Patrick Cockburn, Middle East correspondent for the Independent, discusses preliminary results from the Iraqi elections, the strong performance of nationalist and secular parties compared to religious parties, the whereabouts of Muqtada al-Sadr and the role his militia and political factions will play in Iraq’s future, the patronage system developed between Nouri al-Maliki’s Dawa party and tribal councils that contributed to their electoral success and the near-certainty that U.S. occupation is coming to an end.

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