Iraq is somewhat sectarian. Sure, they can get Shia out there but not many Sunnis or Kurds.
If they think the US soldiers are going anywhere I’ve got ocean front property in Arizona to sell.
Al Sadr probably can’t get a million people together unless he pays them, which he might do, with Iranian money. He is a total agent of Iran, and hid out there until Obama withdrew from Iraq. Then he came back and reinvigorated his followers among the poor of Baghdad.
There is at least one division among the Shia as well. Al Sadr has a big following among the poor of Baghdad. Ayatollah Al Sistani has a big following in the remainder of the country. They have actually fought each other. The Sistani Shia are more oriented toward peace with the Sunni and the West, and are wary of Iranian influence.
Al-Arabiya, (UAE source) and Tahrir means the big plaza or square where all of the protests have been going on Baghdad and unbelievably, maybe upwards to 600 protesters killed:
Fresh from the march, one attendee said it had been against any foreign interference. “None of us want anyone to come in and interfere with Iraqi concerns, whether Iran or America or Turkey,” said Walid, a teacher with a grey beard and an Iraqi flag stuck into his camouflage baseball cap.
For protesters in Tahrir, however, the morning march was too closely tied to America’s regional foe, Iran, which has been for some years increasing its influence in Iraq. Sadr himself visited Shia groups in Iran earlier this month to discuss the withdrawal of US forces, while the event was backed by pro-Iran factions such as the Popular Mobilization Units, a group of militia backed to varying degrees by Tehran.
The truth is some want any foreign influence out, another truth is many want the US to stay as things are volatile.
I haven’t heard anything about Moqtada al Sadr in years. Is he still a high-ranking cleric?
Yes, I didn’t keep up with the news that closely in the 2000s so I don’t know his history that well.
But this article says his “faction” backed out of the protests:
I’ve read articles over the past 5 years where he tried to play “peacemaker” or was at least, more amiable to the US.
But I know, back in the day, one of the big magazines like TIME or Newsweek seemed weary of him.
My information has been different. He is widely regarded as an agent of Iran with a following largely confined to the Shia poor of Baghdad. Among the Shia he is chiefly opposed by Ayatollah Al Sistani who really does seem to be a peacemaker. Now and then they clash openly, as when the Sadr faction took over the “Golden Mosque” in Iraq with armed militia. Sistani promised he would go there himself and be killed if it came to that, whereupon Sadr backed away.
The Sunni and Kurds are also opposed to Sadr. He only rules in a sizeable segment of Baghdad itself.
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