Footsteps of the civil war in Iraq

Ayatollah Sistani said that ‘the bloodshed is prohibited in the months of Muharram and Safar’ and that ‘the days when the serf is approaching should be mourned’. This indicates that new tensions may arise after the twentieth day of Safar (September 16, 2022), the day of erbain.

Sadr Movement became the first party in the 329-seat parliament, winning 73 seats in the October 2021 elections. Despite this, despite the support of the Sunni Sovereignty Coalition and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), the formation of the government was not possible due to the attitude of the other internal parties. In the name of breaking the hearth, Muqtada Sadr channeled politics from the parliament to the street by demanding the resignation of the deputies. Within this equation, the internal coordination framework, located opposite Sadr, became the actor who was expected to form the government and strengthened numerically with the substitute deputies after Sadr’s resignations. However, Sadr’s desire to design politics over the street made the legislative power incapable of power with the sit-in action in the Iraqi Parliament and interrupted the process of forming a government. In this direction, the Sadr Movement made new attempts to steer politics. However, in accordance with the ‘reform’ statement he put forward, he made tactical retreats on the fact that the demonstrations in the streets led to the use of violence.

pressure on politics

Within this equation, Sadr demanded the dissolution of the Iraqi Parliament and an early election. However, Sadr declared that his movement would not participate in the elections. Despite this, it is possible to say what Sadr was against an administration without Sadr. Because Sadr participated in the elections even though he announced that he was withdrawing from politics even before the 2021 elections. Therefore, Sadr’s statements about his withdrawal from politics increase the pressure on politics. On the other hand, the explanations that Sadr did not want to participate in the early elections that he wanted to be made can be read in this direction.

Both the Sadr Movement, which increased its effectiveness in the streets, and the internal coordination framework, which strengthened in parliamentary politics, could not push the other to consent on the way to their goals. This situation, on the other hand, has created a dynamic in which a new survey will emerge in the country. Despite the fact that the process was escalated with mutual explanations, the ‘first spark’ of the fire that would arise was caused by the withdrawal of Ayatollah Kazm Hseyni al-Hayri from his duty as an authority. Although Ayatollah al-Hayri was expected to pass over the Najaf basin to me after Ayatollah Muhammad Bakr Sadr, he did not fully undertake this task because he lived in Qom. However, it was accepted as an imitation authority by Sadr. Within this equation, Ayatollah Hayri supported Sadr’s invasion of the USA with his fatwas during the process of resisting the invasion of the United States with the Mahdi Army militia group. Therefore, Ayatollah Hayri formed the basis of the Sadr Movement’s legitimacy in the religious field. With the removal of Ayatollah Hayri from ‘authority’, it served to remove the legitimacy of the Sadr Movement in the religious field.

Tips in the letter

At this stage, it would be useful to look at the letter of Ayatollah Hayri, which he published while he was leaving his duty, in order to better understand the escalation of the new tensions in Iraq. Because there are many clues in the letter. Ayatollah Hayri, in his statement, asked his followers to follow Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and supported the actors close to Iran with a position of Sadrism directly. On the other hand, it was stated that Muqtada Sadr did not represent this lineage by referring to Muhammed Bakr Sadr and Muhammed Muhammed Sadk Sadr as ‘sons of the two Sadr’, and in honor of Hadi aabi, “We ask all believers to confirm the holy Hadi aabi as an independent power”. I recommend it. Come on, let’s strike together with other armed forces against those who want to target the security of the country.” In addition to the part that Khamenei wanted to be followed, support was given directly to the position of the Internal Coordination Framework.

Upon this, an explanation was also made by Sadr and it was said that Ayatollah Hayri’s explanation was published against ‘his own will’. In addition, Sadr said, “Sadr’s leadership is a gift from Allah and a blessing of Muhammad Bakr Sadr.” By using his expressions, he stated that the religious legitimacy area was protected. On the other hand, Sadr, in the last part of his statement, stated that all institutions were closed except for the shrine and a few cultural institutions belonging to his family, and he retired from politics.

Face-to-face meeting between Iraqi affairs

This tension between the Sadr Movement and the framework of internal coordination has witnessed a new peak on 29 August 2022. After Sadr’s ‘withdrawal from politics’ statement to increase the pressure on his rivals, his support entered the Presidential Palace. On top of that, both the Sadr Movement and the Internal Coordination framework tried to establish hegemony over the other with the presence on the street. In the midst of the tension in the streets, the Iraqi security forces prevented the Sadr supporters in the Green Zone from their moves towards the support of the internal coordination framework on the other side of the suspension bridge, which allowed the number of people who lost their lives to remain limited. On the other hand, Sadr’s supporters are also targeting institutions in the Green Zone, such as the Babakanlık, and are in the process of dissolving the parliament.

However, the new tensions that started in Badat quickly escalated, especially in the southern provinces where Iraqi workers lived heavily, and in provinces such as Basra, Najaf and Nasriye. The loss of life in demonstrations in both Badat and other provinces creates a suitable ground for the emergence of new tensions in special days such as the seventh and 40th of these losses. These losses will also accelerate the search for revenge in the country with the new tension dynamics it creates.

Within this equation, the former Iraqi father, Nuri al-Maliki, targeted the politicians in the country, and Maliki’s house was targeted during the hours when the sectarian sound recordings were leaked and the demonstrations in support of Sadr. This shows that the vendetta, which was revealed in 2008 by Maliki, caused the Mahdi Army to lose its position, with the valiant Offensive Operation launched against the Mahdi Army under the leadership of Sadrîn during his fatherhood period, continued with the pursuit of revenge. Therefore, it can be said that new tensions will pave the way for new search for revenge in the country and may cause the level of tension to increase in a spiral.

Where is the country going?

The tensions between the Sadr Movement and the Internal Coordination Framework that reached the level of escalation in the region calmed down with Sadr’s instructions to his supporters to ‘return to their homes’ and in some regions such as Basra, the fighting continued with low intensity. On this day of Sadr, the intervention of Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the largest religious authority in Iraq, was effective as it was reflected in the Iraqi public opinion. In his statement, Ayatollah Sistani stated that ‘bloodshed was prohibited in the months of Muharram and Safar’ and that ‘mourning in the coming days of serfdom’ should be continued. In this context, Safer refers to the days when new tensions may arise after the twentieth day of the same month, the day of erbain (16 September 2022). In addition, even if the disclosure is not necessary, it can be said to be effective due to its dissemination in the public. On the other hand, it can be interpreted that the problems in the country are postponed rather than solved. Tensions can also be expected to persist at varying intensities.

Although one of the reconciliation issues in this equation is ‘going to early elections’, the election system and other details add to the possible problems between the parties. In addition, if the electoral districts are maintained beyond the electoral system, the boundaries of these regions will cause controversy. On the other hand, beyond these discussions, it remains unclear on which method the early election mechanism will start. Because the Sadr Movement applied to the Iraqi Federal High Court for the dissolution of the parliament, and although the court session is awaiting a decision, the internal coordination framework is seeking a solution in the parliament, which cannot hold a session. Despite all this, the effect of a possible early election on the solution of the problems is open to discussion.

On the other hand, these tensions accelerate the collapse of the ‘work house’ in Iraq. It can even be said that the Sadr Movement is irrevocably separated from other groups. However, due to Sadr’s position, the actors within the framework of internal coordination seem to be closer to each other in order to maintain the balance. The gathering of Ammar al-Hakim, Hadi al-Amiri, Kays al-Hazali and Maliki at the funeral of an Iraqi security force member who lost his life in the shooting shows this situation.

On the other hand, this polarization will increase the pressure on the government. The failure of Adil Abdlmehdi, who tried to maintain the balance between the groups in the previous period, plunged the country into many new crises. Based on this example, it seems likely that Kazmi will encounter similar problems. Kazmi’s statement that he can leave his seat vacant by resigning from his father’s duty, which he carried out with the title of ‘temporary’, may cause gaps in the administration in the country.

Amid all these uncertainties, the position of Ayatollah Sistani, who has the most enforcement power over the ‘work house’, may emerge as a determining dynamic. It is seen that Ayatollah Sistani refrained from taking a clear position despite the rumors that he ‘supported Sadr albeit by remaining silent’ before the attacks. For this reason, it can be said that even if the ‘fight’ between the Sadr Movement and the internal coordination framework will not end in the equation in which Ayatollah Sistani will likely declare his position, it will create a new problem that has been postponed to the future of Iraq. For this reason, it can be interpreted that Iraq will approach a savannah in the future.


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