Saturday, February 15, 2014

Moqtada retires (again)

Moqtada al-Sadr is a cleric and movement leader in Iraq.  Today he is in the news for a surprising development.  As Iraq prepares for April 30th parliamentary elections, Moqtada is apparently announcing his retirement.

Alsumaria reports he released a statement Saturday evening announcing he was closing all of his offices and retiring from all thigns political.  Kitabat also reports the surprise development.

If true, this would not be Moqtada's first attempt to step away from politics.  Not even his first attempt recently.

Last August, he announced he was stepping away from politics.  Shortly after, he changed his mind.  From the September 12th snapshot:

Turning to Iraqi politics, Kitabat reports cleric and movement Moqtada al-Sadr has finished trips to Lebanon and Jordan and paid his respects to his late father at the Najaf shrine and is now ready to re-enter political life.  Moqtada has surprised many by announcing he was stepping away from politics.  Iraqiya leader Ayad Allawi publicly called for Moqtada to return to politics.  Allawi's sentiments were echoed by Iraqis of all sects, not just Shi'ite members of Moqtada's movement.  In a statement issued today, Moqtada acknowledged those calls and announces he will heed them.

Some felt the move was a stunt and said so in real time.  Whether it was a stunt or not (it felt like a real announcement and decision to me when he announced he was walking away from politics), the move underscores how important Moqtada has become to Iraqi politics and how he could command respect in the role of prime minister.  Because of the stances he has taken in the last three years, Moqtada the politician is seen as fighting for the interests of Iraq.  That's a huge shift from the early years of the war when Moqtada was seen by many Iraqis as only interested in Shi'ites (and only in fundamental ones at that).

What is interesting, if the reports are true, is the timing.

Yesterday's snapshot noted Nouri has prepared warrants out for various political rivals.

Moqtada's announcement in August followed Nouri declaring Moqtada was responsible for the violence.

Don't expect the western outlets to point out that.  They overlooked it the first time around and none of them are reporting on Moqtada's announcement as I type this.

Nouri has a long history of attempting to railroad his political rivals.  BBC News reports on one today, Iraq's Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi:

The former vice president of Iraq has blamed Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for the country's crisis.
Iraq has seen a wave of violence in Anbar province, where Sunni militants have fought security force in Falluja and Ramadi since late December.
In an interview with the BBC, Tariq al-Hashemi said Anbar's tribes could stop the militants, as they did in 2008.

He also claimed Sunni Arabs had resorted to violence because peaceful demonstrations had been ignored.

He's not the former Vice President.

Only Parliament can strip him of his office and they have refused to do so.

You can correctly call him the exiled vice president or something similar but he is not Iraq's former Vice President and to claim that he is acknowledges your own stupidity or your struggle with the truth.

Through yesterday, Iraq Body Count counts 400 violent deaths so far this month.


National Iraqi News Agency reports a suicide tanker bombing in al-Hadhar (south of Mosul) which claimed the life of the bomber and the lives of 2 civilians and left two police members injured, an al-Mousl al-Jadeeda home invasion left University of Tal Afar professor Ommar Younis dead, 3 police officers in al-Shura were shot dead after which their heads were cut off, a Baghdad sticky bombing left 1 attorney dead, 2 Sadr City bombings left three people injured, an eastern Baghdad roadside bombing (al-Obeidi district) left four people injured, an eastern Baghdad (Zayouna district) bombing left one police member injured, a Zab roadside bombing killed 1 Sahwa, and Nouri's military's continued shelling of residential areas in Falluja left 3 civilians dead and four more injured.  All Iraq News notes a Tikrit home invasion left a woman and her husband dead and a Tikrit bombing left 3 Sahwa dead and a fourth injured.

The following community sites updated today:

  • Plus Kat's "Again on the sell out Dylan" which isn't showing up on the links.