SULAIMANI – Iraqi Shia political leader Moqtada al-Sadr on Monday (December 11) called on the Shia militias, including his own, to lay down and return their weapons to the state after the defeat of the Islamic State (ISIS) militant group.
In a videotaped speech broadcast on Iraq television, Sadr also called on his forces from Saraya al-Salam, or Peace Brigades, to withdraw from the Iraqi territories that they control.
Sadr also urged most of Saraya al-Salam offices to be shut and directed his armed forces to suspend their military actions in those areas.
While speaking he discussed the unorganized armed forces within Hashid al-Shaabi and warned his listeners of them.
Moreover, he cautioned against the participation of any party under the banner of the Hashid al-Shaabi in the country’s upcoming elections.
“No leader from Hashid al-Shaabi must run in the upcoming elections and the name of Hashid al-Shaabi must be prevented in the electoral process,” he said.
The Iraqi government has decided to hold parliamentary and provincial elections on May next year.
Prime Minister Al Abadi has also spoken out strongly that military leaders will not be allowed to run in the upcoming elections.
The last election took place in April 2014 when the State of Law alliance of former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki won most of the votes but fell short of an overall majority.
Maliki ceded power to Abadi that August amid political gridlock as Islamic State group jihadists entered and occupied vast regions of Iraq.