The Antichrist Wants to Be Iraq’s Ayatollah Khomeini

A crowd of men protesting hold flags and a large portrait of Sadr.
A crowd of men protesting hold flags and a large portrait of Sadr.

Muqtada al-Sadr Wants to Be Iraq’s Ayatollah Khomeini

Despite the Shiite cleric’s apparent efforts against Iranian influence in Iraq, his chief inspiration is Iran’s founder and most famous supreme leader.

August 5, 2022, 2:43 PM

In recent months, Iraqi populist Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has gone from the forefront of efforts to formulate a government in Iraq to leading the country toward what he calls a “revolution.” Sadr’s supporters are now protesting in and occupying Iraq’s parliamentary building and the International (Green) Zone of Baghdad, catapulting Iraq’s government formation process into chaos.

After the success of his Sairoon (“Moving Forward”) alliance bloc in October 2021’s parliamentary elections, Sadr appeared to shake up Iraqi politics by forming a government that excluded his Iranian-backed opponents from power. As the leader of the bloc with the largest number of seats, Sadr rejected the formula for consensus-based power-sharing governments that has been the norm since former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was toppled in 2003.

Instead, Sadr formed a tripartite “Save the Homeland” alliance with the largest Kurdish party, Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), as well as parliamentary speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi’s Sovereignty Alliance, a Sunni political bloc—thereby cementing a majority in Iraq’s parliament. The alliance was then tasked with forming Iraq’s government.

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