Sadr calls for ‘million-man march’ against US presence in Iraq

Iraq‘s populist Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadrhas referred to as for a “million-man march” against the presence ofUnited States troops in Iraq lawful days after the country’s parliament voted to expel foreign troops from Iraq.

“The skies, land and sovereignty of Iraq are being violated each and every day by occupying forces,” Sadr, who also leads the Sairoon political bloc, wrote on Twitter.

He told Iraqis to preserve “1,000,000-man, tranquil, unified demonstration to sentence the American presence and its violations”, without specifying a date or plot for the march.


On January 5, Iraq’s parliament passed aoption that referred to as on the manager to expel foreign troops and execute its quiz for assistance from the US-led coalition that had been working with Baghdad to fight theIslamic Sayof Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) neighborhood.

Spherical 5,000 US troops are left in Iraq – most of them squaddies who came to Iraq in an advisory skill to wait on the Iran-backed Standard Mobilisation Forces (PMF, or Hashd al-Shaabi), an umbrella neighborhood of mostly Iran-backed Shia paramilitary groups,from 2014 to 2017 of their fight against ISIL.

The parliament vote came after US air strikes killed Iran’s Authorized Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi paramilitary commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis lawful outside Baghdad World Airport in a switch ordered by US President Donald Trump.

Sadr condemned parliament’s option as a “outdated response”, asserting the switch fell short of an acceptable response to present trends in Iraq and calling on armed groups in Iraq to unite.

In a letter to parliament learn out by a supporter at the time, Sadr listed loads of demands, including the instantaneous cancellation of the safety settlement with the US, closure of the US embassy, expulsion of US troops in a “humiliating system”, and the criminalisation of communication with the US executive.

On Monday, Sadr held a meeting with leaders of several armed groups in the end of the PMF within the Iranian city of Qom.

The meeting was also attended by Kataib Hezbollah, the Iraqi armed neighborhood whose 25 warring parties had been killed when the US launched air strikes against it on December 30, 2019,in accordance to the killing of a US civilian contractor two days earlier.

It also incorporated Asaib Ahl al-Haq, the Shia armed neighborhood led by Qais al-Khazali, who was blacklisted by the US over his alleged feature in killings of demonstrators in Iraq.

Nasser al-Shammari, deputy secretary-in vogue of the Hezbollah al-Naujabaa Brigades, one other neighborhood that attended the meeting in Qom, mentioned in an announcement that discussions revolved round the introduction of a “united resistance” and ways to dislodge US and varied foreign troops from Iraq. 

‘To all Iraqis’

Commenting on the option, Amir al-Kanani, a pacesetter in the end of the Sadrist Motion, which was primarily based by Sadr, mentioned the proposed march objectives to push the manager in direction of taking a short action following the parliament vote.

“After the parliament voted to expel foreign troops, a timeline for them to switch must be jam,” Kanani told Al Jazeera. “The demand a march is aimed at all Iraqis in discuss in self assurance to fetch bigger the pressure on the Iraqi executive.

In step with Kanani and a media representative in the end of the PMF, the march can be held this Friday, nonetheless principal parts of the demonstration are but to be confirmed.

“Coordination committees for the duration of Iraq can be liable for finalising when and where the march can be held,” mentioned Kanani. “It would also be lawful in Baghdad or for the duration of several predominant cities.”

Shia groups’ make stronger

Mohamed Mohi, spokesman for Kataib Hezbollah, confirmed with Al Jazeera that the neighborhood supported Sadr’s calls, adding that the march could well perhaps be held in Baghdad’s Tahrir Sq. due its “symbolic significance”.

Also adding one other train to the option, Jawad al-Talabawi, spokesman for Asaib Ahl al-Haq armed neighborhood, told Al Jazeera that the neighborhood march objectives to speak collectively all Iraqis to sentence US presence in Iraq. 

Naeem al-Aboudi, a member of the Sadiqoon parliamentary bloc, the political arm of Asaib Ahl al-Haq, referred to as on Iraqis to “unite” and be part of the march,writing on Twitter.

Akram al-Kaabi, leader Hezballah al-Naujabaa Brigades, supported Sadr’s calls.

“That is in make stronger of the million-man march which Sayid Muqtada al-Sadr has referred to as for. We name on our of us, who reject humiliation and subjugation, to spend share [in the march] raising the moto ‘No to US presence’, and standing united under the Iraqi flag,” Kaabi wrote on Twitter.

Protesters reject name

Nonetheless in Baghdad’s Tahrir Sq., the hub of the articulate movement within the capital, demonstrators rejected Sadr’s calls on Tuesday, asserting they want escalating tensions between Iran and the US to be moved in a foreign country.

“We reject these calls [for the march] in consequence of they set up no longer occupy anything else to lift out with our demands,” a 20-year-dilapidated college pupil, Jaber al-Khalili, told Al Jazeera from the protests’ roundabout.

“We’re no longer alive to on Sadr’s calls or these of any varied political leader. We make a choice them [political leaders] all gone.”

Ali Khraybit, a 27-year-dilapidated filmmaker and protester, agreed.

“This name is bid to supporters and member of the Shia armed and political groups. These calls set up no longer occupy anything else to lift out with our demands as protesters,” mentioned Khraybit.

“The Sadrists among us could well perhaps most definitely be part of the march, nonetheless the articulate movement as a whole will no longer. We lawful make a choice Iran and the US to spend their fight some distance from right here [Iraq],” he added.

Protests in Baghdad and in Iraq’s primarily Shia south occupy endured since last October to quiz a whole overhaul of the political system, which demonstrators stumble on as rotten, sectarian and denying Iraqis their in vogue rights.

For the reason that present escalations between the US and Iran, the articulate movement has been adamant about staying some distance from tensions unfolding on Iraqi soil, with present chants calling for Iraq to be spared from the battle between Iran and the US.  

Iraq has been in political deadlock since the resignation of embattled Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi in November and since parliamentary blocs are unable to agree on a candidate to produce a new executive.

No longer no longer as much as 470 of us had been killed and 20,000 injured in a heavy-handed crackdown on protesters by security forces.

Activists and journalists occupy also been focused, with many reporting a campaign of intimidation, abductions and killings.

With further reporting by Abdallah al-Salam in Baghdad

‘Sustain your battle away’: Iraqis revive protests amid US-Iran stress

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