....and so, a good wind takes out the house of cards.
Last Updated: Saturday, 15 September 2007, 18:52 GMT 19:52 UK
Sadr group quits Iraq ruling bloc
Moqtada Sadr's move is not surprising, analysts say
The political movement loyal to radical Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr has withdrawn from Iraq's governing Shia alliance.
The move deprives Prime Minister Nouri Maliki's coalition of 30 votes - leaving it in control of about half the seats in parliament.
The decision, announced at a news conference in the holy city of Najaf, comes five months after Mr Sadr pulled out his ministers from the cabinet.
The group has complained that Mr Maliki has not consulted them over decisions.
Other grievances voiced in the past by the Sadr bloc include their call - ignored by the prime minister - for a timetable for the withdrawal of US-led forces from Iraq.
In August, the main Sunni alliance also withdrew from the Iraqi cabinet, which currently has 17 ministers - with 23 other portfolios left unfilled.
'Demands not met'
Nouri Maliki became prime minister largely because of Mr Sadr's support, so the latest move is a significant development, but not necessarily a crisis, says the BBC's Hugh Sykes, in Baghdad.
Maliki has said national reconciliation is Iraq's only choice
Despite being in a precarious position, Mr Maliki should be able to stay in power with support from other groups.
While there has been no official explanation of the timing of the announcement, our correspondent says Mr Sadr may be worried about continuing to support a government that is so close to the Americans.
Mr Sadr supporters have also been unhappy with Mr Maliki's moves to allow former members of Saddam Hussein's regime back into the administration, our correspondent says.
In a statement made in Najaf, the Sadr group said: "The political committee has declared the withdrawal of the Sadr bloc from the alliance because there was no visible indication that the demands of Sadr's bloc were being met."
It gave no further details.