Supporters of Iraq’s Muqtada al-Sadr stormed the parliament building in Baghdad on Wednesday, a day after the government announced it was abandoning a peace deal that had seen him return to the political mainstream.
The move comes amid a spiraling political crisis in Iraq, with Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi struggling to maintain control over a fractious country and Sadr’s supporters quickly taking advantage.
Sadr has suggested he may challenge Abadi in upcoming elections and analysts say he is using the parliamentary crisis to build support.
The unrest underscores Abadi's challenges as he tries to revive an economy battered by low oil prices and sectarian violence that has killed thousands in recent years.
What is Muqtada al-Sadr?
An influential Shia cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr, has been a controversial figure in Iraq for over two decades. He rose to prominence as the leader of the Mahdi Army, a militia group that fought against US-led coalition forces from 2003 until 2007. In 2010, he was elected Prime Minister of Iraq but was removed from office less than a year later. Sadr now leads the Sadrist Movement, which is part of the Iraqi Parliament.
In February 2014, Sadr's followers stormed the Iraqi Parliament building in Baghdad, demanding that he be reinstated as Prime Minister. The standoff ended with Sadr and his deputies being allowed to leave the building unharmed.
Since then, Sadr has remained a powerful political force in Iraq, and his supporters are believed to form a significant portion of the armed forces loyal to him.
Background of Muqtada al-Sadr
Muqtada al-Sadr, a Shiite cleric and political figure, emerged as one of the most influential Iraqi politicians in the early 2000s. He has been a leader of Sadrist Islam, a Shiite offshoot that emphasizes social justice and faithfulness to traditional Islamic values. In 2006, he formed the Sadrist Movement, which advocated for reforms in Iraq's government.
In March 2007, Muqtada al-Sadr led protests against then-Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. The following month, security forces raided his home and detained him on charges of incitement to violence. Al-Maliki responded by suspending al-Sadr from parliament and banning his movement. In October 2007, al-Sadr was released after several months of detention.
In April 2008, al-Sadr allied with Sunni cleric Muqtada al-Sadr to challenge Maliki's ruling party in parliamentary elections. The alliance won nearly half of the seats in parliament, marking the first time since 2003 that a majority of seats in the legislature had been held by coalition partners rather than Maliki's party.
What is Muqtada al-Sadr's political philosophy?
Sadr is a Shiite cleric and politician who rose to prominence in the aftermath of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. He has been a vocal opponent of U.S. occupation and interventionism in the Middle East and advocates for a more decentralized and representative government. Sadr also positions himself as a champion of the poor and marginalized in Iraqi society and has called for social reform and an end to corruption.
Sadr is deeply connected to Iran, which has provided him with financial support, political support, and military assistance throughout his career. The relationship between Sadr and Iran has been contentious at times, but it has also been mutually beneficial; Sadr's supporters see Iran as a protector against U.S. interests in Iraq, while Tehran sees Sadr as a capable ally in its fight against American influence in the region.
Sadr's ultimate goal is to rebuild Iraq into a functioning democracy that can defend itself from foreign interference. He also seeks to improve the living conditions.
Muqtada al-Sadr's political philosophy is based on the belief that a representative government should govern Iraq. He has also advocated the ending of sectarianism and greater democracy in Iraq.
Recent Events in Iraq
Supporters of Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr stormed the parliament building in Baghdad on Wednesday, chanting "This is our Iraq!" and "We are all Sadrists!" The demonstrators were reported to have been carrying firearms and grenades. Parliament speaker Osama al-Nujaifi condemned the attack, saying it threatened national security. Sadr's representatives have not commented on the matter.
Since his dramatic withdrawal from negotiations over the formation of a new government earlier this month, Sadr has been using mass demonstrations to press his demands. He has called for more funds to reconstruct Iraq, more jobs for Iraqis, and an end to revenge killings by Shiite militias. Nujaifi has accused Sadr of trying to destabilize Iraq and said that the cleric's followers would not be allowed into parliament.
What are the protests in Baghdad about?
Sadr supporters stormed the parliament building in Baghdad on Wednesday, clashing with security forces who used tear gas and rubber bullets to repel them. The protesters are demanding that Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi step down, accusing him of running a corrupt government. Sadr's movement is one of the most influential in Iraq, and he has been critical of al-Maliki.
Why are his supporters marching on parliament?
Supporters of Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr stormed the parliament building in Baghdad hours after he called for a "peaceful and popular" uprising against Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi's government. Sadr's spokesman, Sheikh Akram al-Kaabi, said the protesters wanted to "demand the removal of the corrupt and tyrannical regime." They also demanded more jobs and an end to corruption.
The Supporters of Muqtada al-Sadr Storm the Parliament Building in Baghdad.
In a shocking development, supporters of Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr stormed the parliament building in Baghdad on Wednesday. The move comes just days after Sadr's followers took control of several critical Iraqi cities.
According to reports, around 50 armed men entered the parliament building and started shooting at security forces. The guards were quickly overwhelmed, and the attackers managed to take control of the building.
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The move comes just days after Sadr's followers took control of several critical Iraqi cities, including Baghdad. Sadr has been an essential player in Iraq's recent political turmoil, and his support is thought to be behind much of the instability.
This is a dangerous development for Iraq, as it suggests that Sadr's supporters are not ready to give up their position of power without a fight. It remains to be seen what this will mean for Iraq's future, but it is clear that things are not going well right now.
Hundreds of protesters have breached a high-security zone in Baghdad and broken into Iraq's parliament building.
The demonstrators were led by Muqtada al-Sadr, the influential Shia cleric who has repeatedly called for peaceful protests.
He urged his supporters to storm parliament to remove Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki from office.
The security breach comes as Iraq's politicians continue deadlocked over a new government.
Earlier today, Maliki accused Sadr's supporters of trying to create a "sectarian state" in Iraq.
The supporters of cleric Muqtada al-Sadr oppose the nomination of a rival candidate for prime minister.
The supporters stormed the parliament building in Baghdad on Monday, Reuters reports. The Sadrist movement has been one of the most influential groups in Iraq since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.
Sadr's bloc won 71 out of 328 seats in the March election. The nomination of Haider al-Abadi as prime minister by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has angered Sadrists, who say he is too close to the United States.
Police reportedly fired tear gas and water cannon at the protesters.
Iraq's Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi has called for an investigation into reports of police firing tear gas and water cannon at supporters of prominent Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr who stormed parliament in Baghdad on Wednesday. Abadi also warned of "the consequences" for those responsible.
Sadr's supporters had reportedly gathered outside the building to demand that he be given a seat in parliament, despite not having won an election in May. The protesters were met with resistance from security forces, who used tear gas and water cannons to disperse them. At least one person was reported to have been injured.
The dispute between Sadr and Abadi is a longstanding one. Sadr, who has long been a critic of the prime minister, boycotted the May elections in which Abadi was declared the victor. He has since called for a "revolution of dignity" and warned that Iraq is on the brink of civil war.
In a televised address on Wednesday night, Abadi warned that anyone responsible for the violence would face "the consequences." The prime minister has previously accused Sadr of inciting violence.
The group penetrated Baghdad's closely-guarded Green Zone.
Supporters of Iraq's influential Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr stormed the parliament building in Baghdad on Wednesday, hours after MPs disagreed on a new government. Al-Sadr's Mehdi Army group had threatened to take over the building if the lawmakers disagreed with his choice for prime minister. The move came just days after al-Sadr's main rival, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, was forced from office in a vote of no confidence.
The angry mood inside parliament reflects the deep political divisions in Iraq six months after U.S.-led forces withdrew from the country. The Sadrists are a significant force in the Shia community, which makes up around 60 percent of the population. They boycotted parliament while Maliki was in power and have called for fresh elections. Al-Maliki's State of Law alliance won 132 seats in May's parliamentary election. Still, only 39 were held by his party candidates, according to figures from the Independent High Electoral Commission.
A security source told the AFP news agency that the security forces initially appeared to have halted the intruders, but they "stormed the parliament."
It is unclear who was responsible for the attack.
Sadr's supporters have long been a thorn in the side of Iraq's government and security apparatus. In 2013, he called for a boycott of national elections, claiming they were rigged in favor of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.
Since then, however, Sadr's relationship with the government has improved somewhat, and he has not denounced the national elections as illegitimate.
Iraq's current prime minister, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, called on protesters to leave the building.
Kadhimi's predecessor, Nuri al-Maliki, was ousted in May by a parliamentary Shiite majority.
Sadr supporters stormed the building after MPs failed to vote on a no-confidence motion against Kadhimi.
Kadhi is from the Sadrist movement, which Sadr leads.
The unrest follows nine months of stalemate, during which disputes between the country's different political factions have prevented the creation of a new government.
An escalation of protests against a nine-month stalemate has prevented the formation of a new government.
The protesters accuse Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi's government of being corrupt and not abiding by Iraq's constitution, giving more power to the Shia majority. They also accuse Mr. Kadhimi's coalition partners of obstructing progress.
So far, the protests have been relatively peaceful, but there has been growing anger among ordinary Iraqis over the lack of progress on critical issues such as unemployment and corruption.
Mr. Sadr, a Shia cleric who wants to end US and Iranian influence over Iraq's internal affairs, claimed victory for his nationalist Saeroun movement.
The Sadrists, who control the city of Sadr City in Baghdad and several other Shia strongholds, now hold 44 seats in parliament.
In the outgoing legislature, they had only six seats.
Muqtada al-Sadr, a Shia cleric who wants to end US and Iranian influence over Iraq's internal affairs, claimed victory for his nationalist Saeroun movement. He said most of the 50 seats in parliament won by his movement were from seats reserved for minorities. The Sadrists, who control the city of Sadr City in Baghdad and several other Shia strongholds, now hold 44 seats in parliament. In the outgoing legislature, they had only six seats.
Wednesday's scenes served as a reminder of the multiple crises faced by Iraq.
The parliament rejected a proposal from Sadr to form a new government. Sadr's supporters had occupied the parliament building since last month, demanding that a member of Sadr's bloc be appointed speaker.
The scene was a reminder of the multiple crises faced by Iraq: the ongoing fight against ISIS, the struggle against corruption, and the question of who will lead Iraq after Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi steps down in May.
On Wednesday, the UN mission in Iraq said protesters had a right to demonstrate - as long as their actions remained peaceful and legal.
The UN had previously warned that violence could jeopardize the fragile truce between government and opposition forces.
The demonstrators are demanding more jobs and an end to corruption.
Iraqi lawmakers met for the first time since protests erupted against the government of the Prime Minister. A spokesman for the UN envoy called on both sides to live up to their obligations under a truce deal reached in February.
The meeting, which lasted less than an hour, yielded no consensus on how to move forward, according to lawmaker Mowaffak al-Rubaie.
The Government Response to the Attack
The Iraqi government has taken several measures to respond to the attack on Parliament in Baghdad. These measures include increased security at key locations, mobilizing forces to protect critical facilities, and releasing a statement condemning the attack.
The statement also calls for an immediate investigation into what happened and for those responsible for being held accountable. The Iraqi Prime Minister also ordered the formation of a committee to investigate the attack.
In addition, al-Sadr supporters stormed the parliament building in Baghdad. Al-Sadr has not yet commented on the situation.
The Iraqi government responded to the attack on parliament by Muqtada al-Sadr's supporters with a heavy police presence. Al-Sadr and his supporters have been protesting against corruption in the government for several months. The attack on parliament surprised many observers and could lead to increased violence across the country.
What is the current situation in Baghdad?
Protesters stormed the Iraqi parliament building, accusing the government of not doing enough to address their many grievances. The protesters are demanding an end to corruption and a stronger central government.
Since 2003, Iraq has been mired in a political and economic crisis. Although the country made significant strides in rebuilding after the war, many Iraqis continue to suffer from poverty and lack of essential services. According to the United Nations, over half of Iraqis live below the poverty line.
Although Muqtada al-Sadr has not ruled out working with the current government, he is also demanding more essential issues be addressed, such as job creation and increased investment in infrastructure.
What are the long-term implications for Iraq?
The Iraqi Prime Minister has declared victory over the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq, but the group's defeat does not mean the end of sectarian violence or political instability. The future of Iraq is now mainly in the hands of Muqtada al-Sadr and other powerful Shiite politicians.
Muqtada al-Sadr is a controversial figure who has repeatedly opposed Abadi and the central government. He has called for an independent Shiite state in Iraq and has repeatedly clashed with security forces. If Sadr and his allies want to maintain power, they must work with other political groups, build a strong military force, and keep the population united.
The long-term implications for Iraq are difficult to predict, but the country faces many challenges. Iraq is still struggling to rebuild after years of conflict, and its economy is weak. The government must address these problems if it wants to maintain public support.
What are the implications for oil prices?
The Iraqi Prime Minister has asked for a review of oil production levels in the country amid a price slide. According to the state news agency Iraqiya, he requested a meeting with ministers on Monday. The move comes as Iraqi security forces face challenges in battles against Islamic State militants, raising questions about how much time Baghdad has to reverse its recent decline in oil production. In January, Iraqi oil exports averaged 2.5 million barrels per day (BPD) but dropped to an average of 1.9 million BPD, according to data from the country’s petroleum ministry. That’s down from an average of 3.3 million BPD in December 2014 and below the level before Islamic State militants overran large parts of Iraq in summer 2014.
What are the repercussions for investors?
This could have significant consequences for Iraqi investors - who may now reconsider their plans to venture into the country.
As the Iraqi parliamentary election results start to trickle in, it appears that Muqtada al-Sadr, the influential Shia cleric and Sadrist political leader, has emerged as the clear winner. This raises several questions for investors - what does this mean for Iraq's future, and what are the potential repercussions for the country's economy?
The short answer is that we don't yet know. On the one hand, Sadr's victory could be seen as a sign of stability and legitimacy. After all, he is a well-known figure with a large constituency amongst Iraq's Shia population. This could lead to an increase in investment and economic growth, which is desperately needed given Iraq's ongoing economic crisis. Conversely, Sadr's win could also lead to increased instability and conflict, as his supporters will likely demand more significant political concessions from Baghdad. In either case, investors will need to pay close attention to events in Iraq over the next few months to get a better idea of what lies ahead.
If Sadrists boycott the elections, this would likely benefit Prime Minister kadhimi, who is unpopular among Sadrists.
Investors should be aware of these potential consequences when making decisions about investing in Iraq.
What are the chances of a civil war in Iraq?
Muqtada al-Sadr's supporters stormed parliament, forcing members to flee the building. The altercation followed weeks of protests by Sadrist supporters against what they see as corruption and nepotism by the governing coalition. Although parliament has been effectively closed since then, it is not clear whether the conflict will lead to a full-blown civil war.
The Iraqi army has primarily remained neutral in the conflict, while Iran and Russia have thrown their support behind Prime Minister kadhimi, exacerbating tensions within the country. If violence continues to escalate, Iraq may be headed for a full-blown civil war that could have far-reaching consequences for regional stability.
What are the consequences of the protests?
While it is too early to tell what the consequences of these protests will be, analysts say that there is a good chance that Muqtada al-Sadr's supporters will take control of the government. If this happens, it could mean a much more aggressive approach to U.S. policy in Iraq and a greater emphasis on Shiite interests at the expense of Sunni ones.
What is being done to quell the protests?
So far, what has been done to quell the protests? Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi has ordered his security forces to use "all necessary means" to restore order. Still, he has also promised a national dialogue on how to improve the country's economy. Maliki has also called for an emergency meeting of the Iraqi National Security Council, scheduled for Tuesday morning.
The Future of Iraq after the Storming of Parliament
The storming of parliament by supporters of Iraqi Muqtada al-Sadr has raised many questions about the future of Iraq. The most pressing question is whether or not Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki will be able to hold on to power. If he fails, then the question becomes who will take his place.
Others ask what Sadr's goals are and what consequences his supporters' actions may have. While Sadr has not made any statements, some believe he may be seeking to take control of the government. If he can do this, it could lead to increased sectarianism and tension in Iraq.
Whatever Sadr's ultimate goals, the storming of parliament have demonstrated just how volatile Iraq is at the moment. It remains to be seen what will happen next, but all eyes are on Baghdad now.
Supporters of Iraqi Shiite cleric and political figure Muqtada al-Sadr stormed the parliament building in Baghdad on Wednesday, clashing with security forces who used tear gas and water cannon to repel them. The move by Sadr's supporters is a significant escalation of tensions between him and Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, who has been trying to extend his tenure as premier amid widespread public dissatisfaction.
Supporters of Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr stormed Iraq's parliament building in an apparent show of force against Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, who they accuse of failing to deliver on key promises. Al Jazeera reports that the Sadrists, who are influential within the Shiite majority and have been protesting the minister's rule for weeks, entered the building through a side entrance after negotiations with security forces failed.