Iraq News - Local News - Baghdadpost

Al-Sadr turns against Iraqi demonstrations

Populist cleric Moqtada Al Sadr has turned against the Iraqi uprising, withdrawing protection to demonstrators and strengthening a government crackdown to crush the protest movement.

The uprising, which is demanding the removal of the entire political class, has undermined the influence of Iran, Mr Al Sadr’s patron.

In the last three days attacks by security forces and Iranian backed militia who overran protest centres in Baghdad and other cities in the south killed at least 17 civilians and wounded 250, civil activists and Iraq’s High Commission for Human Rights said.

The attacks came after Al Sadr said on Friday he would no longer interfere in the protest movement.

Pro-Sadr militiamen, who had provided limited protection to the demonstrators, particularly in Baghdad and Basra, withdrew from the streets.

The demonstrations had also denounced what many Iraqis regard as Iranian tutelage, in contrast to the narrative of Al Sadr and other pro-Iranian politicians, who blame Iraq’s ills on the US.