Muqtada al-Sadr, an influential Shia cleric in Iraq, gestures during a press conference in Baghdad, Iraq. (Photo: Archive)
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – An influential Shia cleric in Iraq on Wednesday issued a severe warning to any party trying to bring the former Iraqi regime’s Ba’ath Party back on the political scene during the upcoming elections in May.
Muqtada al-Sadr, the leader of the Sadrist Movement in Iraq, said it was “shameful to be afraid of the return of the Ba’ath Party in the upcoming elections,” sending a warning to any group who attempts to do that.
The Ba’ath Party ruled Iraq for over three decades before being overthrown by an international coalition led by the United States in 2003. The party and its affiliates were later banned from returning to politics in the country.
The party, led by former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, was responsible for horrific crimes against the minority population in Iraq, mainly the Kurds in the north.
During his rule, Hussein and his party were accused of war crimes, ethnic cleansing, genocide, and widespread violations of human rights in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region.
“If they come back, we will not have mercy on them,” Sadr affirmed.
Earlier this week, a former Iraqi minister, Baqir Jabr al-Zubeidi, claimed the current US administration under President Donald Trump was seeking to bring the Ba’ath Party to power in Iraq.
“The Trump administration has replaced the Obama administration’s strategy with an alternative plan based on the return of the [Ba’ath Party] to power through the elections,” Zubeidi wrote on Facebook.
Neither the US embassy in Baghdad nor any US State Department official was available for comment regarding the former Iraqi minister’s claim.
Iraq plans to hold general elections on May 12, marking the country’s fourth elections since the fall of the totalitarian regime under the Ba’ath rule.