Protesters break through Green Zone wall again in Baghdad
Iraqi security forces have opened fire on protesters who have broken into the heavily-fortified Green Zone in Baghdad. The thousands of protesters were angry at the government's inability to approve corruption reforms.
|Many of the protesters were followers of Muqtada al-Sadr, who has been spearheading attempts to force the Iraqi government to approve a cabinet of technocrats and jettison the system of dividing jobs and positions among different parties and sectarian groups. Sadr did not specifically call for the demonstrations. There were other groups as well, equally angry with the situation. The security forces used not only tear gas but apparently live fire with dozens of people reportedly injured and one death that has not been confirmed as yet. The protesters were able to enter at least one government building. The Zone houses the Iraqi parliament, government buildings, and many foreign embassies, including the giant U.S. embassy. The protesters withdrew from the Zone to Tahrir square but according to witnesses an Interior Ministry Force and unidentified gunmen opened fire there. The Zone had been stormed earlier at the end of April. The protesters had entered parliament and other government buildings.|
".. Iraqi politicians, with their corruption, nepotism, patronage networks and Mafia-like ways, still seem to think that politicking and jockeying over who has what ministry so that they may further their own economic interests is more important than attending to the crisis afflicting the country that they were installed – I mean “elected” – to serve. One is then left to wonder just how overblown the IS threat has become."
The sad thing is that, in the past few months, terrorist leaders responsible for death squads that committed some of the worst sectarian atrocities in Iraq are now being painted as heroes of democracy and Iraqi social plurality. Of course, here we are discussing Moqtada al-Sadr, scion of the Sadr family of Shia clerics, leader of the Mahdi Army terrorist organisation and of their now rebranded Peace Brigades.I have always understood al-Sadr as a nationalist who wants to ensure that Sunnis can be part of the federal government to ensure Iraq is not divided. But Abdulrazaq claims that al-Sadr is simply trying to gain more power. Although Abdulrazaq admits the corruption in Iraq he says nothing specifically about the plan to have a cabinet of technocrats. It is not clear how such a plan increases al-Sadr's power and as Abdularzaq notes some of al-Sadr's colleagues are criticizing him, surely because it would hurt their own power. While others may be using the crisis to help force the few remaining token Sunni's from power, this hardly seems to be al-Sadr's aim. The whole article seems slanted very much against Iran and is pro-Sunni. He blames much on the Americans:
If the international community is serious about solving the Syrian crisis, they need to atone for the original sin that is Iraq, and how it was handed over to sectarian fanatics covered in the shroud of a false democracy.He does not say exactly how the international community can atone for its sins but obviously it is not by having a cabinet of technocrats as al-Sadr suggests, I presume.
On 25 April 2007 al-Sadr condemned the construction of Azamiyah wall around a Sunni neighbourhood in Baghdad, by calling for demonstrations against the plan as a sign of "the evil will" of American "occupiers" On 25 May 2007 al-Sadr delivered a sermon to an estimated 6,000 followers in Kufa. Sadr reiterated his condemnation of the United States' occupation of Iraq and demanded the withdrawal of foreign forces, al-Sadr's speech also contained calls for unity between Sunni and Shi'a. In June 2007, al-Sadr vowed to go ahead with a planned march to the devastated Askariyya shrine in central Iraq, al-Sadr said the march was aimed at bringing Shi'is and Sunnis closer together and breaking down the barriers imposed by the Americans and Sunni religious extremists.These actions show that al-Sadr was trying to break down barriers between Sunni and Shia not taking advantage of them for his own purposes.