The Shiite Nationalist leader Moqtada Sadr met the Prince Mohamed ben Salmane, heir to the throne in Riyadh (photo) and is now in the United Arab Emirates where he has met its heir to the throne, Mohammed ben Zayed Al-Nahyane.

Moqtada Sadr supports the former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and challenges Iran’s influence over the Iraqi Shi-ite community.

Moqtada Sadr’s increasing power is good news for Iraq to the extent that Sadr is promoting Iraq’s national unity, thereby countering separatist pressures being applied by the following four nations: Iran (pro-Shi-ite); Saudi Arabia and Turkey (pro-Sunni) and Israel (pro-Kurd).

However, not such good news for Syria: last April Sadr had called for the democratically elected President Bashar al-Assad to resign, a tactic to re-bond with the former Iraqi Baathists historically at war with their Syrian brothers.

Anoosha Boralessa