Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr called for today's protest last Saturday:
Muqtada Al-Sadr has called for "million man march" on Friday in Tahrir Square central #Baghdad, Sadr will attend to give "important" speech.
His power to turn out a crowd remains -- visual evidence of the power he continues to hold in Iraq.
He's never held elected office.
He's never been part of the Cabinet.
The power is internal based solely upon Moqtada himself.
There were times, during the first years of the war, when his power ebbed and flowed.
But the US government always played the wrong hand and would attack or insult him leading supporters to rally around him yet again.
As Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki couldn't command a crowd that size.
As former prime minister, Nouri's lucky to turn out 25 or so people when he visits their towns -- and some of those boo and throw things.
Who is the leader in Iraq?
Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani is one.
Moqtada al-Sadr is another.
Smoking a cigarette on top of one of #Baghdad bridges and thought about this.
Please note, Moqtada also has a huge amount of supporters in Basra as well.
Anadolu Agency reports:
In an address delivered to tens of thousands of supporters in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, al-Sadr said he had received numerous death threats -- he did not say by whom -- due to his loud and frequent calls for government reform.
“Continue on the path of revolution and reform… even in the event of my death,” he asserted, while urging followers to keep their protests peaceful.
“If Iraq’s official election commission and electoral law remain as they are, we will be forced to boycott the polls,” he declared.
He writes about the protests that erupted in 2014 -- except they didn't.
Those protests erupted near the end of 2012, picked up steam in 2013 and were eventually stopped by Nouri al-Maliki.
Facts, he leaves out of his AP report.
But the his AP report also manages to mention changes -- undefined -- that Moqtada wants to a 'committee' (unnamed.)
The title of the body is the Independent High Electoral Commission.
Dropping back to February 4, 2017:
Hundreds of Iraqis did useful things yesterday including the hundred who rallied in Baghdad's Tahrir Square. ALSUMARIA reports they rallied to call for reforms in the government (corruption) and reforms in the election law and the Independent High Electoral Commission. ALSUMARIA reports hundred also protested in Karbala with the same demands.
To the February 8th snapshot:
Due to the protest, ALSUMARIA reports, the Election Commission has closed shop and gone home for the day to avoid "friction" with the protesters.
And ALSUMARIA is reporting that the protest has started with thousands turning out to demand changes in the electoral commission and in the voting law.
ALL IRAQ NEWS carries the above photo in their report on today's protest in Baghdad.
Not only has Moqtada been protesting this for some time, UNAMI's also expressed concerns.
It's day 158 of The Mosul Slog -- and how's that working out?
Their lives seem to have no worth.
Dozens killed, buried in rubble after Mosul air raid - Iraqi officials, residents http://reut.rs/2nItbM9
Oh, silly, idiot Elise of CNN, it is a slog.
It always was.
It's also a tragedy.
"People in West #Mosul are trapped in the situation of penury & panic." Our representative in Iraq explains the latest developments
Yesterday, we noted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's comments explaining the US military would not be leaving Iraq even if the Islamic State was defeated. Jordan Shilton covers it for WSWS:
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson declared Washington’s intention to keep troops deployed more or less indefinitely in the territories now occupied by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria in remarks delivered at the beginning of a two-day meeting of the US-organized anti-ISIS coalition in Washington.
“The military power of the coalition will remain where this fraudulent caliphate has existed in order to set the conditions for a full recovery from the tyranny of ISIS,” he told an audience that included Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. He gave no indication of when, if ever, US troops could be withdrawn from a war zone extending across Iraq and Syria, where there has been fighting of greater or lesser intensity throughout the 14 years since the US first invaded Iraq.
Tillerson also called for the establishment of “interim zones of stability” in Syria to which refugees from the US-instigated civil war that has raged throughout that country for the past six years could be forcibly returned. Areas will be deemed “safe” if they have been initially cleared of ISIS, an absurdly low standard given the deadly conflicts which continue to rage between different factions in the Syrian civil war.
At some point, we'll get around to Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford's comments this week that the US military will be in Iraq for "years to come."
The following community sites -- plus Cindy Sheehan -- updated: