led two uprisings against US troops after the 2003 invasion to topple Saddam Hussein turned into an occupation. Sadr ill not become prime minister as he did not run in the election himself. But his almost certain victory puts him in a position to pick someone for the job.
e nationalist cleric's Sairoon alliance has all but won Iraq's election. In a country where millions of poor Shiites feel they have not benefited from their country's close ties to Washington or to Iran.
It's a surprise victory over both incumbent Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, a rare ally of both the US and Iran, and the Tehran backed Hadi Al-Amiri. Iran has slowly entrenched itself in Iraq since Saddam Hussein was overthrown in 2003, and Reuters Michael Georgy who is in Baghdad says it now faces a huge challenge.
>> Iran is likely to try to manipulate its allies and start to form a coalition that works in its favor. But Sadr is intentionally nationalistic, and is anti-Iranian, and he's capitalized on growing resentment with Iran over its presence here and what voters say are its corrupt allies in the political elite.
If Iran pushes too hard, it risks triggering an intra-Shiite feud here, or conflict, or possibly a civil war. The surprise victory was achieved through forming an alliance with Communists and other independent secular supporters, and by reaching out to dispossessed Iraqis. Many of them fear in the wake of Donald Trump's decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal that their country could turn into a theater of conflict between the US and Iran.
In Washington, Sadr has long been viewed as an unpredictable maverick.