Iraq: Shia leader Moqtada Sadr announces his 'final retirement' from politics

Iraq: Shia leader Moqtada Sadr announces his “definitive withdrawal” from politics

The very influential Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr, used to blows, announced his withdrawal at a time when Iraq has been mired in a deep political crisis since the legislative elections of October 2021.

I had decided not to interfere in political affairs. I am therefore now announcing my final withdrawal from politics, Moqtada Sadr wrote on Twitter.

He also announced the closure of institutions linked to his name and family, with the exception of the Sacred Mausoleum [of his father Mohammed Sadr who died in 1999, Ed], the Museum of Honor and the Al-Sadr Heritage Authority.

The Shiite leader, recognizable by his black “sayyed” [descendant of the Prophet Muhammad] turban, is one of the heavyweights of Iraqi politics who can aggravate the crisis or pull the country out of the rut in which it has been bogged down since parliamentary elections in October 2021.

Iraq still does not have a new prime minister or government, Shiite forces , including that of Moqtada Sadr, failing to agree on their mode of designation.

His Courant came first in the legislative elections with 73 seats (out of 329). But, unable to form a majority in the hemicycle, Moqtada Sadr had his deputies resign in June.

For weeks, he had been calling for the dissolution of Parliament and new legislation anticipated in an attempt to resolve the crisis. More generally, it demands the fundamental reform of the Iraqi political system and an end to corruption.

And in the standoff between him and his Shiite adversaries of the Coordination Framework, an alliance of pro-Iran factions, Moqtada Sadr has again raised the stakes since the end of July.

On Saturday, Moqtada Sadr had also proposed that all parties in place since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003 – including his own – give up the government posts they hold to allow the political crisis to be resolved. He had then given 72 hours to the parties involved, otherwise there would be no room for reforms.

The spat between the Sadrist camp and the Cadre of coordination have so far not degenerated into armed clashes, but the Hachd al-Chaabi, former pro-Iran paramilitaries integrated into the Iraqi forces, said they were ready to defend the state institutions.

Moqtada Sadr, born in 1974, has never ruled himself since the fall of Saddam Hussein. But from his stronghold in the Hanana district in the holy city of Najaf (center), his religious and political aura carries over to part of the Shiite community, the majority in Iraq.

And s& #x27;he does not participate directly in the current government, his Current has had relays in ministries and administrations for many years.

Moqtada Sadr enjoyed a meteoric rise after the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, including creating the Mehdi Army, a resistance militia against the occupier .

In his press release published on Monday, he makes no reference to either the Mehdi Army or the Peace Brigades, another armed group under his orders. , created in 2014 after the city of Mosul fell to jihadists from the Islamic State (IS) armed group

The Iraqi army on Monday declared a curfew from 12:30 GMT in Baghdad as supporters of Moqtada Sadr invaded the Republic Palace, a government building, after the Shiite leader announced his withdrawal of politics.

Supporters of the religious and political leader entered the Palace of the Republic, located in the ultra-secure Green Zone, the access to which has been closed, said a security source on condition of anonymity.

According to an AFP photographer, protesters took to seats in a meeting room, some waving Iraqi flags, others taking selfies. Still others bathed in a pool in the garden.

The Palace of the Republic is located in Baghdad's iconic Green Zone and usually hosts the Council of ministers.

Moqtada Sadr's supporters still occupy the Iraqi parliament.

Outside the Green Zone, in the streets of Baghdad, several thousand Sadrists marched towards this city center enclosure chanting Moqtada! Moqtada!, according to an AFP journalist.

For fear of excesses, the Iraqi army has decreed a complete curfew in the capital Baghdad. It affects all vehicles and citizens from 3:30 p.m. Monday, or 12:30 p.m. GMT, the Joint Operations Command said in a statement.

L' Iraq, rich in oil, but overwhelmed by a serious economic and social crisis, still does not have a new prime minister or a new government, the Shiite forces, including that of Moqtada Sadr, failing to agree on their mode of appointment.

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