The leader of the Sadrist movement, Muqtada al-Sadr, emphasized Tuesday his holding to his decision to retire from political work and stressed that he will take part in the upcoming Parliamentary elections and will vote for those who are respectable among the politicians. He also called upon all the people of Iraq to take part in the elections, describing those who abstain from elections as “traitors.”
Muqtada al-Sadr said in a televised statement addressed to the Iraqi people and followed by Al-Mada Press, “Those decisions or orders which I have issued and not held up, may God forgive me and you, but I will be proud of them until the Day of Judgment because I have attempted to have all of them inspired or derived from the policy of the two martyrs and their thought and their morals, and I will not deviate from that, for they are my masters and my leaders: by them I am entrusted and against their enemies I contend.”
Al-Sadr added, “Society in general has become far from remembrance of God Almighty and so I have distanced myself from it however I may, and I beseech the believers to be in remembrance of God and obedient to him, that God may have forgiveness upon us and upon you and that the opening of the gates of his mercy may be the gate of truth’s arrival and the truth may prevail and not be prevailed upon,” calling everyone to “participation in these elections and in a great fashion so that the government will not fall into untrustworthy and deceitful hands, God forbid.”
Al-Sadr emphasized, “As for me, I will vote and I will cast my ballot that life will remain to all those noble people who want to serve the people, and I will stand with everyone in one direction, so I beseech the Iraqis to participate in these elections and not to abstain, and whoever does abstain, this will be treachery to Iraq and her people,” pointing out that “there are politicians who go about serving the Iraqi people sincerely and faithfully, and who would turn everything around if allowed, and they have become many, God willing, but I single out for mention and thanks the two brothers, the governor of Amara Ali Doai and the governor of Baghdad Ali Tamimi, may God content them with the goodness of benefactors that they may continue and complete their service to their people.”
In the beginning of his speech, al-Sadr attacked the head of government Nouri al-Maliki because of his policies in administration of the country and described him as a “dictator,” while he criticized the work of the Iraqi Council of Representatives and its inability to pass laws, emphasizing that Iraq is ruled by “a troop that came from beyond the borders.”
This is not the first time the leader of the Sadrist movement, Muqtada al-Sadr, attacked Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki; the latest was December 22, 2013, when he warned that “threats” by the head of the council of ministers Nouri al-Maliki to “the Western protests” were an attempt to settle sectarian scores with Sunnis and put off the date for elections, while he emphasized that ISIS is an “American terrorist organization” that does not represent “Sunnis,” denouncing the killing of an Iraqi army leader in Anbar, and confirming his standing with the Iraqi army in defending Iraq’s land.
Saturday, February 15th, 2014, the leader of the Sadrist movement, Muqtada al-Sadr, announced the closing of the movement’s offices at all levels and the disallowing of anyone to represent it or speak in its name “in any way” in addition to “non-interference” in political matters. While he accredited this to “preserving the reputation of the noble al-Sadr family,” he emphasized that no bloc or office “still represents it,” be they within the government or Parliament.
Al-Sadr announced Monday, February 17th, “the appointment of four rotating imams” for central Friday prayers in Kufa and Sadr City, while he laid the condition that their sermons be “united in religious morals to further the common good and the needs of society,” stressing the necessity “that they distance themselves from all that is harmful and return to it.”
The United for Reform Coalition (Mutahidoun), led by the head of the Council of Representatives Usama al-Nujayfi, expressed Monday, February 17th, their regret at the decision of the leader of the Sadrist movement, Muqtada al-Sadr, to retire from politics, and emphasized that he has been a supporter in their political operations, while pointing out that the State of Law Coalition is the one beneficiary of this decision and calling on al-Sadr to “retract the decision to retire and raise up the clear voice of truth.”
The General Secretary of the Ahrar Coalition announced Sunday, February 16th, that the coalition will hold a meeting Monday in Najaf to discuss al-Sadr’s statement of retiring from political work, while calling for “all parties to wait for what will come out of the meeting.”
Eleven representatives of the Ahrar Coalition announced Sunday, February 16th, their withdrawal from political work and the submission of their resignation from membership in the Council of Representatives and their not running in the upcoming Parliamentary elections out of solidarity with the retirement of the leader of the Sadrist movement, Muqatada al-Sadr, from political work.
This is not the first time that al-Sadr has announced his retirement from political life, as a similar event took place in early August 2013 because of “what happened and what continues to happen” from supposed members of the Sadrist movement, who bore arms in clashes with Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq in the capital Baghdad despite knowing that al-Sadr had “frozen” the Mahdi Army long ago.