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article imageShia cleric Al-Sadr asks pro-Iranian militias to 'stand down'

By Ken Hanly     Jan 9, 2020 in Politics
Moqtada al-Sadr the influential Iraqi Shia cleric who heads the largest bloc in parliament on Wednesday issued a statement asking all Shi'ite militias to stand down as the US and Iran work at lessening tensions.
Al-Sadr's statement
Reuters reports al-Sadr's statement: “I call on the Iraqi factions to be deliberate, patient, and not to start military actions, and to shut down the extremist voices of some rogue elements until all political, parliamentary and international methods have been exhausted." Al-Sadr also called for a new stronger Iraqi government that could protect Iraq's sovereignty.
The Iran-supported Kata'ib Hezbollah (KH) also said that passions must be avoided in order to achieve the goal of expelling US troops from Iraq according to a statement to its followers.
Sadr and others want to expel US troops from Iraq
Sadr still expressed support from ejecting all foreign troops including those of the US from Iran but advised patience and the use of political, parliamentary, and international means to force the US to withdraw.
Iran's position
Iran's Supreme Leader
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the missile attack was merely a slap in the face to Washington and claimed it was not sufficient saying:“Military action like this is not sufficient. What is important is ending the corrupting presence of America in the region. This region will not accept the presence of America." While military action may have stopped for now, no doubt political action to try and force US troops to leave will no doubt continue perhaps even more forcefully.
Some of Trump's remarks after the Iranian attack are on the appended video.
Sadr identifies himself as a nationalist
Although Sadr has long been an opponent of the US and used his Mahdi army to fight US troops in Iraq he also has objected to excessive Iranian meddling in Iraq. He wants to avoid Iraq being a battlefield between the US and Iran. He would like to see a strong sovereign independent Iraq. He sees pro-Iranian militias as possibly increasing tensions by attacks and making Iraq a battle ground for the Iran US conflict. He sees reduced tensions as a positive development for Iraq.
More about Moqtada alsadr, Iraq, Iraq war
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