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"The celebrations of Sadrists in Baghdad was so huge today and their anti-Iran slogans were blatant," said Ali Bashar, a political scientist at Bayan University in Irbil. "Sa'iroon support to al-Abadi could fade away as they were Baghdad's biggest list, but if the USA is able to contain the Sadrists somehow, they are likely to present a prime minister [Mr. al-Abadi] with another term."

Muqtada al-Sadr, Iraqi Shiite militia leader, election kingmaker in Baghdad →

"This is not just happening because the Saudis are smart," said Bayan University's Mr. Bashar. "The Trump administration told the Saudis to change their policy toward Iraq and engage the Shiites here as well as their traditional Sunni friends. Saudi Arabia has realized that Sunnis are not able to directly face the Iranian influence. It changed its tactics towards supporting some Shiite powers to face that influence."

Iraqi election: Shiite split could check Iran's influence →

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