Sadrist block pushes oil to the people

Iraq's most populist political party is proposing that 15 percent of oil revenues go directly to the country's poor, as domestic protests continue amidst a regional upheaval.
Following a meeting in Najaf, Iraq on Jan. 14, 2011, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani salutes as he is escorted by cleric Moqtada al-Sadr (second from left), whose populist political bloc is proposing direct redistribution of a portion of Iraq’s oil revenue to the poor. (QASSEM ZEIN/AFP/Getty Images)

BAGHDAD - The party led by cleric Moqtada al-Sadr is calling for a cut of Iraq's oil sales to be distributed to the country's needy – a populist push in the democratic country whose regional neighborhood, from Jordan to North Africa, is revolting against leaders accused of not catering to the poor's needs.

A month and a half into 2011, Iraq’s budget has been stalled by political conflict among domestic factions over oil spending and perceived cuts to social programs.

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