Muqtada al-Sadr Returns From Exile

Muqtada al-Sadr is back in Iraq.

Muqtada al-Sadr Returns From Exile Photo Radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr prays in the holy Shiite city of Kufa 160 kilometers (100 miles) south of Baghdad on Friday, May 25, 2007. Al-Sadr appeared in public for the first time in months on Friday, delivering a fiery anti-American sermon to thousands of followers and demanding U.S. troops leave Iraq. (AP Photo/Alaa al-Marjani) Radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr appeared in public for the first time in months on Friday, delivering a fiery anti-American sermon to thousands of followers and demanding U.S. troops leave
Iraq.

It was not immediately clear why he chose to return now to his base in the Shiite holy city of Najaf from
Iran. His speech had new nationalist overtones, calling on Sunnis to join with him in the fight against the U.S. presence. He also criticized the government’s inability to provide reliable services to its people.

Al-Sadr’s reappearance, four months after he went underground at the start of the U.S.-led Baghdad security crackdown, came just hours before his Mahdi Army militia lost its top commander in the southern city of Basra in a gunbattle with British soldiers, Iraqi police said.

The 33-year-old al-Sadr is believed to be honing plans to consolidate political gains and foster ties with Iran — and possibly trying to take advantage of the absence of a major rival, Supreme Islamic Council of Iraq leader Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, who was recently diagnosed with lung cancer and went to Iran for treatment.

Whatever his reasons, it’s unlikely to be good news.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Jim Henley says:

    Do we have any proof that Sadr was ever out of Iraq?

  2. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Henley, don’t you know Sadr does not even exist. He is someone Bush made up. Since the left does not accept any intel that goes against what preconceived notions they have to fit into their political agenda. Why bother even asking that question? Wouldn’t Muqtada look better with a hole made from the impact of a .50 cal BMG round centered just above and right between his eyes? I still question why anyone would doubt Sadr’s presence in Iran and his return. Does it have to be printed in the NY Times for anyone to see what is going on? He returned to foment trouble at the behest of the Iranians to assist the Democrats in this country in their attempt to cede Iraq to radical Islam. What some people won’t do for political power.

  3. Jim Henley says:

    So you got nothin’. That’s cool. These things are hard.

    Does anyone actually have any proof?

  4. Vigilante says:

    I rather think that Gordon Johnroe has his finger on something. I think that the Persians and the Shi’ia are our natural allies against the Salafi Jihadis and al-Qaeda. The enemy of my enemy can be my friend if I but converse with him. The potential is there.