The results of the 2018 parliamentary elections in Iraq were a shock to many. Seemingly out of nowhere the Sairoon list made of the Sadrists and the Iraqi Communist Party won the most seats. To have an Islamist religious figure align with a secular leftist was another twist. The two actually aligned several years beforehand during the annual protests that hit the country. To help explain Sairoon and its victory is University of Edinburgh PhD student Benedict Robin. He can be followed on Twitter @Benrobinz.