The above cartoon accompanied an article from Shat News that claimed Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki released six members of a gang in Karbala, five of which were on death row, as part of a political deal to remain in office. It went on to say that there have been similar reports in other parts of the country. The Los Angeles Times had a story recently of many members of Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army being set free as part of the negotiations that secured Sadr's support for Maliki's second term. According to the Times, some were even given jobs in the security forces after they left prison. The release of his followers was a major demand of Sadr, and has led some to worry about what these militiamen will do now that they are back on the streets. Cracking down on the Sadrists in 2008 was one of the main events that cemented Maliki's credentials as a strong leader, and securing the country was a major part of his campaign in the 2010 elections. Now, due to political expediency, he has made an agreement with the very people he built his reputation upon to keep his job.
Chulov, Martin, "How Iran brokered a secret deal to put its ally in power," Guardian, 10/17/10
Latif, Nizar, "Sadrists wait for their government rewards," The National, 11/21/10
Parker, Ned, "Sadr sees star rise again in Iraq," Los Angeles Times, 11/25/10
Shat News, "The release of six sentenced to death of the outlaw in political deal, " 11/22/10