Saudi, Iran should leave Iraq out of disputes, respect sovereignty: Sadr
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Prominent Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr on Monday called on Saudi Arabia and Iran to resolve disputes away from Iraq, and respect the country’s sovereignty.
“This is a call from me to the two dear neighbours (the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) and (the Islamic Republic) to solve their problems and to get Iraq out of this conflict and not to interfere in its affairs, especially as Iraq is on the verge of elections, which is an internal affair,” Sadr tweeted.
Sadr, who also heads the Sairoon Alliance, the largest bloc in Iraq’s parliament, said that Iraq should maintain balanced relations with both states.
“Iraq has a characteristic that is different from all other countries. In Iraq, two dominant characteristics are combined (Arabism) and (Shiism)….I see today that Iraq is able to be a link between the two parties, with its full independence and sovereignty,” he said.
His tweets come just days after hardliner Ebrahim Raisi was elected the next president of Iran. In his tweets, Sadr said he hopes the president-elect’s appointment will not stoke political and sectarian conflict in the region.
“The arrival of (Mr. Raisi) to power in the republic should not reward the region with extremism and escalation of conflict,” he said.
The cleric also called on both the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF or Hashd al-Shaabi in Arabic) and the Kurdish Peshmerga forces to adopt “patriotic orientations” as official members of the Iraqi armed forces.
“They are currently among the Iraqi security formations, meaning that they are obligated to everything we said above, especially in terms of respecting Iraq’s sovereignty, unity, and the prestige of the state.”
The PMF was formed in 2014 upon a fatwa, or religious order, from Iraq’s top Shiite authority to fight the Islamic State (ISIS). Iran-backed factions of the PMF are widely accused of killing and threatening Iraqi activists, as well as attacking Iraqi military bases hosting American troops.