Muqtada al-Sadr

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Iraq Protesters Storm Green Zone

Al-Sadr followers pulled down walls, entered parliament

(Newser) - Hundreds of protesters climbed over the blast walls surrounding Baghdad's highly-fortified Green Zone for the first time on Saturday and stormed into parliament, carrying Iraqi flags and chanting against the government. The breach marked a major escalation in the country's political crisis following months of anti-government protests, sit-ins,... More »

Can ISIS Be Stopped?

Militants have taken four towns in two days

(Newser) - Officials in Baghdad are increasingly worried that the Iraqi Army is simply incapable of standing up to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which is both better armed and better trained, diplomats and politicians tell the BBC . And the militants provided plenty of evidence for that as their campaign... More »

Maliki's Party Wins Iraq Election

But will need to form a coalition to govern

(Newser) - A coalition led by Iraq's Shiite prime minister has emerged as the biggest winner in parliamentary elections, paving the way for him to try to form the country's next government. The Independent High Electoral Commission today released results of the election, the first since the US military withdrawal... More »

Al-Sadr Exits Politics; What It Means for Iraq

Powerful Shiite cleric cites family's reputation in explanation

(Newser) - One of the most powerful figures in Iraq is leaving politics, and not quietly. On Sunday, Muqtada al-Sadr announced online that he was closing "all offices and libraries in all religious, social, and political fields" in a bid to protect his family's reputation, reports the Christian Science Monitor... More »

Al-Sadr Militia Releases US Hostage Held in Iraq

Randy Michaels appears on TV in military uniform

(Newser) - An Iraqi militia linked to Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr released a former US soldier today after keeping him prisoner for nine months, Reuters reports. Identified as Randy Michaels, the American appeared on television in a US military uniform without insignia, alongside two lawmakers from al-Sadr's movement. Speaking briefly... More »

14 Iraqi Youths Killed for Wearing Emo Clothes

Shiite militants promise more will die unless they change

(Newser) - At least 14 youths in Baghdad have been stoned or beaten to death in the past month for the crime of dressing like teenagers, reports Reuters . Specifically, they favored emo-syle black clothes and haircuts, which the nation's interior ministry branded as "Satanism" just before the killings began. Apparently,... More »

Al-Sadr Tells Iraqi Militias to Stop Attacking US Troops

Because he wants troops to leave Iraq on time

(Newser) - Radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has ordered his followers to stop attacking US troops—to make sure they get out of Iraq on time. “Out of my desire to complete Iraq’s independence … I am obliged to halt military operations of the honest Iraqi resistance until the withdrawal... More »

Biden in Iraq to Talk Troop Withdrawal

Sadr faction wants them out on schedule in December

(Newser) - Joe Biden arrived in Iraq for a one-day visit today, and the top topic for discussion, behind closed doors anyway, was expected to be the US’ December troop withdrawal deadline, an official tells the AP . In front of closed doors, Biden merely reiterated the US' friendship with Iraq. “The... More »

Muqtada al-Sadr: We Reject America

Cleric gives fiery speech after ending 4-year exile

(Newser) - Muqtada al-Sadr returned to Iraq Thursday after a four-year exile, and his first speech back made it clear that absence hadn't made the Shiite cleric's heart grow fonder of the US. "Let the whole world hear that we reject America. No, no to the occupier," the fiery 37-year-old... More »

Muqtada al-Sadr Returns to Iraq

Anti-American cleric's political influence rising

(Newser) - Muqtada al-Sadr—the radical Shiite cleric whose militia was involved in some of the bloodiest battles of the Iraq war—returned to Iraq today, after almost four years of self-imposed exile in Iran. Sadr finds himself with newfound political influence, after throwing his party’s weight behind Nouri al-Maliki, and... More »

Iraqi PM: US Troops Must Get Out by End of 2011

Maliki vows new government won't team up with Iran

(Newser) - US troops must stand by the plan to depart Iraq at the end of 2011, Iraq's PM tells the Wall Street Journal in a lengthy interview. Despite wide expectations that nine months of post-election turmoil would extend the US presence, “the last American soldier will leave Iraq” as scheduled,... More »

In Secret Talks, Iran Forged Deal for Pro-Tehran Iraq

It brokered the coalition between Nouri Al-Maliki, Muqtada al-Sadr

(Newser) - Iran was behind the recently struck deal between Nouri al-Maliki and Muqtada al-Sadr, and the result could be an Iraqi government friendly to Tehran and distanced from the West, the Guardian reports. According to the paper's sources, Syria, Hezbollah, and top Shia religious leaders were involved with a secret campaign... More »

Anti-US Cleric Pushes for New Iraqi Government

Al-Sadr meets with Maliki's main rival

(Newser) - Muqtada al-Sadr took a rare step into Iraq’s political fray yesterday, meeting with Ayad Allawi in Syria to discuss the formation of a new Iraqi government. Allawi leads the Iraqiya coalition, one of two major factions vying for control of Iraq’s parliament. Sadr is nominally aligned with the... More »

Wave of Bombings Kills 61 in Iraq

Shiites, Muqtada al-Sadr's office targeted

(Newser) - Bombs exploded throughout Baghdad today, targeting Shiite mosques and neighborhoods, including the office of anti-US cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. A neighborhood in Anbar province was also hit with six roadside bombs. At least 61 people have been killed and nearly 112 wounded, CNN reports. More »

Iraq Elections Revive Anti-US Sadr Party

Followers of radical cleric poised to challenge Maliki

(Newser) - As Iraq sorts out the messy results of last week's elections, an unexpected winner is coming to light: The populist party of anti-American cleric Moktada al-Sadr, long since given up for dead, suddenly emerged as the second largest Shiite block, and its strong performance is sure to shake up the... More »

US Freed Iraqi Insurgent for Brit Hostage

Iranian involvement suspected in Moore's abduction

(Newser) - Yesterday's release of British hostage Peter Moore two years after he was kidnapped in Iraq was secured by the transfer of an Iraqi Shia insurgent leader with strong ties to Iran. Qais al-Khazali—suspected of planning an attack that killed five US soldiers—has been shifted from US to Iraqi... More »

Iraq Militias Kill Gays With Impunity

Government's unwillingness to protect gays points to a bleak future for all Iraqis

(Newser) - Iraq's militias have switched from slaughtering rivals to killing men they suspect of being homosexuals, and the Iraqi government is turning a blind eye, Rasha Moumneh writes in Foreign Policy. Gay men have been kidnapped, tortured, and murdered in rising numbers since the start of this year, but not a... More »

Iraqi Shiites Ditch Maliki in New Coalition

Group favors a government more closely allied with Iran

(Newser) - Iraq’s major Shiite parties have formed a new coalition without Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki or his Dawa Party, they announced today. That means that unless Maliki finds new allies, he will likely lose his job following the January elections. If the new coalition wins a majority, he’ll be... More »

Why Iraq Bombs Aren't Sparking Civil War

(Newser) - Iraq was rocked by two deadly, possibly destabilizing bombings this weekend, but the proof is in the reprisals, Larry Kaplow writes in Newsweek—and there were none. “Iraq today is a different place than it was when ethnic conflict threatened to engulf the country in 2006,” Kaplow continues.... More »

Iraq Protesters Burn US Flag During Biden Visit

Supporters of Muqtada al-Sadr mock veep's reconciliation tour

(Newser) - Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to promote reconciliation among Iraqis was met today with protests by supporters of cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, Reuters reports. Demonstrators burned American flags and shouted anti-US slogans. Biden plans to meet with PM Nouri al-Maliki and President Jalal Talabani to assess plans to heal the... More »

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