Will Iran allow the man who’s now become the most important player in Iraq’s political life to experiment with the possibilities of rapprochement between Iraqi blocs and create a moment of national political consensus away from the influence of Iran and other foreign powers?
Muqtada Al Sadr, the popular Shiite leader, is unlike other Iraqi leaders which Iran has gotten used to dealing with, especially after Muqtada’s alliance Sairoon won the largest number of seats in the recent parliamentary elections.
Muqtada, the descendant of the religious and political Sadr family in Iraq and son of the most popular branch of the Sadr family, that of Sayyid Mohammed Sadeq al-Sadr, has inherited the popular base that his father had gained among non-partisan popular categories. This is evident in the capital Baghdad, especially in highly-populated neighborhoods like the Sadr City or Al-Shu'ala.
Iran will use its proxies to intimidate Muqtada Al-Sadr and his bloc in order to keep Iraq under its influenceMashari Althaydi
Speaking of Al-Shu'ala, there have recently been terror attacks which I think have been carried out by Muqtada’s foes. It’s expected that Iran will use its allies and proxies, like the Popular Mobilization led by Hadi al-Amiri or Nouri al-Maliki, to intimidate Sadr and his bloc into accepting an Iranian solution in order to keep Iraq under Iran’s influence.
Few days ago while meeting with Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (SRSG) for Iraq Jan Kubis, Muqtada said: “Our vision for the next phase is for decisions to be purely Iraqi national decisions. This stems from people’s desires and the phase also necessitates this because the Iraqi people have suffered a lot from corruption and poor governance.” He added: “It’s important that the international community and the UN increase their support for Iraq to get out of the tunnel of abominable sectarianism and quotas and stop regional interferences in the election file.”
Will Iraq’s popular leader Muqtada al-Sadr succeed in bringing Iraq out of the tunnel of sectarianism, corruption and quotas? This is the question.
This article is also available in Arabic.
Saudi journalist Mashari Althaydi 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. Althaydi 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. He tweets under @MAlthaydy