What next after Muqtada al-Sadr?
Some doubt the fate of a popular revolution led by an Iraqi fundamentalist cleric, and they have the right to
What is happening in Iraq is interesting and dangerous. Some are optimistic that the Sadrist movement’s revolution will bring an end to the rule of fundamentalist parties in Iraq. Others, however, think this is a delusion and Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr is just like everyone else.
Significantly, the parties that have most strongly condemned the Sadrist rebellion, Shiite protestors’ raid of Baghdad’s Green Zone and the popular ‘occupation’ of parliament were Iran and the United States.
The US and Iran
To Washington, the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi is legitimate and important. The United States supports it as much as it is active in fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and as much as it is willing to engage in the battle for Mosul, the capital of the group’s caliphate.
Abadi received Washington’s support via a rare visit by Vice President Joe Biden to Iraq, and also through the visit of Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter. The latter said Abadi “is in a strong position despite the political unrest in the country, and this is due to his successes on the ground. We strongly support him.”
What is happening is a wave of anger against political, financial and ideological corruption of Iraqi Shiite fundamentalist parties. This worries Tehran, but it also worries WashingtonMshari al-Thaydi
Meanwhile, Ali Akbar Velayati, former Iranian foreign minister and a consultant to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, condemned Sadr supporters who raided the Green Zone, revolted against the Iraqi ruling elite regardless of sect, and even chanted against Iran. This is why the Sadrist parliamentary bloc condemned its supporters’ chants against Iran.
Some doubt the fate of a popular revolution led by an Iraqi fundamentalist cleric, and they have the right to. However, this development may go beyond Sadr.
Fakhri Karim, owner of the Iraqi Al-Mada Foundation for Media, Culture and Arts, which publishes Al-Mada newspaper, said: “We’re certainly [witnessing] positive manifestations that confirm the failure of the governance of political Islamist parties and the projects they’ve announced.” These developments “have solidified the idea of the [people’s] ability to confront political authority and its suppressive apparatus.”
What is happening is a wave of anger against political, financial and ideological corruption of Iraqi Shiite fundamentalist parties. This worries Tehran, but what is strange is that it also worries Washington!
This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on May 04, 2016.
Saudi journalist Mshari Al Thaydi presents Al Arabiya News Channel’s “views on the news” daily show “Maraya.” He has previously held the position of a managing senior editor for Saudi Arabia & Gulf region at pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat. Al Thaydi has published several papers on political Islam and social history of Saudi Arabia. He appears as a guest on several radio and television programs to discuss the ideologies of extremist groups and terrorists.