USA came to put a price on his head after leading the Shia insurgency against american occupation of iraq. Iran he saw how he turned his back on his patronage to eventually become the main obstacle to his domination of the country. And for many Iraqis he is the man who keeps paralyzed political life of Iraq with the invaluable help of his Shia rivals. Few figures generate as much devotion and hatred in the Middle East as the cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, possibly the Iraq’s most influential man. His followers took Monday the seat of the iraqi government hours after Al Sadr announced his withdrawal from politics and the closure of the bulk of the institutions built by his movement, a protest that has left more than thirty dead and has once again put Iraq on the brink of a new violent outburst.
Born in the holy city of Najaf 48 years ago and son of the former Grand Ayatollah of Iraq until Saddam Hussein ordered his assassination in 1999, Al Sadr leads a political movement with millions of followers among the poorest and most urban strata of the Shia community. A powerful grassroots movement backed by the arms of the Mehdi Army militias, created after the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 and now renamed the “Peace Brigades & rdquor ;. On the turbulent Iraqi political board, Al Sadr has tried to establish himself as the populist outsider willing to regenerate the country by freeing it of its traditional elitesits endemic corruption and the foreign dominationboth from Iran and the US.
Most voted political force
In the parliamentary elections Both in 2018 and in 2021, his movement received the most votes, but none of the elections served him to formally take power. After several months of unsuccessful negotiations to form a government together with the Sunni and Kurdish forces, ultimately blocked by their pro-Iranian rivals from the Coordination Framework led by former Shiite Prime Minister Nuri Al-MalikiIn June, he ordered his legislators to resign en masse and called on his supporters to take to the streets to demand new elections. The Sadrist rout briefly cleared the way for their Shiite rivals to take over the reins of government, a possibility that Al Sadr tried to abort with the assault on parliament of his followers at the end of July.
The result have been 10 months of political paralysis, with sit-ins, protests and altercations. Turbulence that intensified on Monday with the Sadrist assault on the headquarters of the interim government and the clashes that followed with the Iraqi security forces and the pro-Iranian militias after Al Sadr announced his withdrawal from politics. An announcement that most analysts describe as a tactical movement, since it is not the first time that the Shiite cleric has said to abandon politics or announces the dissolution of his militias, grand gestures later revoked. “He has a mission and he has a plan and he believes that he has found a way to precipitate a different regime in which he will be the dominant force & rdquor ;, says the director of the Iraq Advisory Council, Farhad Alaadin.
For the time being, Al Sadr maintains all the power of his bases to continue conditioning the course of Iraqi politics, some bases that he asked on Tuesday to withdraw from the palace that houses the prime minister’s office. “The revolution that has been stained by blood is not a revolution”, he affirmed after condemning the violence of the last few hours.I apologize to the Iraqi peoplewhich is the only one harmed by what is happening & rdquor ;, he added in a brief speech from Najaf.