AT Iraq On Saturday, July 30, thousands of supporters of the leader of the Shiite paramilitary organization Mahdi Army, cleric and politician Muqtada al-Sadr, on Saturday, July 30, stormed the government’s “green zone” for the second time in a week and broke into the building of the country’s parliament, the Council of Representatives, located on its territory. They demand a government free of foreign influence and corruption.
The demonstrators, led by al-Sadr and his movement, tore down concrete barriers and threw stones. The police used tear gas. At least 125 people were injured, including protesters and police, according to authorities.
Muqtada al-Sadr continues to fight for power
Al-Sadr’s party won the Iraqi elections in October 2021. However, he withdrew his deputies from Parliament after he failed to form a government. He wanted to create an alliance against the Shia parties, most of which receive military and financial support. from Iran and have their own paramilitary groups. As a result, dozens of seats went to an alliance of Shia parties. For nearly a year, Iraq has been left without a president and prime minister as the situation has stalled.
In the struggle for power, al-Sadra’s movement wants to prevent its political opponents from the entourage of former head of government Nuri al-Maliki from forming a government. The 47-year-old religious leader’s rivals presented their candidate for prime minister almost ten months after parliamentary elections. However, from the point of view of al-Sadr, the former minister Mohammed Shiyah al-Sudani, who was nominated for this post, is too close to the ex-premier al-Maliki, who is at odds with al-Sadr. Moreover, al-Maliki and his alliance openly sympathize with neighboring Iran.
The acting prime minister called on the political camps to engage in dialogue, and the police and army units to protect government offices but avoid using force against demonstrators.
Al-Sadr, who is also accused of corruption by his opponents, has a lot of power. His supporters hold influential positions in ministries and state institutions in Iraq. The country has huge oil reserves, but suffers from frequent power outages, low levels of education and health care, and high unemployment, especially among young people.