The recent peace pact between Iraq's most influential Shia clerics - Moqtada al-Sadr and Abdul Aziz al-Hakim - is seen by political observers as a significant shift towards stabilising Iraq's warring Shia factions.
|Will the pact bring stability to Iraq? [EPA]|
The power struggle between rival Shia groups has caused bloodshed and claimed hundreds of innocent lives, especially after the December 2005 elections.
There have been many attempts to reconcile the political differences between al-Hakim and al-Sadr, especially in the provinces of Basra and Maysan, where the two factions are vying for control of the oil-rich regions.
Their disagreements worsened after the British withdrawal from Basra in early September left a power vacuum.
Will this new pact provide the anchor for political stability in Iraq?
Can the ceasefire declared last August remain or will violence flare up again after the six months dateline is up in February?
And what should we make of Moqtada al-Sadr going back to his religious studies to become an Ayatollah? Is this a means of strengthening his political ambitions and power base?
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This episode of Inside Iraq airs from Friday, January 4, 2008
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Source: Al Jazeera