Iraq and Shia Mobilization under Cleric Sayyid Muqtada al-Sadr: Reform Push
Murad Makhmudov, Sawako Uchida, and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The political crisis in Iraq needs addressing according to the Shia holy cleric Sayyid Muqtada al-Sadr. This is based on political cronyism, endless terrorism, the weakening of Iraq, corruption, a fragile infrastructure, poverty, and a sense of being directionless. For this reason, al-Sadr is demanding fresh impetus in order to preserve the integrity of Iraq. Therefore, this powerful and enigmatic religious leader seeks to break the stranglehold of endemic corruption, cronyism, and the ongoing political inertia that is holding Iraq back.
Al-Sadr said recently, “I make a historical call to every honest, reform-loving Iraqi to rise up and start a new phase in the peaceful popular protests.”
In the past few months, vast numbers of al-Sadr loyalists have demonstrated the need to reinvigorate Iraq. According to al-Sadr, the start of genuine reforms must be based on installing technocrats that are non-partisan. If this objective is reached then hopefully reformers who seek to serve the people of Iraq will replace political cronyism.
Therefore, al-Sadr told his followers a few months ago to “Get ready and organize yourselves to establish sit-in tents. This is your time to root out corruption and the corrupt.”
However, despite al-Sadr upping the ante recently, it is clear that political elites in Iraq have not responded in kind. In other words, the vested interests of political parties have failed to listen to al-Sadr. Therefore, for vast numbers of Shia Muslims who feel betrayed by political inertia, they finally stormed parliament early this weekend.
The BBC reports “Iraq’s Prime Minister has ordered the arrest of Shia Muslim activists who stormed parliament in Baghdad on Saturday… Haider al-Abadi said those who caused damage and attacked police should be brought to justice.”
Protestors have since set up camp outside a parliament that can’t protect the people of Iraq, nor even rely solely on the central armed forces to fight the menace of ISIS (Islamic State – IS). After all, it was various Shia militias that stepped up to the plate when ISIS threatened to overrun even more territory.
Modern Tokyo Times said in a past article, “The endless suffering in Iraq since outside meddling destabilized this nation to the core and created a vacuum for Sunni Takfiri sectarian groups, is now witnessing a fresh momentum from the Shia holy cleric Sayyid Muqtada al-Sadr. Indeed, the maturing al-Sadr is focused on moving with the times because he seeks a new invigorated Iraq based on the natural reality of this nation state. In other words, the days of sectarianism should be left behind and political reforms should lead the way for a revitalized central state.”
Al-Sadr said recently to an enormous crowd “I am among you to say to you, frankly and bravely, that the government has left its people struggling against death, fear, hunger, unemployment, occupation, a struggling economy, a security crisis, bad services and a big political crisis.”
Irrespective if individuals disagree with the approach taken by al-Sadr, it is difficult to disagree with his above comment. Indeed, it could be argued that al-Sadr is seeking genuine change based on being more pragmatic. After all, the current political crisis is extremely serious and clearly al-Sadr does have it within his means to up the ante to a much higher degree. However, al-Sadr is hoping that the current political elites will wake up to the reality that vast numbers of Iraqis feel betrayed by the current political set up.
The BBC says, “Iraq’s system of sharing government jobs has long been criticized for promoting unqualified candidates and encouraging corruption.”
Modern Tokyo News is part of the Modern Tokyo Times group
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