‘Both the one who dies and the one who kills are in the fire’

The sentence that extinguished the fire in the Green Zone, the mark of the American occupation in Baghdad, in 60 minutes; “The one who dies and the one who kills are one in the fire.” He came from Sadr. His correction came later: “The one who dies (with a gun in his hand) and the one who kills are one, they are in the fire.”

Iraq would cry less if the children of the fertile lands lamented the living as much as they mourned the dead. As at the source of the two rivers, both the dead are blessed and the slain in its arms. He who does not bless is also cursed. Actually, that’s the real curse. Those who cannot find a way to make living together possible by talking, listening, digesting and reconciling, what can they bless but war and blood?

Iraq is on the brink of death, each time he gives his three or five children to the rope, he somehow turns away from the rope. This is not just the sectarian system that the occupation puts on a straitjacket or the inability to rule caused by regional and global actors, especially Iran and the USA, turning Iraq into a stage of reckoning. It’s also a cultural crisis.

Due to the conflict between the Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr and the Coordination Framework, which brings together rival Shiite parties, the country has not been able to form a government since the October 2021 election.

After long showdowns, on 29-30 August, when Sadr announced that he was quitting politics, his supporters stormed the Green Zone and clashes broke out; A new one has been added to the ominous pages of Iraq with 23 dead and 700 injured. You can now read at length Sadr portraits in publications.

Sadr combined the venerable legacy left by the ayatollahs in Saddam’s murdered family with his unpredictable style, placing himself at the cornerstone of the political equation. Since 2003, with his incredible debuts and draws, he made us think that it was politically over. He came back stronger.
As of 2019, he has puffed up his sails with the accumulated anger against the corrupt parties. It bought the backlash against foreign intervention. He placed the emphasis on Iraqiness at the center of his political line. There is a nationalist vein that rejects foreign interventions among the Iraqis, who are stuck with the occupation, the sectarian wars, the plundering of the new rulers, the small Saddams after Saddam, the rise of Al Qaeda and ISIS. The combination of these discourses with the religious word and robe of a mullah created a momentum suitable for the leaven of the soil. For this, Sadr also has a family capital. His father-in-law, Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir al-Sadr and his father, Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Sadiq al-Sadr, are religious leaders who lost their lives resisting persecution before leaving Iraq. While the line on which Sadr dances highlights Arab Shiism against Persian Shiism, and the Najaf basin against Qom as a school, it also brings a ‘religious nationalism’ to Iraq-centered politics. Iraqiness turns into an answer to the chronic dilemmas and problems of the new Iraq.

In this climate, Sadr won the October 2021 election with 73 deputies.

The majority wanted to form a government; For this reason, he gave the presidency of the KDP from the Kurdish side and the chairman of the parliament to Muhammed al-Halbusi from the Sunni wing. The Coordination Framework, which also includes Iran-backed groups, blocked the way for presidential and prime ministerial elections by activating the judiciary. Ultimately, Sadr had his deputies resigned to force early elections. But the staunchest were replaced by the second-ranked candidates, and the Coordinating Front took the parliamentary majority with 40 additional seats. When the other party insisted on forming a government, Sadr had the assembly occupied. He also did not respond to calls for national dialogue. Iran’s reconciliation efforts have yielded no results.
Basically, it is necessary to emphasize a couple of points:
After establishing a majority government, Sadr can strike a blow to the dominant political parties and the militias that give them power. Its plots in bureaucracy, military and economic fields can be destroyed. This fear is the most important factor underlying the fight.

– Iran attributes the issue to the goal of keeping the ‘resistance axis’ intact. That’s why he sees a unilateral Shiite will to disband Hashd al-Shaabi and weaken Shiite gains as dangerous. This is the external framework of the crisis.
– It is possible to connect two of the five groups on the front rivaling Sadr directly to Iran, but it may be necessary to explain Nuri Maliki’s preferences with his own ambitions, which deserves the analogy of ‘little Saddam’. The other two groups are mid passengers. So the Shiite house is not monolithic.

It was leaked to the whisper newspaper that there were plans to destroy the Sadr Movement with military force if there was no compromise, but that there were inconsistencies between Iran’s different institutions, and that these plans were shown to Sadr with the expectation of income. In the face of this situation, Sadr gave 72 hours to all parties and presented a proposal that foresees the dissolution of all parties and militia forces, including the Sadr Movement and the Saraya Selam militia affiliated with it, the dissolution of the parliament and the holding of early elections with a new page. At the end of the time, a stone came from an unexpected place.

Grand Ayatollah Kazım el Hairi, the spiritual leader of the Sadr Movement, resigned from his office on 29 August due to health and old age, and called on his followers to be loyal to the Iranian religious leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Considering that the majority of Hairi’s followers, who were born in Karbala and live in Iran, are at the base of the Sadr Movement, this can be considered a move to pull the carpet under Sadr.

While the Najaf basin does not accept Iran’s political and religious tutelage (velayet-i faqih), the direction given by Hairi cannot be considered far from the current political showdown. This attitude can be seen as a golden shot to Sadr’s political line.

Sadr, who has been continuing his education under the guidance of Grand Ayatollah Cafer Sobhani from Tabriz since 2014, does not yet have the qualifications to declare that he is an authority. The motive behind her taking a break from politics a few times was to complete her religious education and come to the point where she could inherit the legacy that her father had taken from Bakir al Sadr and left to Hairi.
Sadr responded to the Hairi maneuver, which he believed to be of Iranian origin, with a more radical maneuver. Sadr announced that he left politics completely and decided to close the military, political and economic institutions of the Sadr Movement. In addition, it was forbidden to carry out activities on behalf of the movement, to shout slogans, to use flags and to make statements. The occupation of the Green Zone began uncontrollably upon these decisions. But on August 30, Sadr’s intervention, which made his supporters return home by saying, “The one who dies and the one who kills, is in the fire” showed that it is impossible to say goodbye to politics in Iraqi politics. This also revealed other things:
– Sadr put an end to the bloody process in 60 minutes, showing that his influence on his audience continues and even grows.
– Even though he had his deputies resigned, he proved that he could topple the table without being in the parliament.
– With his maneuvers, he showed what would not happen in Iraq…
Alright what now?
Since Sadr left politics, the Coordination Front was in the mood to convene the parliament, form the new government, rewrite the election law (if necessary) and go to the polls. This is an orientation that ensures the continuation of the status quo in Sadr’s absence. In the parliament where there is no Sadr Movement, the regulation in the election law will be against Sadr. Against this, if Sadr returns to the Green Zone, he can return. President Berhem Salih says that early elections are the only way out. Participants in Kazimi’s national dialogue meeting had come to this point. But many political wings say the result will be the same if the system does not change.
Apart from the Coordination Framework, Kurds and Sunnis may not be willing to change the system in order not to lose the advantages of the existing sharing system. The idea of ​​ballot boxes is prominent, but there is also a division over whether to go to the elections with a new government or with Kazimi. The country is on the brink of civil war, as the new government has not yet been formed.
Can Iran and the United States bring quarrels together through implicit agreements, as they used to?
If the nuclear deal is signed and the environment softens, sworn enemies can put Iraq back on track to ensure their own interests. But let us remind you that the line represented by Sadr rose in the wave of objections to American and Iranian influence. Iraq’s Arab neighbors can also play a facilitating role as they end the diplomatic isolation and begin to establish contacts with Shiite channels. Turkey is currently an undesirable actor in Baghdad. But kneading Sunni dough may be difficult.

Of course, since Iraq is going on a journey to hell, their scenarios are heated like temcit rice. In the 1990s, Turgut Özal had dreams of “let’s finish off Saddam, turn Mosul and Kirkuk, and return to the National Pact”. Following the First Gulf War, the no-fly zone took Kurdistan on a new journey under the auspices of the USA. Özal’s dream was also lost. After 2003, when the Kurdistan Regional Government gained a constitutional framework, the Kurds returned to Baghdad. It was a political architecture that sent those who wrote the script to the disintegration scenario into the opposite corner. The US still wants the Kurds in Baghdad, as it cannot establish its Iraqi policy without the Kurdish card. When the Sunni rebellion broke out during the years of occupation, this time in the Sunni Triangle, “Sunnistan” under the auspices of Turkey, a “Shiistan” under the control of Iran in the south, and jinn-minded people who divided Iraq into three as Kurdistan in the north under the auspices of the USA emerged. ISIS has reunited the Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish sides of hell. Now Erdogan is after calculations to turn the northern strip of Syria and Iraq with a 30 km deep bumper. Naturally, the following question comes to mind: If the scenario of dismembering Iraq comes into play, will Özal’s dreams of Mosul-Kirkuk work in Erdogan’s dreams?
Let’s get straight to the point without getting too excited: this is not what the US wants. This is not what Iran wants. There is another Iranian in Iraq who has the power to turn the country back from the gates of hell: Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the biggest imitator of the Najaf basin. He made several vital touches for the unity of Iraq. And Sistani has not yet spoken.

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