Associated Press is reporting that Iraq’s two main Shia blocks have agreed on an alliance to form the country’s next government. The agreement gives the final decision on all political disputes between the two allied blocks to a group of Shia clerics based in Najaf (the marjaiyah) led by Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani.
If the alliance succeeds in forming the next government, the provision could increase the role of senior Shia clergy in Iraqi politics at the expense of the next prime minister’s powers. The agreement would likely further alienate Iraq’s Sunnis, already feeling disenfranchised. The secular Iraqia list led by former premier Ayad Allawi, which was largely supported by Sunnis, received the most votes in the parliamentary elections, but fell well short of a majority to form the next government.
The deal is between Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's State of Law coalition and the conservative Shiite Iraqi National Alliance. Iran carries great influence with both groups and has long pushed for such alliance.