Al-Sadr's ministers to leave Iraqi government
Shiite cleric and militia leader Muqtada al-Sadr will announce Monday the removal of six of his ministers from their positions in the Iraqi government to pressure the government to make the U.S. leave from Iraq, according to a CNN report (http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/meast/04/15/sadr.maliki/).
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has opposed setting a timetable. The boycott of the government will remove the ministers in the ministries of Health, Agriculture, Province Affairs, Transportation, Tourism and Civil Society Organizations. Sadr's members in the Iraqi parliament will not be affected by the boycott.
Al-Sadr is very popular in the Shiite portions of Iraq. He opposed the U.S.-led occupation and his militia, the Mehdi army, has fought coalition troops.
Sadr's forces attempted a boycott last November, which was ended after a deal was struck this January after talks with both Maliki and the White House.
Al-Sadr's faction was also instrumental in getting Maliki elected last year. His groups holds much sway in the government.
According to a Reuters article, the movement is unlikely to overthrow the government, but it will create tensions in a government that is struggling to heal secretarian divisions (http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/story.html?id=17bee177-6545-433e-88e6-1b2b09fb7e63&k=59263&p=1).
The Mehdi army has been low-profile in the last few months under the orders of al-Sadr.
Tens of thousands of people protested the U.S. occupation last week in Najaf under al-Sadr's wishes. Al-Sadr claims to be in Iraq but Pentagon officials have claimed that he is currently in Iran.
The CNN article seems to focus mostly on the present, while the Reuters article focuses a lot on the context and the recent past events. For example, the Reuters article mentions al-Sadr's recent activities, his whereabouts and goes further into demonstrating his political clout. The CNN article feels by-the-numbers, a typical Iraq story that focuses too narrowly and doesn't really let the reader see the bigger picture. The Reuters article also gives a better idea of what the political consequences of this will be, with quotes from policymakers spread throughout. CNN buries all the quotes at the end of the story, which don't really serve to reinforce any of the statements earlier in the article. One thing that did bother me about the Reuters article was that it refered to al-Sadr as "fiery" in the lead. I think this could be construed as editorializing. Plus, fiery seems to me to almost have a connotation of "satanic" or "overly agressive." I think more obejctive adjectives would have been better.