Guest views are now limited to 12 pages. If you get an "Error" message, just sign in! If you need to create an account, click here.

Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
coorslite21

Sadr Sucks

Recommended Posts

Cleric Sadr will be in the news  in the coming days and weeks......I started this thread for anything Sadr......I couldn't find one dedicated to him...

 

DailySabah

Iraqi women defy top cleric's call to separate genders at rallies

 

 
  • COMPILED FROM WIRE SERVICES, BAGHDAD
  • Feb 13, 2020
Iraqi demonstrators gather during ongoing anti-government protests, Baghdad, Feb. 13, 2020. REUTERS Photo
Iraqi demonstrators gather during ongoing anti-government protests, Baghdad, Feb. 13, 2020. (REUTERS Photo)
 

Hundreds of Iraqi women of all ages flooded central Baghdad Thursday alongside male anti-government protesters, defying an order by powerful cleric Moqtada al-Sadr to separate the genders at rallies. Most carried roses, Iraqi flags or signs defending their role in the regime change demonstrations. Men linked arms to form a protective ring around the women as they marched for over an hour. They were seen holding hands in Tahrir and even camping out in the square together.

 

They marched through a tunnel and spilled out into Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the youth-dominated movement in a country where vast regions remain socially conservative. "We want to protect women's role in the protests as we're just like the men. There are efforts to kick us out of Tahrir but we'll only come back stronger," said Zainab Ahmad, a pharmacy student, as reported by Agence France-Presse (AFP). "Some people were inciting against us a few days ago, seeking to keep women at home or keep them quiet. But we turned out today in large numbers to prove to those people that their efforts will end in failure," she said.

 

On Saturday, al-Sadr had alleged drug and alcohol use among the protesters and said it was immoral for men and women to mix there. And a few moments before Thursday's women's march began, he once again took to Twitter to slam the protests as being rife with "nudity, promiscuity, drunkenness, immorality, debauchery... and non-believers." He also said Iraq must not "turn into Chicago," which he said was full of "moral looseness," including homosexuality, a claim that was mocked online.

 

Al-Sadr initially threw his weight behind the anti-government uprising but recently repositioned himself toward the political establishment after political elites selected Mohammed Allawi as prime minister-designate, a candidate he endorsed. Since then, al-Sadr issued a dizzying array of calls to followers, asking them to return to the streets days after withdrawing support from protests. The often contradictory orders have exacerbated existing tensions between anti-government demonstrators and his followers, with some activists claiming al-Sadr's followers had threatened them to follow the cleric's line or leave protest sites.

 

Anti-government protesters who took to the streets on Oct. 1 in Baghdad and southern Iraq to decry rampant government corruption, poor services and unemployment have rejected Allawi's candidacy. At least 500 have died under fire from security forces in the movement, now in its fifth month.

© 2016 Turkuvaz Communication and Publication Corp.
  • Like 2
  • Thanks 8
  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like it CL.  I’ll throw up a few posts of news on Sadr in the last week or so to help get this thread started.  He’s just another Iranian puppet.  

  • Thanks 3
  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Khoei’s assassination, Sadr’s most ‘heinous’ crime: reports

khoei The assassination of Abdul Majeed al-Khoei in 2003 was carried out by Muqtada al-Sadr. The crime was described by some people as the "mother of crimes" due to its vicious nature along his “bloody history,” according to media reports.

Sayyid Abdul Majeed Al-Khoei went to Iraq as a solemn master, carrying a civilized religious project at the front of its clauses, internationalizing Najaf along the lines of the Vatican and abandoning the principle of “Welayet Al-Faqih.”

However, the “mercenary killer” Muqtada al-Sadr monitored him and instruct his followers to kill him in the mosque. Khoei’s corpse was mutilated while Sadr is watching.

The details of the assassination of Abdul Majeed Al-Khoei are terrifying

The beginning comes when the Iraqi Supreme Judicial Council said it does not have any legal evidence that would allow it to interrogate Muqtada al-Sadr about his responsibility for the assassination of Abdul Majeed Al-Khoei and his companions in Imam Ali Shrine.

But the truth is that the assassination of Khoei was the heinous crime from which the name of Muqtada Al-Sadr flourished.

The announcement of the Supreme Iraqi Judicial Council, at the time, was miserable and futile, and did not respond to the minimum requirements of justice. 

Abdul Majeed al-Khoei had been staying in London since 1991 and then returned to Najaf in 2003, but the killer al-Sadr did not leave him to live until ne
  • Thanks 4
  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Iran trains Shia militia proxies in Iraq to wage war on US

29dc-attack2-articleLarge-v2

Iranian proxies in Iraq are training  for war against the US and will continue to fire rockets at US forces in Iraq until the US leaves, a new report says.

Iranian-backed militias such as Asaib Ah al-Haq, Kataib Hezbollah and the Badr Organization have also been using “extreme measures to quell protesters, including opening fire on demonstrators,” the US said in a new report. 

The quarterly Lead Inspector General report for Operation Inherent Resolve pivoted in the last months to focus on Iran as the US is increasingly concerned about Iran’s threats to US forces in Iraq.

The unusual focus on Iran’s role in Iraq has been building over the last two years in these reports. The report draws on information from US Central Command, the Defense Intelligence  Agency, State Department and other reports.  

The new report is unprecedented in focusing on Iran’s role. A special diagram shows the main aspects of Iran’s network of influence in Iraq through Qasem Soleimani. Soleimani was the IRGC Quds Force leader killed in a US airstrike on January 3. The US says that an Iraqi named Jamal Jaafar Ibrahimi was also killed by US forces travelling with Soleimani in the same strike that killed Kataib Hezbollah leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

Who was Ibrahimi? He was a member of the Badr Corps which fought against Saddam Hussein alongside Iran in the 1980s. He returned to Iraq in 2005, was elected to parliament and advised prime ministers. He became a Kataib Hezbollah commander. Then he was killed by the US.

Who else is on the list of Soleimani’s cohorts in Iraq? Hadi al-Amiri, leader of the BAdr Organization and Fatah Alliance party. The US sees the Fatah Alliance as a union of pro-Iran supporters. It is also home to militia members from the pro-Iranian Shi’ite militias or Popular Mobilization Units. Akram al-Kabi, leader of the Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba group. He broke off from Asab Ahl al-haq in 2012 to form the group and has said he would overthrow Iraq’s government if Iran gives him the order. He is a designated terrorist and has threatened US forces. Qais Khazali, leader of Asaib, is another part of the Iranian nexus. He visited Lebanon in 2017 and threatened Israel.

The US designated him a terrorist in December. Mohammed Al-Hashemi, also known as Abu Jihad, is another man the US points to. A member of the Fatah Alliance party, which is led by Badr’s Hadi al-Amiri, he is  a “key leader in the pro-Iran Bina Alliance,” the US says. The Us says he was linked to bringing former Prime Minister Adel Abdel-Mahdi to power in 2018. “He was a key ally of al-Muhandis and a conduit for the PMU influence in the prime minister’s office [in Baghdad].” Lastly there is Shibli al-Zayddi, a friend of Muqtada al-Sadr. He worked with Muhandis and the IRGC to form the Kataib Imam Ali units. The US has sanctioned him.

The US says Iran’s activity has hindered the US ability to fight Islamic State in Iraq. US forces are in Iraq at the invitation of the Iraqi government to fight ISIS. The recent US-Iran tensions were not  envisioned as part of this mission. There was controversy in December 2018 when US President Donald Trump said the US might usIraq to “watch” Iran. Iraqi politicians linked to pro-Iran groups opposed the comments and have threatened to order the US to leave Iraq.

The picture the US report paints is one in which Iranian-backed groups have gunned down hundreds of protesters and are loyal to Tehran more than Baghdad. They worked with Soleimani and swear allegiance to Ayatollah Khamenei. They are willing to overthrow the Iraqi government or hijack it for their needs, as they have increasingly done. They target US forces and demand only those they choose can become Prime Minister. 

The US says that from October to December “Iraqi militias aligned with  Iran carried out multiple attacks onUS forces in Iraq.” This included the killing of a US contractor on December 27. According to the report CENTCOM thought the strike on Soleimani and Muhandis had weakened Iran’s role and the PMU. But the report says that rockets continue to be launched atUS forces and the US embassy, including a January 26 attack.

Iran wants to use Iraq as part of its “land bridge” to Syria and Lebanon. The US doesn’t have much options to reduce the Iranian-backed  militia presence. The report says that the PMU partners with Iraqi armed forces on operations, “despite concerns about Iran’s influence over Iranian-aligned militias.” The US begrudgingly admits the PMU presence is a “net positive” in fighting ISIS.

The US concluded that, according to CENTCOM, “Iran funds, arms, trains and directs Shia militia groups in Iraq to wage a proxy war against the United States.” Iran sends rockets and other munitions to the militias  and the US DIA says that these are meant to achieve an objective of disrupting and harassing US forces and to pressure the US to leave Iraq. “Iran sought to solidify Iranian influence within Iraq’s security infrastructure as a way to pressure the US to withdraw.”  CENTCOM now believes that as long  as the US maintains a presence in Iraq, Iran will seek to carry out harassing  attacks againstUS forces. Not only that, Iran will use the militias, who are also official paramilitaries of the government, to suppress  protests.

There are so many US concerns about Iran’s role in Iraq and Syria that the number of mentions of Iran run to almost 150 and an entire classified appendix is devoted to “Iranian activity in Iraq.” Iran’s role in Syria is not highlighted as much by the new report but the US  says it is protecting oil fields in Syria to prevent oil proceeds  going to Iran or the Syrian regime. The US is seeking the “removal of all Iranian-led forces and proxies in Syria.”

 

  • Thanks 6
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tehran’s proxies should be punished by Iraqi voters

 

In one of the most outrageous political U-turns in recent memory, Muqtada Al-Sadr has pivoted from wholehearted support for Iraq’s uprising to sending his shock forces to kill demonstrators and violently break up protest camps. After months of Al-Sadr’s rhetoric about listening to the voice of the people, a terse message this weekend baldly stated: “Protesters should not interfere in political matters.”

Shockingly, most of the killings of protesters by Al-Sadr’s supporters occurred in the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala. This is the beating heart of the Shiite world, where Tehran has labored hardest to entrench its influence; yet hundreds of thousands of furious residents consistently demand an end to corrupt, sectarian governance and Iranian interference. 

These protesters are now turning their fury on Al-Sadr himself, accusing him of abandoning his flirtation with the protest movement and aligning with pro-Tehran factions to profit from lucrative government appointments. In what protesters have denounced as a “political coup,” Tehran’s proxies and Al-Sadr have colluded to appoint a nonentity as prime minister with the intent of perpetuating the status quo, while affording themselves breathing space to crush the protests.

Throughout the 1970s, Iraq’s immense oil wealth made it one of the most advanced states in the region. Having undergone a succession of catastrophes since then, today’s Iraq sees a governing elite cream off billions, while citizens endure grinding poverty, unemployment and dysfunctional services. Just as in Lebanon, Iraq’s nationwide protests didn’t erupt against a specific prime minister or government policy, but against the governing system as a whole. 

This isn’t the first time Al-Sadr has performed self-serving, 180-degree ideological somersaults. He repeatedly oscillated from being one of Iraq’s foremost paramilitary warlords to denouncing militias for “slaughter, assassinations and… distorting Islam.” Despite branding himself as an anti-sectarian nationalist, Sadrist thugs abducted and murdered tens of thousands of Sunnis between 2005 and 2008. After 2014, Al-Sadr’s “Peace Brigades” militia had one foot in and one foot out of the Iran Militia in Iraq and Syria paramilitary coalition.

In about 2015, Al-Sadr sought to return to political relevance under a reform banner, yet government departments under Sadrist control circa 2005 were notorious for corruption and criminality. The Sadrist Ministry of Health was nicknamed the “Ministry of Murder” because his foot soldiers reportedly prowled hospital wards slitting the throats of Sunnis and dissidents. Ambulances became the chosen vehicles of death squads. 

Al-Sadr has veered from attention-grabbing political stunts (such as his 2016 invasion of the Green Zone) to bouts of petulant withdrawal from the political field altogether. No wonder the speculation about whether Al-Sadr is a bipolar manic depressive.

In about 2004, Al-Sadr was gratefully accepting Iranian funding to destabilize Iraq. He was even based in Qom between 2007 and 2011, but began spouting anti-Iranian rhetoric after his return to Baghdad. During Al-Sadr’s visit to Tehran late last year, Qassem Soleimani and Ali Khamenei sought to return him to Iran’s orbit. There have been reports of discreet visits by Al-Sadr and his former subordinate Qais Al-Khazali to Iran in recent days. 

Iran has resorted to various methods of influencing the unpredictable Al-Sadr; from buying him off to threats of assassination and face-to-face meetings with his idol, Hassan Nasrallah. If Al-Sadr is indeed today acting at Tehran’s behest, it is unclear what his current motivations are.

One reason that Tehran’s proxies are rushing to form a government is their fear of new elections. Pro-Iran elements won a pitiful share of the vote in 2018, yet were able to dominate the new administration thanks to vigorous lobbying by figures like the late and unlamented Soleimani.

Having spent recent months effectively waging war against Shiite citizens throughout the south, where do Hadi Al-Amiri, Al-Khazali and Al-Sadr expect their votes to come from now? The pro-Iran Bana list would be lucky to get even 10 percent of the vote. Al-Sadr may fare even worse, having betrayed his loudly proclaimed principles. Thus, if Sunnis, Kurds and moderates aligned themselves around a broad-based, non-sectarian coalition it would be possible to shut out Iran-backed entities altogether. Indeed, according to the constitution, figures affiliated with paramilitary forces should not be allowed to participate in politics at all.

Leading cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani has already called for a new round of free and fair elections, and protesters have urged him to categorically reject new Prime Minister Mohammed Allawi. If there are fresh elections, militias and foreign-aligned elements should be excluded from the process, with IMIS-dominated departments like the Interior Ministry also kept at a distance. 

Iran’s proxies have sought to discredit the protest movement by alleging manipulation by foreign embassies. Unfortunately, far from manipulating the situation behind the scenes, Western diplomats are sleeping at their posts. Where is the international community on attacks against citizens and pressures for reforms and uprooting corruption? 

Iraq is the central plank in Tehran’s campaign of regional expansionism. The US and others should be capitalizing on Iran’s recent setbacks, as slamming the door on Tehran’s fingers in Iraq would have a huge impact on its ability to project its influence in Syria and Lebanon. 

Even after the deaths of well over 650 protesters, the wounding of more than 20,000, and with reports of hundreds of disappearances, protesters remain as determined as ever. The “political coup” by pro-Iran elements has only achieved one thing: When millions of protesters come out in future months, we won’t see generalized slogans condemning corruption and misgovernance across the board, but rather IMIS and Al-Sadr have put themselves firmly in the cross hairs. They are now widely loathed, even by the segments of society that relatively recently lauded them as popular heroes and saviors from the scourge of ISIS.

Instead of hijacking the Iraqi revolution, Al-Sadr and Iran’s henchmen have simply ensured that they are the ones standing in the eye of the storm when the revolution definitively arrives.

  • Thanks 3
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Allawi to be replaced if failed to form gov’t by March: Expert

exp

Legal expert Tareq Harb said on Sunday that the constitutional period specified for Prime Minister-designate Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi to choose his cabinet expires on March 2nd.

In case Allawi fails to form his government before this deadline, the President of the Republic is obligated to assign another person, according to the constitution, Harb added.

  • Thanks 2
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sadr's aide threatens Allawi of facing 'hell' if elite included in Cabinet

sadr1

Iraq's incoming prime minister will face "hell" and be removed within days if he includes members of the political elite in his cabinet, a top aide to cleric Moqtada Sadr has warned.

Premier-designate Mohammad Allawi has until March 2to form a new cabinet, to be put to the protest-rocked country's parliament for a vote of confidence. 

Thousands of anti-government demonstrators have already rejected his nomination as prime minister.

  • Thanks 1
  • Haha 1
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Blue Hats gangs shoot protesters in Iraqi cities

sadr The members of the "Blue Hats" (who are followers ofSadr movement affiliated to the "Peace Brigades", the military wing of the Sadrist movement started onMonday morning to disperse the protests in Najaf and Hilla cities by firing live bullets and attacking the demonstrators.

Activists circulated videos showing the escape of protesters in Najaf city while they were under fire, said to be by members of the "blue hats".

In another video in Hilla city, the center of Babel governorate, “blue hats ” members fought with protesters who were chanting slogans against the leader of the Sadrist movement, Muqtada al-Sadr and the Secretary-General of Badr Organization, Hadi al-Amiri.

Al-Sadr has ordered yesterday the "blue hats" in coordination with the security forces to restore official working hours  and to open roads that were blocked by protesters in the areas where demonstrations are taking place in Iraq.

The protests in Iraq that started since early last October are witnessing a major escalation in protest against the mandate of the Iraqi President, Barham Salih to Muhammad Tawfiq Allawi to form a new government that will pave the way for early legislative elections in the country.
  • Thanks 4
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sadr is a bad hombre and could care less about elevating the people of Iraq.  He is just another one who needs to be GONE.

His health is failing so maybe that will take care of him.

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After Latest Turn, Is Muqtada al-Sadr Losing Influence in Iraq?

 
12 February 2020
The populist cleric has repositioned himself in Iraqi politics multiple times, but his recent shift against youth-led protestors may signal his decline as an autonomous political force. 
Muqtada al-Sadr in Najaf in October. Photo: Getty Images.
Muqtada al-Sadr in Najaf in October. Photo: Getty Images. 

 

Following the US strike on Qassem Solaimani and Abu Mehdi al-Muhandis, populist cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has violently cracked down on youth-led protests in Iraq.

His paramilitaries and ‘blue hats’ –  supposedly created to protect protestors from state and allied parastatal security forces – sought to end the months-long demonstrations by attacking the places where protesters have camped since October. In Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, they successfully captured the famous Turkish restaurant which had become a symbol of Iraq’s ‘October revolution’. 

Once the champion of Iraq’s protest movement, Sadr has seemingly changed course and now leads the counter-protests. This reversal has mystified many, from Iraqis who saw Sadr as an ally in their struggle for reform against an impenetrable elite to foreign diplomats who hoped Sadr could help pushback against Iranian influence in Iraq. 

Yet this is not the first time that Sadr has drastically redefined his position. Since 2003, he has gone from Shia sectarian militia leader to pro-democracy reformist and Iraqi nationalist.

And in the past few months, he has given mixed signals, both supporting and criticising the protesters. The most recent incidents of Sadrist violence targeting demonstrators provoked a societal backlash, prompting Sadr to change tack once more and announce that he would disband the blue hats and investigate their crimes against protesters.

Sadr and the paramilitaries

Sadr’s latest change of course may seem to flow directly from the US assassination of Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and the ensuing vacuum in the Shia paramilitary sphere. Prior to this move, the Sadrists were on the defensive, outflanked and outgunned by the growing coercive and political power of a constellation of Shia armed groups coalescing under Muhandis’s de facto leadership. Many of these groups competed for Sadr’s base, including Qais al-Khazali’s Asa’ib ahl al-Haq and Akram al-Kaabi’s Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba.  

With Muhandis out of the picture, Sadr could reclaim the space by pushing his own right hand, Kadhem al-Issawi (Abu Do’a), to be the new centre of the paramilitary field and forcing competitors, including Khaza’li and Kaabi, to rally around his leadership.

Iran, in the short term, appears to be going along with this solution to bring more coherence to its allied forces in Iraq as it seeks to counter what it regards as US aggression. Iran also hopes that bringing Sadr back in will help neutralize the protest movement which threatens its stake in Iraqi politics. 

The most visible sign of this Iran-brokered rapprochement was the 13 January meeting in Qom attended by Sadr, Issawi and several senior militia commanders including Laith al-Khazali (Qais al-Khazali’s brother). 

Following the Qom meeting, a pattern of ***-for-tat violence and assassinations between the Sadrists’ Saraya al-Salam and Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq – ongoing since the start of the October protests in Iraq – ceased.

A fragmented movement?

However, while the US strikes certainly changed Sadr’s political calculations, there are more persistent fundamentals at work that help explain his change of course. The first of these relates to long-standing fragmentation within the movement. This exists not only within Sadrist paramilitaries, but within the movement’s clerical networks, and also applies to the ties that bind the Sadrist leadership to its popular base. This fragmentation makes it difficult for Sadr to impose a coherent politics on his followers from the top down.

There are signs that Sadr’s recent shift in position has exacerbated this fragmentation. His attempt to reposition the movement’s base within the ‘resistance axis’ that supports the Shia militias in Iraq has only been partially successful. On 24 January, responding to the US assassinations, Sadr called for a million-man march focused on expelling US forces from Iraq. However, turnout was poor, especially given the huge logistical support for the march, and it lasted only a few hours.

Equally revealing, when Sadr called on his supporters to vacate the squares, many refused. One Sadrist protester in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square told the authors: ‘We’ve been camping with our brothers and sisters for four months. Why should we leave them to die?’

Meanwhile, fissures have also opened up within the Sadrists’ clerical elite. One senior Sadrist cleric, for example, is openly defying Sadr’s authority and siding with the revolutionaries in Nasiriyah. 

Sadr’s attempt to dominate the paramilitary sphere is also unlikely to prove any more successful than his many previous failed attempts since 2003. He is neither trusted nor respected by the leaders of other groups. The Iran-brokered rapprochement is already showing signs of weakness. Two recent assassinations of Saraya al-Salam leaders in Basra and Maysan indicate a potential renewal of power struggles between the Sadrist militia and Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq.  

Sadr is not a revolutionary

Sadr has never been a revolutionary, but someone who seeks to leverage a role as both ‘spoiler’ and ‘stabilizer’ to maximise his political leverage. This strategy is ultimately oriented towards sustaining Iraq’s extant political system, not its overthrow. Forced to choose between the roles of revolutionary or maintainer of the status quo, he has opted for the latter. 

The protests that erupted in 2019 were not the same movement that Sadr led from 2015. The 2015 protests were an elite-driven phenomenon, integrated into the political field and carefully calibrated to exert pressure on the elite towards gradual reform. 

By contrast, the 2019 demonstrations spring from a youth-led, bottom-up mobilization that rejects politicization and seeks a more radical form of change. Chatham House surveys in a forthcoming paper reveal that the protesters are younger that those who protested in 2015-16. Fewer have permanent employment. Instead of demanding better services or jobs, they are focusing wholesale transformation of the post-2003 political system.

A Sadrist official told the authors that their movement initially joined the protests in October 2019 expecting a similar reform-orientation to the protests which Sadr had previously led. However, according to him, the protesters failed to come forward with reasonable demands or alternative names for prime minister. He believed the protests would fade, and many would regret the ‘wasted time and blood’. 

Sadr’s relations with Iran

A final long-term factor at play is Sadr’s receding autonomy from Iran. Ever since his movement’s electoral victory in May 2018, Sadr came under enormous pressure to reconcile with the political wing of the Iranian-allied parastatal armed groups in the formation of a new government acceptable to Iran.

Over the last year, Sadr has moved even closer to Iran, spending more time in Qom. Iran has offered Sadr security from his paramilitary rivals (such as Asa’ib ahl al-Haq), convincing Sadr that he is safer in Iran than Iraq. Moreover, Sadr is undertaking religious training in Qom, and may see this as a chance to enhance his standing in the Shia religious field as many look towards a future beyond the elderly Najaf-based marja Ali al-Sistani.

By keeping Sadr in Qom, Iran appears to be trying to isolate him from what they regard as negative influences. As tensions between the Sadrists and other protest groups intensified, efforts were made by some protest leaders and allied political groups to reach Sadr in Qom and try to persuade him to change course or restrain the worst abuses of his forces. However, this delegation was unable to make contact with Sadr. Those involved told the authors they have resorted to communicating with local Sadrist leaders in Najaf, Babil, Basra and Baghdad. 

Crossing a line

This is a transformative moment for the Sadrists. Sadr is now defying the popular sentiments driving protests across central and southern Iraq. The sense of betrayal among former allies and friends of the Sadrists is palpable. One senior activist involved in cooperation with the Sadrists wrote that, no matter what moves Sadr makes next, the cleric has ‘terminated all partnership with the protesters,’ and ‘shattered the framework for cooperation’. A line has thus been crossed that Sadr cannot reverse; he will not be able to recover what he has now lost. 

Iran, also, does not see Sadr as a dependable ally, and will look to isolate and side-line the cleric when the opportunity arises. Thus, in seeking to exploit a crisis for short-term gain, Sadr may well have sealed his fate – in the long term – as a declining force in Iraqi politics.

https://www.chathamhouse.org/expert/comment/after-latest-turn-muqtada-al-sadr-losing-influence-iraq

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 

A Cleric’s Rise Is A “Crushing Reminder” For Some Iraq War Veterans

Muqtada al-Sadr's militias were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of US soldiers. Now he's set to be a deciding factor in Iraq's next government.

 

Posted on May 18, 2018, at 4:18 p.m. ET
 
sub-buzz-8415-1526673216-1.jpg?resize=99
Ahmad al-Rubaye / AFP / Getty Images

An Iraqi man celebrates with a picture of Shiite cleric Muqtada Sadr.

 

Nathan McClure served in Baghdad at the height of the Iraq War. When he was severely wounded in 2007, ending his military career in the US Army, it was thanks to a weapon called an EFP — or explosively formed penetrator — piercing his Humvee. The lethal roadside bomb killed and wounded hundreds of coalition troops — and was choice for a militia under the control of a man who’s now poised to be kingmaker in Iraq’s new government.

For those who were on the front lines battling Muqtada al-Sadr’s forces just over a decade ago, many of whom told BuzzFeed News they had distanced themselves from following developments in Iraq after they left, the return of one of America’s most deadly enemies to headlines is surreal.

 

The surprise victory of the 44-year-old Shiite cleric, whose militias led two uprisings against US troops during the bloodiest years of the occupation, has rattled some US veterans and reopened frustrations for others. While Sadr can’t become prime minister himself, his coalition became the frontrunner in Iraq’s parliamentary election May 12.

 

“It just rips the flooring right from underneath you, makes you feel like everything you did was worthless,” said McClure, who served at the peak of the US military’s “surge” with the 2-16 Infantry Battalion — a unit he drily describes as being “quite familiar with Sadr and his followers.”

 
sub-buzz-8432-1526673277-7.jpg?resize=99
Haidar Hamdani / AFP / Getty Images

Al-Sadr puts his ballot through an electronic counting machine into a ballot box at poll station in the central holy city of Najaf on May 12, 2018

 

“You cannot take war personally,” he said. “But I know for many this can open old wounds, the questions about what we were doing. What was it all for? What did we accomplish in the next 15 years that we didn’t accomplish in the first 45 days?”

 

For some, it has been hard to reconcile that the same man who at one point was “heavily hunted” by the US, whose face they had memorized, is now on top.

 

“The mission of the US forces is to kill or capture Muqtada al-Sadr,” Gen. John Abizaid, who headed US Central Command, said in 2004. “That's our mission.”

After the US-led invasion in 2003, Sadr, the son of a revered Shiite cleric killed during Saddam Hussein's rule for defying the regime, evolved from a young, little-known preacher to a “militia leader responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans and the scourge of American generals,” said Bill Russell Edmonds, who served as a US Army Special Forces officer in Iraq.

 

He was able to capitalize on anger at the US occupation to lead two insurgencies against American forces and incite sectarian violence against the Sunni population. Edmonds pointed out that as recently as 2016, Sadr declared that American troops fighting ISIS in Iraq were “open targets.”

 

“Now, he's reimagined himself once again; but what Americans should imagine were Sadr's bloodied hands on Black Sunday,” he told BuzzFeed News, referring to an ambush in Sadr City in 2004 that killed eight US soldiers and wounded more than 50 others. “When ISIS took Mosul, I felt pain and sorrow. When Iraqis chose Sadr, there were echoes of betrayal.”

 

The Mahdi Army was blamed for mass killings of Sunni civilians in the country’s worst sectarian violence in 2006 and 2007. In Sadr City, a Shiite-dominated district of Baghdad named for his father that was the scene of heavy fighting between US forces and his supporters, prominent banners and graffiti written in English taunted US soldiers — “Welcome, America, to the second Vietnam.”

 

“He absolutely has a lot of American and coalition blood on his hands,” said Brian Casey, a US Army veteran who also served in the 2-16.

 

ADVERTISEMENT

“He was a person I would have loved to have seen brought to justice,” he told BuzzFeed News, describing several “windows of opportunity where it seemed we could have gotten rid of him,” but it never happened. “Now to see him back, well…it sucks.”

 

Casey was shot by an al-Mahdi sniper in 2007 when he was leading a platoon securing a gas station near a main route into Sadr City, collapsing his lung and fracturing his ribs.

 

“We were there, we tried our best,” he said. “You know, part of what we were attempting to accomplish was to set up a functioning democracy. If what the Iraqi people want now is a hardline Shiite, anti-Western leader, I guess that’s what they cast their votes for. I can’t imagine this moving the country forward, but certainly we don’t want to be back there doing the exact same thing.”

 

For a lot of people who lost friends in the fight, that doesn’t make Sadr’s victory any easier to swallow.

 

 

 

ADVERTISEMENT

 

A lot of the disbelief and anger has been directed toward the tone of the news coverage of Sadr’s political win. In recent years the cleric has rebranded his image as a populist champion on a platform of fighting corruption, dropping some of his vehement anti-American rhetoric and distancing himself from Iran.

 

Having to reintroduce Sadr to Americans 15 years later, many prominent news outlets called him a “maverick” and a “firebrand,” which didn’t sit well with some veterans.

 

 

 

When White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Thursday joked about not being able to pronounce his name, US service members, family members of soldiers who had died there, journalists, and others who had been in Iraq during the war pointed out that anyone who had spent time there would know not only the name but also the face of the cleric who had loomed as a larger-than-life figure during those years.

 

ADVERTISEMENT

 

 

 

Some described soldiers in Baghdad in the early years of the war having photographs of Sadr on the walls of their barracks “so they wouldn’t have to hesitate before shooting him.”

 

Sadr has been more muted in his public anti-American criticism after the US withdrew troops in 2011. He has been running on a platform of ousting Iranian as well as US forces from the country. There are currently roughly 5,000 US troops in Iraq as the fight against the Islamic State has wound down, with most of the mission focused on training and clearing parts of the country retaken from ISIS militants.

 

At the Pentagon, US military officials would only say that they were aware of his history and would support the outcome of the election.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who commanded troops during the US-led invasion in 2003 and some of the most violent years of the conflict, deflected questions about whether he was upset by Sadr’s victory Tuesday.

 

"The Iraqi people had an election. It's a democratic process at a time when people, many people, doubted that Iraq could take charge of themselves,” he said. "So we will wait and see the … final results of the election. And we stand with the Iraqi people's decisions."

Iraq’s complicated parliamentary system means that Sadr’s coalition did not win the majority it needed, and negotiations are ongoing. His victory came in an election in which almost 7,000 candidates vied for 329 parliamentary seats.

 

“Well, he's been on a journey, so to speak,” retired Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland, who planned military operations against Sadr as a staff officer, said in a radio interview Tuesday. “And at one point, we viewed him as a significant threat to the campaign and the democratization of Iraq, and he was pretty high on our list of people that we wanted to take off the battlefield, so to speak.”

 

Like Mattis, he would not answer whether he was disheartened seeing Sadr rise to the top, only saying that he “would not have been our choice for the No. 1 spot in the recent elections,” and noting that the cleric is “evolving towards a more pragmatic stance in a lot of ways.”

 

Iraq veterans who served in Sadr City told BuzzFeed News that they were not naïve about figures like him reappearing in Iraqi politics. Rather they, like most Americans, had tuned out. It was healthier, they said.

“I’m retired now and I don’t watch much TV, nor do I care about what is going on in Iraq,” one of them said in an email declining to be interviewed, echoing the sentiment of many veterans who did speak with BuzzFeed News.

 

The sudden reemergence of Sadr after his surprise victory came as less of a shock that he was still around than a “crushing reminder” of the years and friends lost fighting his supporters.

 

They served, they left, restarted their lives back home, and intentionally tuned out as much as they could, they said. But a byproduct of a conflict that never really ended is that even with the drawdown of major operations, “you would suddenly hear that one of your buddies was back there and you’d get a reminder that this thing keeps dragging on," one Iraq veteran who fought Mahdi forces in Najaf told BuzzFeed News. (He asked to not be named in this article, based on his work with soldiers struggling with PTSD.)

 

“We didn’t get a clear-cut war like World War II. We were fighting over city blocks with [Sadr’s] militias, and then we had to come back and try to explain it,” McClure said. “It’s just…the main feeling is that you do a lot of great work to leave and watch it all fall apart.”

 

Vera Bergengruen is a Pentagon reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC.

Contact Vera Bergengruen at vera.bergengruen@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.

 
 View Comments
BuzzFeed Home
 
© 2020 BuzzFeed, Inc.
  • Thanks 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The only good Sadr is a dead one! As many of you know, my Shia friend hates him and says that most Iraqi Shia hate him because of his flip flopping on issues. One of the latest examples of his switching sides is That his “blue hats” were first ordered to protect the protestors, then they were ordered to remove the protestors and kill them, now they were ordered to leave the rallies and disperse. The protestors, according to my friend, are waiting for the blue hats to return and start firing on them yet again.. all thanks to the flip flopping idiot Sadr..

  • Thanks 5
  • Upvote 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, coorslite21 said:

Hundreds of Iraqi women of all ages flooded central Baghdad Thursday alongside male anti-government protesters, defying an order by powerful cleric Moqtada al-Sadr to separate the genders at rallies.

 

Soooo, lemme get this straight - if Y'ALL ( I wuz raised in Southern California so I gets ta use Y'ALL  ;) ), wanna protest & demonstrate . . . You have to segregate yourselves; no rubbing elbows with the guys when your demanding an END to corruption and so & so forth ????   WTF ? ! ? ! ? ! 

 

:facepalm:  :facepalm:  :facepalm:  :facepalm:  :facepalm: 

  • Thanks 1
  • Haha 2
  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 minutes ago, Kenny_Logins said:

The US won't have to take him out. Iraq's own Shiites will take care of it.


If U Want To Take Out A Shiite - Use A ‘Suppository’ ! :o 
 

D183390E-77B9-44C3-B469-60DD1F9A237F.jpeg

 
:D  :D  :D 
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
  • Haha 10

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, coorslite21 said:

al-Sadr...….took to Twitter to slam the (Shia) protests (who previously followed him) as being rife with "nudity, promiscuity, drunkenness, immorality, debauchery... and non-believers."

 

….....so I'm (Sadr) sending out my Iranian armed Shia militias to kill Shiite citizen protesters (some of whom voted for my party in the last elections). Make sense !! No finer 2-faced @ss. The 150 Iranian rockets confiscated by the US Navy should be 'air delivered' to Sadr......post haste !!

 

 

 

                                             "I hate 2-faced people. I never know which side to slap first!"  :butt-kicking:

 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 2
  • Haha 1
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Majority of religious leaders and politicians manipulate the people for their own benefit.

 

Go US

Go Drones

Go freedom 

 

 

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, King Bean said:

 

….....so I'm (Sadr) sending out my Iranian armed Shia militias to kill Shiite citizen protesters (some of whom voted for my party in the last elections). Make sense !! No finer 2-faced @ss. The 150 Iranian rockets confiscated by the US Navy should be 'air delivered' to Sadr......post haste !!

 

 

 

                                             "I hate 2-faced people. I never know which side to slap first!"  :butt-kicking:

 

Even if Sadr doesn’t have “Prime”, we will include free shipping via overnight air..

  • Thanks 1
  • Haha 1
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Imagine Sadr's surprise when he meets his end and hear's nothing but OINK OINK from

all 72 in the pen :)

 

6 hours ago, md11fr8dawg said:

Time for ole Sadr to get his 72 virgins!!

 

3 hours ago, davis411 said:

Ummmm

doesent sound to bad

 

 

 

  • Like 1
  • Haha 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, nannab said:

Imagine Sadr's surprise when he meets his end and hear's nothing but OINK OINK from

all 72 in the pen :)


U Mean Getting Sadr-mized By Being B’OINKed From Behind ! :o 

 

pigs hit barbed wire. .. why was he filming hes pigs having sex in the first place?

 

He’ll Probably Be A Little Bit More ‘Shocked’ Than Surprised ...
 

:D  :D  :D 

  • Haha 9

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.



×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.