Cole on "New" Iraqi Gov't Coalition
I think one hope of the American authorities that encouraged this coalition was that if they could dissociated al-Maliki from Muqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army, that would make him more palatable to the Sunni Arabs. This calculation may have been incorrect.
If al-Maliki moves away from Muqtada, he is more dependent on the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SIIC), which the Sunni Arabs code as an Iranian organization, and on its Badr Corps paramilitary, which the Sunni Arabs accuse of engaging in death squad activity and ethnic cleansing of Sunnis.
Moreover, SIIC is dedicated to two political principles that are anathema to the Sunni Arabs. One is that US troops should remain in Iraq for as long as they are needed and the second is that a Shiite super-province should be formed in the south, on analogy to the Kurdistan Regional Government.