Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, has embarked on a ferocious campaign of Baath vilification, threatening alleged Baathists with a black day. 

In the meantime, Sadrists warned suspected Baathists of physical liquidation. The Karbala province council also advised all Baathists to flee the province or else.
Basra's governor threatened to shut down all oil exports and to declare Basra a federal province if Baathist sympathisers are allowed to run for election.

On one side stand those close to the government, who draw support from Iraq's Shia majority and are more or less sympathetic to the government in Tehran.
On the other side stand those who rely on support mainly from Sunni Arabs and secularists. Their political opinions range from Iraqi nationalism, to pan-Arabism to open nostalgia for the Saddam era.

All this makes for a highly inflammable setting for the upcoming elections.

Given the current charged atmosphere, observers wonder what happened to national reconciliation?

Is Saddam in his grave stronger than al-Maliki's government and is al-Maliki upholding the law or playing with fire?

To discuss this Jasim Azawi is joined by Saad al-Muttalibi, a political advisor to the Ministry of National Dialogue, and Anas al-Tikriti, an Iraqi political analyst.

This episode of Inside Iraq airs from Friday, February 12, 2010, at the following times GMT: Friday: 1730, 2230; Saturday: 0300, 0830; Sunday: 0600, 1230; Monday: 0130.

Source: Al Jazeera