'Fanning fears of a Baathist revival might benefit Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and other Shi'ite Islamist leaders, as it could win back voters who might be leaning toward secular, cross-confessional groups, like ex-prime minister Ayad Allawi's.
"We should not stand here with our hands tied during this sensitive period. We should take revenge for our martyrs, prisoners, the displaced and the homeless left by the former regime," Baghdad provincial governor Salah Abdul-Razzaq, a senior member of Maliki's Dawa party, told protesters.
"We will de-Baathify the Baghdad administration," he said, adding that the Baath party "and its instruments al Qaeda" were behind recent bomb attacks that have killed dozens of Iraqis in Baghdad and in the Shi'ite holy city of Kerbala.
Local government leaders in Basra affiliated with Dawa and the other main Shi'ite blocs, the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (ISCI) and anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's movement, made similar vows at a rally to purge the city of Baath sympathisers.' --Muhanad Mohammed, Reuters