I'm in London and the mood among Iraqis here is one of severe disdain for the Iraqi government. The lack of electricity and clean water coupled with rampant corruption in Iraq seven years after the fall of the dictator is an embarrassment to most Iraqis I know. I have been surprised to hear some Iraqi Shia say that Saddam's government was better than the current one. Saddam was better than Maliki? Really?? That is shocking. They are undoubtedly exaggerating, as many Iraqis often do, but it's nevertheless quite the slap in the face for Nouri al Maliki and his Da3wa party.
I have been surprised to see that even many of my religious relatives are now saying that religion must be separated from government. I see more Iraqis mocking Shia clerics who mix religion and politics. More Iraqi Shia I've met in London see Iran as the biggest problem for Iraq rather than Saudi Arabia and they see Ammar al Hakim as subservient to Iran. Muqtada al Sadr is a joke. Yesterday my father's friend called Sadr "majnoon" (crazy) and derided the clerics in the Iraqi government. More and more Iraqis are becoming tired of Iraqi politicians whose priority is religion instead of government.
Maliki is also becoming the butt of jokes. He got on TV last week to apologize about the electricity situation. Nobody believes he is sincere and people think his efforts are too little too late. It seems that the longer Maliki tries to hold on to power, the more Iraqis see him as selfish and out of touch with ordinary Iraqis. As Iraqi political analyst Ibrahim Sumydai put it, "There is a dictator inside each one of them. It is a culture."