Muqtada al-Sadr

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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...

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...

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....

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...

52 Dead in Baghdad Blast
 52 Dead in 
 Baghdad Blast 

52 Dead in Baghdad Blast

(Newser) - An explosion ripped through a market in Baghdad’s Sadr City today killing 52 and injuring 104, Reuters reports. Though Iraq has seen markedly less violence in the past year, today’s bombing is part of a wave of attacks ahead of the US military’s scheduled withdrawal from Iraqi...

Maliki Charts Post-Sectarian Politics in Iraq
Maliki Charts Post-Sectarian Politics in Iraq

Maliki Charts Post-Sectarian Politics in Iraq

Shiite PM teams with secular Sunnis and even militant cleric

(Newser) - The Shiite party of PM Nouri al-Maliki has allied itself with Sunni political figures and even Moqtada al-Sadr, a major departure from earlier politics that followed ethnic and sectarian lines. writes Anthony Shadid in the Washington Post. All support a strong central government and advocate a united Iraq over a...

Maliki's Allies Win Big in Provincial Vote

Maliki's party wins 38% of Baghdad vote, 37% in Basra

(Newser) - Allies of Iraq's prime minister finished first in races for ruling councils in Baghdad and eight other provinces, official results from last weekend's election show. Nouri al-Maliki's party won 38% of the vote in Baghdad, the election commission said. His party was followed by allies of anti-US cleric Muqtada al-Sadr...

Al-Sadr Urges 'Revenge' Attacks Against US for Gaza

Cleric tells militia to hit American targets in Iraq

(Newser) - The anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has urged radical Shi’ite militants to strike American targets in Iraq as retaliation for US support of Israeli’s attack on Gaza, the Times of London reports. Al-Sadr also called on nations with Israeli consulates to close those missions in solidarity with Palestine. A...

Iraq OKs US Troops for 3 More Years

Pact gives Iraqis more oversight over American presence

(Newser) - Iraq's parliament today passed a security pact with the US that lets American troops stay in the country for 3 more years. The ruling coalition's Shiite and Kurdish blocs as well as the largest Sunni Arab bloc backed the "yes" vote, the AP reports. The parliament speaker said an...

Sewage Soaks Baghdad Slum
 Sewage Soaks Baghdad Slum 

Sewage Soaks Baghdad Slum

Infrastructure remains sub-standard in much of Iraq

(Newser) - Residents of the Sadr City slum of Baghdad have come to accept raw sewage, bubbling to the surface from broken pipes, as a part of daily life, Bloomberg reports. And Sadr City is hardly an oddity—despite 6 years and billions of American dollars, much of Iraq still lacks reliable...

10,000 Iraqis Protest Troop Deal

Hang Bush in effigy

(Newser) - More than 10,000 Muqtada al-Sadr supporters gathered in Baghdad today to protest the US-Iraqi security pact that would keep troops in the country for another 3 years. The protesters hanged an effigy of President Bush from the same plinth Saddam Hussein’s statue was once toppled from by US...

Fisticuffs Over Security Deal End Session of Iraqi Parliament

Sadr ally allegedly shoves speaker

(Newser) - Discussion of the security deal between the US and Iraq deteriorated into a shouting match between members of the Iraqi parliament today, the New York Times reports. Parliament is scheduled to vote on the measure next week, but could not get through a reading of the agreement today before an...

Al-Sadr Decries US Pact at Rally
 Al-Sadr Decries US Pact at Rally

Al-Sadr Decries US Pact at Rally

Tens of thousands gather in protest

(Newser) - Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr today called on Iraq's parliament to reject a US-Iraqi security pact as tens of thousands of his followers rallied in Baghdad against the deal. "The Iraqi government has abandoned its duty before God and its people," Sadr said through a spokesman. "I am...

Leaving Iraq, Petraeus Sees Gains as Fragile

Violence is down, but 'it's not durable yet,' says general

(Newser) - David Petraeus is leaving Iraq after 18 months, and by all measures the country is far safer than when he arrived. The "surge" of 30,000 extra American soldiers was bolstered by major domestic developments, from the Muqtada al-Sadr ceasefire to the rise of Sunni awakening councils. But in...

Sadr Offers to Trade Militia for Set Timetable

Already disbanding Mahdi Army, cleric wants firm US deal

(Newser) - Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr ordered most of his Mahdi Army to disband today, and offered to completely dismantle it once the US agrees to a withdrawal timetable, Time reports. “The main reason for the armed resistance is the American military presence,” said a Sadr spokesman. “If the...

Sadr to Forge Peaceful Corps from Shiite Army

Mahdi militants said to shift focus to civil service, stabilizing Iraq

(Newser) - Anti-American Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr is shifting his political clout away from militancy, and will disarm his Shiite Mahdi Army in favor of non-violent civic and social endeavors, the Wall Street Journal reports. Hoping to increase stability in Iraq, the organization will take on projects involving education, religion, and social...

Militia Power Wanes as Iraqi Government Gains

Shiite Mahdi Army's extortion and violence alienate residents

(Newser) - The sway of a key Iraqi militia has declined significantly and it's losing control of its Baghdad strongholds to the government, the New York Times reports. Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army once controlled politics and police in areas throughout the city, but supporters became disenchanted by its violence...

Sadr City Rebounds After Ceasefire
Sadr City Rebounds After Ceasefire

Sadr City Rebounds After Ceasefire

Trade blooms, rebuilding begins, but suspicions remain

(Newser) - The turnaround in Sadr City in the last two months has been dramatic—abandoned dusty lots are now markets stocked with piles of produce and teeming with shoppers; storefronts display suits, purses, shoes, and cosmetics, Time reports. The ceasefire between Iraqi PM al-Maliki and radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has been...

Sadr Cultivates Respect, Image to Reflect Power

Militia chief moves toward mainstream, hones clerical chops

(Newser) - Muqtada al-Sadr aims to shed his reputation as a dim-witted thug and become a respected Iraqi cleric like his father, the Washington Post reports, and has even spent the past year studying in Iran. Sadr, then nicknamed "Muqtada Atari" for his love of video games, was 25 when the...

Iraqi Army Rolls Into Sadr City
 Iraqi Army Rolls Into Sadr City 

Iraqi Army Rolls Into Sadr City

No bloodshed so far in peaceful takeover

(Newser) - Roughly 10,000 Iraqi troops peacefully marched deep into Sadr City today, the Baghdad ghetto that’s long been a stronghold for Muqtada al Sadr’s Mahdi Army. The incursion was part of a deal negotiated with Sadr last week, which allowed for inspections so long as the US wasn't...

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