Verbal sparring between the Maliki and Sadr camps has dominated the Iraqi political scene in recent days.
Al-Maliki announced Saturday that the Sadrist Current has become a “host for criminal gangs” and is inhabited by “Saddamists and Ba'thists” who commit crimes and attacks against civilians.
Ahmad Al Shibani, a senior aid of cleric Moqtada Al Sadr, shot back that al-Maliki’s government is “practically over, in what concerns us and the occupation" and accused the PM of giving a "green light" for US forces to attack Sadrists.
Reuters reported Sunday that a military source said Sadr had gone to Iran, raising speculation that the cleric may have feared the perceived "green light."
But Falah Hassan Shanshal, a member of parliament from the Sadrist bloc, rejected those reports on Monday, telling VOI, "Muqtada al-Sadr is now in Najaf, where he resides, and has never left Iraq for any other country."
Shansal also took the opportunity to heap more criticism on the Maliki regime, saying "Maliki's groundless accusations against the Sadrists were part of unbalanced statements. We say that the Baathists and takfirists have infiltrated into state institutions, which is indicated by governmental calls to have the former repressive security agencies back in public organizations."
He pointed out that the Maliki government "has turned out to be a failure, one and a half years after coming to power, as far as providing security and services to citizens are concerned."