The withdrawal of Shia cleric Al-Sadr from politics leaves a dozen dead in Baghdad

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The military imposes a curfew in Iraq after supporters of the influential leader seized the presidential palace

The announcement this Monday by Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr of his “definitive withdrawal” from Iraqi politics and the closure of all institutions affiliated with the “sadrist movement” has sparked a bloodbath in Baghdad. At least a dozen supporters of the influential leader have been killed by riot police and at least 270 injured after dozens of supporters took over the presidential palace and several thousand, shouting “Muqtada, Muqtada!” shouted, demonstrated in the fortified Green Zone. , which houses government offices and embassies.

Medical sources consulted by AFP confirmed the victims’ balance, while the US and UN have sent messages to escalate tensions that would blow up the country’s fragile political system. It’s not without reason that Iraq has been locked in an institutional blockade since the October 2021 parliamentary elections, with Al-Sadr’s formation receiving the most votes but not enough support to rule.

Awaiting further deterioration of the situation, the military imposed a curfew in Iraq last night, particularly targeting Baghdad, which has been turned into a powder keg for weeks after Al-Sadr killed hundreds of thousands of relatives, even going so far as to pass Parliament twice. to demand the dissolution of the chamber and the calling of new elections. On Saturday, however, the cleric changed his speech by assuring that it was “more important” that “all parties and figures who have been part of the political process” since the US-led invasion in 2003 “stop participating”.

Given the serious violence unleashed in Baghdad as a result of Al-Sadr’s announcement, the United Nations Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) has pointed out that “the very existence of the state is at stake” and that ” Iraqis cannot be held hostage by an unpredictable situation and unsustainable,” for which he urged the cooperation of all parties. At the same time, White House spokesman John Kirby called the outbreak of tensions “disturbing”. “We urge the stakeholders to remain calm, refrain from this violence and seek peaceful solutions,” he said.

Source: La Verdad

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