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memri
January 14, 2020 No.
8496

After Meeting In Iran, Shi'ite Militia Leaders And Cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr Call For One Million Man March To End U.S. Military Presence

On January 14, 2020, Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr posted a statement[1] to his Twitter account calling for a mass demonstration to end the U.S. military presence in Iraq. The statement comes one day after his meeting with leaders of armed factions in the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) in Qom, Iran, where those present agreed on a unified position regarding their new roles following the deaths of Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis.[2]

In his statement, Al-Sadr says that "the sky, land and soverignity of Iraq is being violated by the invading forces, so let us rise with an Iraqi revolution, not eastern nor western [not associated with Iran nor the U.S.], that will bring victory and blessings to Iraq, and its people."

Al-Sadr further says that Iraqis should join his call and peacefully march in a "one-million man" march that condemns the U.S. presence in Iraq and defends their country and the highest authority of the Shi'a, referring to Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani.

"Soldiers of Allah, soldiers of Iraq, let us have a peaceful demonstration (of one million man) that denounces the U.S. presence and its violations. Make up your mind and do not spare any efforts, Iraq and Marjayia [Highest Authority of the Shi'a] are calling upon you, so do not fall short."

He reiterates that Iraqis "will not kneel to the power of the international arrogance [the U.S. and its western allies], we shall only kneel to Allah."

He closes by noting that there will be further parliamentary and political steps taken to ensure and maintain the dignity of the Iraqi people and the sovereignty of their country.

Hadi Al-Amiri, the new deputy commander of the PMU, and commander of the Badr Organization, was the first one to issue a statement[3] endorsing Al-Sadr's call, telling Iraqis "to reject the U.S. and foreign occupation and maintain Iraq's sovereignty over its land and skies."

Akram Al-Kaabi, Secretary-General of the Al-Nujaba Movement in Iraq, also voiced his support in a statement[4] that he tweeted, in which he calls upon "our proud people to refuse the humiliation and submission, and to forcefully rise to the slogan 'No to the U.S. presence.'"

The Secretary-General of the Imam Ali Brigades, Shibl Al-Zaidi, commented on Al-Sadr's call in a statement,[5] saying that the U.S. is to blame for all the hardships in Iraq: "The occupation brought a blockade, the occupation divided the country and laid the foundations for quotas, the occupation brought destruction and death squads, bombing, and displacement, the occupation dissolved the Iraqi state and ended its ministries and local industrial institutions, the occupation slayed the national identity by planting sectarian and ethnic representation in all the branches of the state, the occupation targeted and marginalized our competencies, the occupation is the cause of all woes and tragedies, the occupation does not want good for us."

Within the same context, the leader of the Asa'ib Ahl Al-Haq, Qais Khazali, called for rejecting the U.S. presence in Iraq, further calling for a "national" stance that sends a message to the whole world: "The people of Iraq refuse to be humiliated, they refuse occupation and aggression."[6]

Abu Dua'a Al-Issawi, the military advisor to the Sadrist Movement, commented on Al-Sadr call by saying: "Stay tuned for an epic written by the brave sons of Iraq, all of their sects, to denounce the violation of their country's sovereignty, and to demand the dismissal of the vicious occupying forces from the land of sacredness."[7]

 

[1] Twitter.com/Mu_AlSadr/status/1217083534432768001,January 14, 2020.

[3] Nasnews.com, January 14, 2020.

[4] Twitter.com/Akram_Alkabee/status/1217103332470378496, January 14, 2020.

[5] Twitter.com/alzaidyshibl/status/1217120171107717122, January 14, 2020.

[6] Nasnews.com, January 14, 2020.

[7] Twitter.com/AleysawiD/status/1217108799447883777, January 14, 2020.