fadhila's decision to join in this new alliance was reported by the Iraqi newspaper Al-Rafidayn on February 25 and published here at ThreatsWatch the following day. The original article described the formation of the new coalition as having been already decided upon, having received the blessing by the party's spiritual leader. This appears to be the "official" announcement by party leaders.

In regard to Fadhila's withdrawal from the governing coalition, this is not as significant as it may seem on the surface. Fadhila has withdrawn from the coalition before, and since the formation of the current government under Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has never actually participated in the government, having been denied the Oil Ministry due to allegations of corruption. Like the Sadr faction, Fadhila has opposed Maliki's government on many major votes. Although both voted for Maliki's nomination and confirmation as prime minister, his core support has always depended on four elements - his own Dawa Party, SCIRI (the largest Shia faction), the Shia independents of the UIA (who make up a fifth of the coalition), and the Kurdish parties.

This is not to say that nothing good could come from the new coalition, assuming it stays together. Fadhila's withdrawal from the UIA, however, has little practical impact on the functioning of the Maliki government.