Who is Nouri al-Maliki?

From the Middle East Times:

By Daniel Hoffman ’09

Iraq in 2009 will continue to resemble a no holds barred political free for all, as forces both in and outside of the country wrangle to put their imprint on the nascent government. In the midst of this power struggle, the actions of no leader will matter more than that of Iraq’s prime minister, Nouri Kamal al-Maliki.

This past January a swarm of political candidates, 14,431 in all, vied for the 440 provincial council seats up for grabs in Iraq’s first provincial elections since 2005.

The results reflected Iraq’s fragmented and shifting identity: Old faces like that of the returning independent Ayad Allawi were common, but new secularist parties gained ground, as did Sunni tribal leaders associated with the Awakening Movements. Despite losses by religious parties such as ISCI, (Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq) Shiite Islamists made up the majority of the elected seats in southern Iraq, and the incumbent Iraqi Islamic Party, a Sunni group, held on to a plurality in Diyala.

With this melting pot of victors there does not seem to be one common trend, except that Maliki topped them all.