The Caliphate Under the Antichrist (Revelation 13)

https://i2.wp.com/andrewtheprophet.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/mehdi_army.jpgFrom the Mahdi state to the Caliphate state!
Al Arabiya
The peoples of the East generally believe in inherited legends which, over time, turn into an unreliable part of faith. The idea of the Caliphate state which was promoted by the Muslim Brotherhood is a set of inherited mythical fantasies that claim that the Prophet (PBUH) promised the Muslims a Caliphate state which will unite the Muslim world under the same flag.
Naturally, this Hadith is challenged by many and is not proven by the authorities and scholars. In fact, the caliphate state is an idea which emerged after the death of the Prophet, and it is improbable that he had recommended it. However, the mixing of some of the Hadiths with fixed historical facts has created a kind of sanctity in the contemporary Islamic mindset.
The caliphate state, which they say will materialize at the end of time, is the basis of most of the Muslim political movements. At the forefront of these movements is the Muslim Brotherhood.
Sowing destruction
Among those who adopted this mythical idea is also ISIS, which shed the blood of many people, sowed destruction in countries and displaced people for the sake of the Caliphate state. In the end, all its efforts failed. They based their entire war and propaganda on a Hadith attributed to the Prophet which promised the emergence of this state at the end of time. In fact, it is believed that this state will conquer (Rome) in Europe, as is repeatedly vowed by its advocates.
By the way, when Juhayman occupied the Grand Mosque, and pledged allegiance to the person who claimed to be the Mahdi under the Kaaba, he also believed in the heritage of another newly inherited prophesy that predicts that when the Mahdi emerges at the end of time, all the Muslims in the Haram will pledge allegiance to him. Consequently, an army will come from the north to fight his supporters.
The defeat of ISIS and the idea of the state of the Caliphate, which some claim will emerge as strong as the Caliphate state in the beginning of Islamic history, requires us to purify our heritage from these myths that are not based on logical context as much as on the logic of miracles.
The story describes how the soil would crack and swallow the army and that the Mahdi and his supporters would conquer all. Yet, the truth was something else, something that is far away from myths and legends.
The question that we should urgently ask within this context is whether the fall of the so-called Caliphate State, along with the horrendous fall of ISIS, would fortify the Islamic mind and keep it from accepting these inherited heritage legends, which invade the law of logical causality under the pretext of the sanctity of the Prophet and make the miraculous supernatural somehow believable.
The defeat of ISIS and the idea of the state of the Caliphate, which some claim will emerge as strong as the Caliphate state in the beginning of Islamic history, requires us to purify our heritage from these myths that are not based on logical context as much as on the logic of miracles.
Just like the Juhayman incident and the myth of the Mahdi cost us human and psychological losses at the beginning of the current Hajri century, history is repeating itself. The same idea of the mythical state of the Caliphate cost the whole world human and material losses, which can be seen on the ground. In the end, it turns out that states are not based on desires or metaphysical reasons, but on rational reasons justified by reality, not by the cosmic law and miracles.
Hence, young people must realize that they were taken for fools. Indeed, some of the inherited heritage texts are only a form of rational abuse and myths.
This article is also available in Arabic.
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Mohammed Al Shaikh is a Saudi writer with al-Jazirah newspaper. He tweets @alshaikhmhmd
Last Update: Sunday, 6 August 2017 KSA 16:06 – GMT 13:06
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English’s point-of-view.

Antichrist is a Major Shi’a Player

https://i0.wp.com/www.aljazeera.com/mritems/Images/2011/1/22/2011122223353688954_20.jpg
Frenemies forever: Iraqi Shi’a after Mosul
With the liberation of Mosul a certainty, if not an imminent one, international attention on Iraq is largely focused on rebuilding the war-torn city and fostering intra-communal reconciliation.
The former is understandable as the immediate needs of Mosul are great and tangible. The latter also fits into western conceptualizations of Iraq, two decades after intervention, which views the country as comprised of three distinct and uniform communities: Sunni, Shi’a, and Kurd.
Meanwhile, back in Baghdad Iraqi Shi’a political parties and elites have long shifted focus away from defeating the Islamic State. Instead, they are returning to patterns of infighting habituated by decades of coalition- and relation-building in both the pre- and post-Saddam Iraq.
No such thing as structural political unity
While Iraqi Shi’a parties and elites did circle the wagons as the Islamic State bore down on Baghdad, once the Hashd al-Shaabi militias (Popular Mobilization Units) emerged, at the behest of Ayatollah Sistani’s fatwa calling Iraqis to arms, and American-led airstrikes began the existential nature of the threat of the so-called Islamic State was effectively nullified.
Political unity of Iraq’s Shi’a parties and elite [nearly] only occurs in response to a common enemy, which most recently took the form of the Islamic State and in previous periods had been Saddam Hussein and the United States.
Contrary to popular discourse, Iraq is not three cohesive ethno-religious blocks that act in unison. In fact there has been no such thing as structural political unity for Iraqi Shi’a for at least the past two and a half decades. When such unity does materialize it quickly disappears and is replaced by vicious competition.
Drain the Baghdad swamp
A contemporary example of the unscrupulous nature of Iraqi Shi’a coalition- and -relation building is Moqtada al-Sadr, who has rather opportunistically seized upon the pro-reform, anti-corruption protests that have been taking place in Baghdad since the summer of 2015 by throwing his and his movements weight behind the protests.
The protests were in support of a reform drive that was primarily the work of another Shi’a politician Prime Minister Haidar Al-Abadi, which on its surface would suggest either support from a fellow Shi’a, Sadr, or at least disagreements kept behind closed doors.
Al-Abadi, however, has little political base within his Dawa party of State of Law coalition and as a result has seen his efforts at reform stymied. Instead of supporting, Abadi Sadr took the public position that the reforms do not go far enough, creating headaches for Abadi who struggled to elicit any support for the reforms from fellow Shi’a inside and outside his own party.
Many see Sadr’s calls for reforms as disingenuous since members of his movement are integral partners in the political process. Sadrists representatives sit on the Electoral Commission, for example, which was recently the target for reform by Sadr and his followers. Sadr is likely supporting the protests calling for reform, and not necessarily the reforms themselves, to energize his political base and attract new supporters in the run-up to next year’s parliamentary elections.
Moqtada al-Sadr and his movement are deeply enmeshed in the political system that he currently rails against and the protests are a tool employed to try and hammer his opponents with.
Preserving a kleptocratic pie
In this environment of renewed competition Iraqi Shi’a political elites do not share common views on much. Deep divides persist between Iraqi Shi’a parties over what role clerics should have, whether Iraq should move towards a federal structure, and the desirability of Iranian influence in the country. These fundamental positions of the major Iraqi Shi’a parties make long-term alliances an impossibility.
Perhaps the sole thing they can agree on today is the preservation of a political system that permits state capture for the sake of perpetuating patronage networks. This system was consolidated after intra-Shi’a violence abetted in 2009 with the defeat of Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army.
Although violence throughout the country raged on, the fighting between Shi’a groups was replaced by competition over resources of the Iraqi state, a trend that accelerated under the premiership of Nouri al-Maliki (2006-2014).
Today, corruption is a deeply entrenched feature of the Baghdad political terrain. Iraqi Shi’a political groups and elites shifted away from violence to competing over revenue from oil sales and control over ministries and parliamentary committees in order to employ family members and supporters.
In addition, Iraqi political elites continue to favor the status quo of a centralized state, despite the promises of devolution to Iraq’s provinces. The reason for this being that a centralized state in Baghdad is one that is easier to steal from.
Plus ça change aux Baghdad…
While these elites have so far managed to fight off attempts at reform, popular grievances against poor governance, insecurity, poverty and inadequate service delivery remain unaddressed. Even the storming of the Iraqi parliament in Baghdad’s Green Zone in May of 2016, jarring as it was, proved unable to move the needle on the substantive reforms so desperately needed. So then what becomes of Iraq if the status quo is maintained?
The last 25 years of Iraqi history shows that despite violence and acrimonious political rhetoric, Iraqi Shi’a parties are still likely to form alliances to contest upcoming elections with their ostensible rivals. If the sustained pressure of the reform protests can continue to be contained, Iraq’s political elite will likely manage to cobble together a government after the 2018 parliamentary elections that is no more responsive to its constituents than before.
Steps forward
Mosul will require substantial bandwidth and resources from external actors for the near to medium term, deservedly so. The next crisis, however, will almost certainly involve the upcoming parliamentary elections, scheduled for January 2018.
External stakeholders should look to ways to support more productive competition between Shi’a parties that results in parties and leaders that are more receptive to the needs and wishes of their constituencies. This can be accomplished at least in part by facilitating confidence building and reconciliation between existing Iraqi Shi’a political groups.
In the spirit of more productive competition, external stakeholders can provide long-term support to Shi’a social movements, civil society advocacy groups and even nascent parties. Fostering a counter weight to the stagnant Iraqi Shi’a political class external stakeholders can help to challenge the complacency of the established elite. This could take the form of long-term core funding to these groups or discrete training courses held outside the country.
Ultimately, an additional focus on promoting the quality, legitimacy and diversity of Iraqi Shi’a political representation will translate in strengthening cross-ethno-sectarian reconciliation efforts in Iraq.

Antichrist’s Men Form Protest Camp In Baghdad

Iraq 13 years on: a protest camp forms outside the Green Zone

As life goes on in Baghdad, plans need to be put in place to make people’s lives more bearable. Planning should not wait until the war ends, because let’s face it – war is now the new normal.

The restored buildings of Mutannabi Street. Ali Ali. All rights resrved.
The restored buildings of Mutannabi Street. Ali Ali. All rights resrved.After a series of horrific bombings, the worst of which was in the shopping district of Karrada, people from all over Baghdad lit candles in remembrance of the victims. A heavy sadness consumed the city, but also an intense anger at the political elites.

When Prime Minister Abadi visited the site, people on the streets shouted insults and threw shoes at him. Checkpoints across the city were still using the fake bomb detectors sold to the Iraqi government by a British businessman now jailed for fraud.

The explosive-laden truck passed through several checkpoints before reaching Karrada. But it was only after the bombing that the prime minister announced that the fake detectors would be replaced with reliable technology. However, inside the Green Zone, where the political class live and work, K-9 sniffer-dog units prevent such attacks from happening.

In a video circulating on social media, people were insulting Abadi and those in power, but not the police men guarding the prime minister’s motorcade as they know that they are not the real problem.
It isn’t just that people are angry that their politicians are corrupt and not keeping them safe, they are also angry about how exhausting and expensive daily life has become. The corrupt political class are largely to blame, and they themselves are another part of the legacy of the military occupation.
I got a sense of this grind in February this year when I went to visit relatives and explored the pockets of beauty that remain in the city. It has changed enormously since my last visit in 2001. Last time I travelled by land, taking a taxi from Damascus. This time I flew from London. The officers at Baghdad International Airport were actually more welcoming than the border guards were in 2001.
Rows of majestic date palms greet arrivals along the airport highway, one of the few roads in the city that is well maintained. Just a few years ago it was a highway of death, with frequent clashes between American soldiers and the forces resisting their occupation. The city is greener than I expected, Iraqis still cherish their trees and green spaces. There was a long queue of cars waiting to enter Zawraa park, a popular place to relax in Baghdad.
Animated conversations and fresh juice in Baghdad. Ali Ali. All rights reserved.
Animated conversations and fresh juice in Baghdad. Ali Ali. All rights reserved.The signs of the ongoing war against Daesh were visible across the city; posters commemorating the martyred soldiers and the brigades of Al-Hashd Al-Sha’bi, the Popular Mobilisation Units fighting Daesh, dotted the city. The body of a martyr was carried to Al-Kadhimiya shrine as I wondered around the nearby market. And there was a sense that the war was being fought outside of Baghdad.
A martyr of the war against Daesh is carried to the Kathimiyya shrine in Baghdad. Ali Ali. All rights reserved.
A martyr of the war against Daesh is carried to the Kathimiyya shrine in Baghdad. Ali Ali. All rights reserved.People were enjoying the evenings; spaces in popular restaurants were hard to find on weekends. Nightlife options are not wide ranging, but it is pleasant to dine on delicious Iraqi grills and stews in one of the park restaurants on the banks of the Tigris. Concerts are also still running in the national theatre.
A popular restaurant in Baghdad. Ali Ali. All rights reserved.
A popular restaurant in Baghdad. Ali Ali. All rights reserved.The booksellers were busy on Mutanabbi Street, an old street in Baghdad which was restored after being hit by a car bomb in 2007. It was pedestrianized for security measures, which isn’t such a bad thing. On Fridays, booksellers arrange books on protective sheets and the street comes to life from the colours of the book covers.
Book sale on Mutannabi Street. Ali Ali. All rights reserved.
Book sale on Mutannabi Street. Ali Ali. All rights reserved.Mutanabbi Street is where the Shabandar Café is – a place where writers, artists, and intellectuals meet; more like a cultural club than a café. Old photographs of Baghdadi life and personalities adorn the walls, and thick smoke from fruit flavoured water pipes obscure the view.

Around the corner is Al Qishla, built by the Ottomans to house the government of Iraq. Its spacious garden by the Tigris is where artists display and sell their creations, and poets recite words of love and loss on Fridays.
Al Mustansiriya University is nearby; a beautifully preserved thirteenth century building that is among the oldest learning hubs in the world. Constructed from dense and ornately engraved mud walls, its rooms provide a cool refuge from the scorching sun without the need for air-conditioning.
Shabandar Cafe on a Friday. Ali Ali. All rights reserved.
Shabandar Cafe on a Friday. Ali Ali. All rights reserved.Baghdad’s streets are filled with new and old cars. Korean cars outnumber the rest, but some Japanese and American cars share the roads with the poorly made Iranian Sabas that seem to emit more pollution than the rest combined. I’m told they are cheap to run.

Iraqis have the latest smartphones and laptops. Shopping malls have grown in number. But the consumer boom is not matched by progress in restoring public infrastructure or Baghdad’s functionality as a city.

Certain neighbourhoods, like al Amiriyah by the airport, remain enclosed by large concrete walls. Checkpoints in Baghdad are many. They appear to be run by state forces, not militias, although the lines between them are blurred.

Life goes on in Baghdad. In February Baghdad felt calm, but at the same time, as if it were stuck on a path leading it from one war to the next.

Tens of thousands of protestors were camped outside Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone in February and March, home to government ministries, the parliament, and foreign embassies. They blocked the main entrance and demanded an end to the corruption and sectarianism in Iraqi politics, a legacy of the Anglo-American invasion and occupation thirteen years ago.
Sculptures on display in the gardens of Al Qishla. Ali Ali. All rights reserved.
Sculptures on display in the gardens of Al Qishla. Ali Ali. All rights reserved.Secular protestors were already making these demands in Tahrir Square, a few hundred metres away from Iraq’s parliament, across the Jumhuriya bridge. They were joined, and outnumbered, by the Sadrists, led by Muqtada Al-Sadr.

Muqtada gave a speech in Tahrir Square in late February, denouncing corruption and sectarianism. He called for a new technocratic government composed of ministers unaffiliated to any political party. Terrorists’ bombs killed dozens in a Sadr City market a few days later.

The Sadrists, who can mobilise hundreds of thousands of men, including members of their militia, joined the protest camps outside the Green Zone. There was a thriving protest camp at the entry point to the walled-off government zone. Sadrists mixed with the secular progressives; they were sharing food and protecting them. Had the secular protestors been alone, security forces would have probably succeeded in dispersing them.

They were gradually joined by protestors from other parts of Iraq. They used their smartphones to spread footage of protest songs on social media. They proudly showed the diversity of the camp: of secular and religious Iraqis protesting together, and Sunnis alongside Shias, and of their clerics praying together. They challenged the claims that it was an exclusively Sadrist protest camp.
Popular discontent was not quelled by a cabinet shuffle. There were further protests, and the Green Zone was occupied by protestors at the end of April – some of them entered the cabinet building for several hours. Protestors were angry about delays to political reform. Later four were killed and dozens more injured by government security forces.

The Anglo-American invasion dismantled the Iraqi state but replaced it with corrupt and dysfunctional identity politics.

The Anglo-American invasion toppled the detested dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, dismantled the Iraqi state but replaced it with corrupt and dysfunctional identity politics, which benefits the corrupt diaspora elite.

Occupation forces neglected many of the legal obligations which govern occupations. Other offences included: the sledgehammer purge of the old order, institutionalising governance which allocated power and resources on the basis of ethnic and religious identity, and incredibly poor financial accountability which ushered in immense and endemic corruption.

This catastrophic combination has resulted in intense protracted violence in large parts of Iraq, but especially in Baghdad. It also resulted in the neglect of meaningful state-building and the associated regulation of the economy and society. This is what the protesters seek to change.
Iraqis have lived with these repercussions for too long. The state is not providing adequate public services, and where private actors have stepped in, they face little formal constraints or accountability. War and corruption have deregulated daily life and routinized disorder and unaccountability.

The national electricity grid is still inadequate. Even in winter and early spring, when the cool temperatures reduce demand, power cuts prevail. Households rely on neighbourhood generators, for which they pay a fee, and on their own generators when the neighbourhood generator falls short. This is no joke in summers with temperatures as high as 55 degrees Celsius. If there is no electricity, there is no water pumped into homes. The system sometimes works, but only if you can afford the extra expenses, and if your neighbourhood generator is well maintained and not oversubscribed.
Wires from a neighbourhood generator. Ali Ali. All rights reserved.
Wires from a neighbourhood generator. Ali Ali. All rights reserved.The city pays an aesthetic price; clumps of hanging generator cables clutter and disfigure the streets. Iraqis should be entitled to reliable and affordable national power generation; underneath them are the world’s fifth largest oil reserves, and above them a powerful sun –  the solar energy potential of which remains untapped. They receive neither.

The drainage system is so poorly maintained that ordinary winter rains cause flooding in the city. A restaurant owner explained that private contractors, paid by the government, tarmacked over the drains and manholes on his street, taking no notice of his remonstrations.

Another set of private contractors, who own the drainage-trucks, and who were sent by the local government, demanded payment from residents. Instead of paying the high fees each year for what should be a free service, he decided to conduct his own repair works privately. However, the other residents did not contribute to the cost, so he set it up to only deal with his part of the road.
Corruption and lack of regulations also have implications on the health sector. There is a belief that many bogus drugs are sold. Receptionists in clinics can be bribed to slip people’s names into the top of the doctor’s waiting list. In hospitals, nurses regularly demand bribes. Doctors commonly prescribe high doses of steroids for a range of conditions, without considering the long term side effects. Who will hold them to account? Rather than traversing the city to reach a hospital or a clinic, some Baghdadis visit the Mudhammid, the neighbourhood first aid man with limited medical training.
The lack of regulation means some can claim to be doctors, qualified to fix fractures and tie stitches which real doctors eventually have to correct in hospitals. Some Mudhammids sell ‘recreational’ narcotics. Understandably, when Iraqis need major surgery, those who can afford to travel to Lebanon or Turkey.

However, Turkey is losing this as well as other sources of revenue from Iraq, owing to the strict new visa regime which it imposed on Iraqis this year. It is widely believed to be another consequence of Turkey’s ‘dirty deal’ with the EU, curtailing the movement of populations from conflict-affected countries to Europe in exchange for several billion Euros, and for reviving the issue of visa-free travel to the EU for Turkish citizens.

A lack of regulation and inadequate public transportation has implications for mobility in Baghdad. Getting around the city is expensive and inconvenient. There are few road signs and public transport consists of mini buses – ‘Kias’ – and a new fleet of red double-deckers. Neither display signs to indicate their routes. The Kias, more numerous than the double-deckers, do not keep regular routes either. If you can’t catch the Kia driver’s ear, you can communicate with him using hand signals to ask if he’s going (roughly) your way.

Most women feel unsafe riding the Kias, as harassment is too common. Women who can afford to use taxis, often with a driver known to the family, but this consumes a sizeable chunk of income.
The lack of employment opportunities prompts men to use their private cars as unlicensed taxis. It is not yet socially acceptable for women to do the same. Independent mobility in Baghdad depends on private car ownership. Baghdadis say there are now more cars than people in the city. The frequent traffic jams give the impression this might be true. The basic task of moving across Baghdad is a polluted grind.
Cars old and new in Baghdad's frequent traffic jams. Ali Ali. All rights reserved.
Cars old and new in Baghdad’s frequent traffic jams. Ali Ali. All rights reserved.But it isn’t just the number of cars on the roads which cause congestion. City planning has been neglected. Baghdad has been distorted by the occupation and the security measures in place to deal with the associated violence.
In many neighbourhoods, concrete barriers still close off streets to limit access to roads where there are security checkpoints. Some of the barriers are waist high with small gaps to allow only pedestrian access. Others, like those enclosing Al Dora, are sealed and several metres high so that even pedestrian access is controlled.
In addition to concrete walls enclosing neighbourhoods, there are walls around all public buildings. Vehicles are kept at a safe distance from schools, universities, municipal buildings, and even hospitals. This is not entirely unwelcome, as these walls and checkpoints have kept some of the car bombers, kidnappers, and other criminals out.
Certain mosques and shrines are also walled. The Abu Hanifa Mosque as well as the Al-Kadhimiya Mosque and shrine. In addition to the pedestrianisation of the roads leading to them, there are security search points on the paths leading to the shrines and adjacent market, as terrorists had targeted millions of Shia pilgrims from southern Iraq, Iran, and Pakistan.
While the measures provide protection, they are also a reminder that the dysfunctional political system has normalised insecurity, not public safety.
A highway and concrete walls run through Dora in southern Baghdad. Ali Ali. All rights reserved.
A highway and concrete walls run through Dora in southern Baghdad. Ali Ali. All rights reserved.Baghdadis still find barriers appearing in unexpected places, roads which may have been open just a month ago may be closed off today. It can be infuriating. Even during the course of a journey, the contours of the city can change in obstructive ways.

The night before Muqtada Al-Sadr’s sermon in Tahrir Square, certain roads were closed off as part of a security arrangement. The closures happened unannounced on a busy Thursday night, which is the start of the weekend. As we made adjustments to our route, another road was blocked off. We, like so many other Baghdadis, were expecting these closures the next morning. It is exhausting and another cause for discontent.
Concrete blocks seal off roads to cars. Ali Ali. All rights reserved.
Concrete blocks seal off roads to cars. Ali Ali. All rights reserved.Endemic corruption is a major source of popular resentment at the political class. Political connections to a religious party are needed to access salaried public sector jobs as well as government scholarships for study abroad.
This corruption has also produced a major fiscal crisis. The cumulative total budget since 2003 is close to $950 billion, averaging $67 billion per year, and based almost entirely on oil and gas revenues. The 2016 budget is $99.6 billion, optimistically based on a $45 per barrel oil price, with a $25.6 billion deficit. Plunging oil prices and corruption threaten to put the country in dire fiscal crisis.
Mishan Jabouri, a senior parliament anti-corruption official, admitted his own corruption to a Guardian journalist. Jabouri threatened a corrupt official with investigation if he did not pay him $5 million. He took the bribe and prosecuted him anyway.

Corrupt practices mean that there are still ghost employees and ghost soldiers, these are individuals who may not exist or do not show up to work, but to whom salaries are being paid. Billions of dollars of public funds are paid for projects which are not built. Despite this cash sloshing around, official unemployment is still above 16 percent, possibly even higher in reality.

People across Iraq are fed up. They are angry at the grand larceny committed over the years as they and their children struggle. The cost of living in Iraq has increased enormously since 2003 but economic prospects for most people have not. Many government employees have had their salaries cut.
Even in northern Iraq – where two Kurdish parties effectively run their own ‘statelettes’ – there are similar problems. Infrastructure is in much better shape in areas of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), dominated by the Kurdish Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. But without membership or a connection to one of these parties, it is extremely difficult to acquire a salaried public sector position. They are not as desirable as they used to be, as many government employees have not received their salaries for months.

Iraq’s Kurdistan was supposed to be the successful poster-story of the occupation but its residents, who experienced severe persecution under Saddam’s regime, are still struggling. To its credit, the KRG has kept its doors open to the hundreds of thousands displaced by the war with ISIS in Iraq, and to refugees from Syria.

Thirteen years later, the country has not recovered from the legacy of the occupation. Iraq is paralysed from corruption and protracted wars which continue to displace and dispossess. The war with Daesh is another phenomenon whose numerous causes include the invasion of Iraq and the resulting communal politics of exclusion.

Ordinary Iraqis across the country are paying the price while their politicians, and global arms manufacturers, accumulate vast profits. Those in the protest camp outside the Green Zone attempt to make the most out of an arduous situation. They continue to protest on Fridays. If they are successful, then there is some hope of ending Iraq’s political paralysis and state of perpetual warfare. But this prospect is far from being imminent.

Many young Iraqis, especially men, have decided it is not worth waiting around for the positive outcomes of potential changes, and have decided to leave. Protests in Iraq have been under way since the Arab Spring began in 2011. In some areas protestors were killed by government forces, such as in Hawija where twenty people were killed by ‘gunmen’, according to the government. Life is leaving so many young Iraqis behind.

As of 31 December 2015, over three million Iraqis are estimated to have been displaced internally. It is no wonder that Iraqis remain highly represented in global refugee statistics.

The war with Daesh will continue, resulting in more displacement. If there is no political solution and people’s calls for political reforms are ignored, violent expressions of discontent will continue.
As life goes on in Baghdad, plans need to be put in place to make people’s lives a little more bearable. Planning should not wait until the war ends, because in Baghdad, as in much of Iraq, war is now the new normal.

The Antichrist’s Rule Of Iraq Is Next (Rev 13)


On eve of mass protests, what’s next for Iraq’s political crisis?

Al Monitor

BAGHDAD, Iraq — On June 28, the nation’s Federal Supreme Court decided to nullify two parliamentary sessions, the first held April 14, during which parliament Speaker Salim al-Jubouri was dismissed by what are known as the Reform bloc legislators, and the second held April 26, during which a partial parliament reshuffle was approved in the absence of the Reform bloc politicians.
That has set the stage for events to come to a head this month, as the parliamentary recess has ended and a parliament session is to be held sometime soon.

Also, Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who on May 28 began a retreat from public action, re-emerged this month. In addition, a truce between protesters and the pro-government and political reform movement came to a halt July 6, at the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

This indicates the onset of a new significant political conflict between parliamentary parties on the one hand, and between security services and angry protesters led by Sadr on the other.

Ahmed Abdul Hussein, a member of the Coordination Committee of Baghdad Protests, posted on his Facebook page on July 5 that Sadr, in conjunction with the civil movement, is setting in motion a large demonstration for July 15.

His post read, “[Our] meeting with Sayyid Muqtada al-Sadr included the following: A review of the process of the demonstrations and protests since they first began in July 2015 until this day, an analysis of the results, constraints and proposed solutions, and an agreement on a demonstration in which millions will participate on July 15.”

The demonstration will be in protest against the delay in achieving the reforms and the formation of a technocratic government in addition to the security situation that has deteriorated remarkably this month, with the prime example being the July 3 bombing in the Karrada district of Baghdad, killing over 200 people, in addition to an attempt to bomb the Sayyid Muhammad Shiite shrine in Balad on July 8 that killed at least 40.

As a result of the carnage, Sadr intends to expand the demands of the protests to include changing the leadership of the security issue.

All of this reflects that Sadr is convinced that his reform goals have not been achieved and that he will go out of his way to mobilize the street in order to pressure the politicians and government institutions to achieve what he believes is reform.

Some parties, including the Kurdish Alliance’s parliamentary bloc, see this as “political blackmail.” This was expressed by Mohsen al-Sadoun, a member of parliament for the Kurdish Alliance, who told Al-Monitor, “Using the street to clash with the security forces and storm the government’s headquarters is unacceptable, and it expresses an attempt to impose a one-sided political will on the rest of the parties involved in the political process. Those parties have their own supporters and popular movements, but they do not use them to terrorize the other parties.”

On April 30 and May 20, Sadr supporters stormed the heavily fortified Green Zone, which houses the Cabinet, the parliament and embassies of some countries, notably the US Embassy.

Sadoun said he believes that “the Federal Court’s nullification of the April 14 and 26 sessions will allow political initiatives to return and will pave the way for negotiations, provided that they are not under political pressure from any party.”

Parliament member Abdul Rahman al-Louezi said the Reform bloc believes that the nullification of the parliamentary session where Jubouri was dismissed will not stop parliament from attempting to dismiss him once again.

“The Reform bloc will operate as an opposition bloc within the parliament and will do whatever it takes to dismiss Jubouri because he is behind the delay in achieving reform. His dismissal must be accomplished in such a way that it puts an end to sectarian and partisan quotas in government agencies,” Louezi told Al-Monitor.

It seems that the Reform bloc’s insistence on proceeding with Jubouri’s dismissal will keep the political conflict ongoing, with the possibility of escalation. The court’s decision to cancel the dismissal and political reshuffle sessions will not be a prelude to solving the crisis, especially since Sadr continues to organize demonstrations demanding the formation of a technocratic government and putting an end to the quota system.

On the other hand, should the top three Iraqi leaders, (the president, the prime minister and the parliament speaker) insist on remaining in their positions and reject the “reform” demanded by the Reform bloc and Sadr, the crisis will hit a dead end, all the while the security and economic situations continue to deteriorate, plaguing the country with constant tension in the absence of a solution that satisfies all parties.

Meanwhile, all of this will impact the state system in general, which will lead to a constant state of weakness in government institutions, accompanied by a failure to take serious measures regarding the security situation and the conditions in a post-Islamic State phase

Iraq Army Rises Against The Antichrist


Iraq holds military parade in central Baghdad, seen as show of force against Sadr

Soldiers of the Iraqi armed forces take part in a military parade in central Baghdad, July 14, 2016.Photo: AFP

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region- Marking the 14th of July coup that overthrew Iraq’s monarchy in 1958 Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi oversaw a military parade in central Baghdad where he praised his army’s latest victories against the Islamic State (ISIS).

A Shiite militia spokesperson told Rudaw that the parade was as much about celebrating the liberation of the Sunni city of Fallujah from ISIS last month as it was about the July 14th event.
“This parade was planned three weeks ago to mark the Iraqi forces’ success in Fallujah,” he said.
According to Rudaw correspondent in Baghdad Barham Hassan, members of the Iran-backed Shiite militia group known as Hashd al-Shaabi participated in the parade that took place at Baghdad’s Tahrir Square.

Tahrir Square has been the site of anti-government demonstrations in recent months.

Aws al-Khafaji, a Shiite militia spokesman, told Rudaw that many troops had been brought to Baghdad from parts of the country to attend the parade after which they were dispatched to their front lines.

The parade that was attended by members of the UN staff in Iraq, also included the federal police and security forces.

Today’s parade was Iraq’s biggest since the ouster of the former regime thirteen years ago in which an estimated 15,000 soldiers participated.

The Iraqi army has recorded several victories against ISIS in the last two months.

In June they managed two drive ISIS militants from Fallujah after two weeks of intense battle and on Saturday they captured the Qayara airfield from the group southeast of Mosul.

Heavy fighting is still ongoing between the army and entrenched militants for the town of Qayara itself.

Some observers see Abadi’s military parade in central Baghdad and in Tahrir Square in particular as a show of force against Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr who has threatened a million-man march in the capital on Friday.

Earlier this week a group of Shiite clerics—encouraged by PM Abadi—traveled to the city of Najaf to dissuade Sadr from holding the march which according to reports they failed to achieve.
Sadr has blamed Abadi’s government for failing security around Baghdad and on Tuesday he arrived in military uniform at the scene of Karrada’s deadly bombing earlier this month that killed more than 292 people.

Abadi has called on all Iraqis and political groups in recent weeks to stand by the army and its successes against ISIS and not disrupt their advance with demonstrations and political rivalry.

Antichrist Plans Million Man March (Revelation 13)


Shiite clerics fail to persuade Sadr against planned million-man demonstration

By Simav Mazher 5 hours ago
 

 Supporters of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr hold an anti-corruption protest in Bhagdad, April, 2016. Photo: AFP

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — A group of prominent Shiite clerics have met in the Iraqi holy city of Najaf to persuade the radical militia leader Muqtada al-Sadr against holding a planned million man demonstration in the capital Baghdad on Friday.

According to Rudaw reporter in Baghdad, Barham Hassan, Sadr attended the meeting with the clerical group.

Rudaw has learned that the clerics asked Sadr to call off any planned demonstrations and send a message to his followers and Iraqi people in general telling them to support the government.

The clerics reportedly failed to dissuade Sadr and he is said to have arrived in Baghdad just two days before his planned demonstrations.

The clerics have also asked disputing Shiite parties to put aside their differences and support the government.

Thousands of supporters of Sadr broke the concrete barriers of Baghdad’s Green Zone in April and stormed the parliament building following a Friday speech by the radical cleric at the Tahrir square.
The office of Prime Minister Haider Abadi asked Iraqis to stay united and “appreciate the victories of the Iraqi forces that have recently been achieved” in the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS).

Abadi called on “the Iraqi people and political groups to unite their efforts to preserve the military success in Mosul and Fallujah,”

“The priority should be defeating ISIS,” read a statement from the premier.

Abadi has been under attack from MPs and militia groups for failing security in the capital Baghdad after a bomb explosion in Karrada killed 292 people earlier this month.

In his message the Iraqi prime minister said that attacks such as the one in Karrada were attempts by ISIS “to back stab and shock the people through its assistants and such acts to delay the Mosul operation.”

Abadi has promised fundamental reforms since his appointment as prime minister two years ago, including the sacking of several prominent security officials, but Sadr and his group have blamed him for a slow implementation of reforms.

The radical cleric appears to be filling in for security forces in parts of the country since the Karrada bombing.

On Tuesday he ordered the deployment of 600 militiamen to the town of Balad north of Baghdad to protect the Shiite shrine of Sayed Mohammad al-Hadi.

The same day he visited the site of the Karrada bombing wearing military uniform.

The Men Of The Antichrist (Revelation 13:18)

d409821095ae820bb3e7f35fedf0c28f

Analysis:  Who Are Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces, What Is Their Aim?


  • News Code : 765261
  • Source : Websites

State-sponsored umbrella organization of PMF is composed of some 40 groups, which are mainly Shiite Muslim groups, but there are Sunni Muslim, Christian, and Yazidi groups as well.
 

AhlulBayt News Agency – The Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), Hashid Shaabi in Arabic, are currently one of the most significant Iraqi forces fighting the ISIS terror group in the country. The structure and organization of the PMF has been one of the issues calling attention of the political researchers during the past two years.

State-sponsored umbrella organization of PMF is composed of some 40 groups, which are mainly Shiite Muslim groups, but there are Sunni Muslim, Christian, and Yazidi groups as well.
The Major units forming the PMF are Saraya al-Salam, Military wing of Badr Organization, Kata’ib Hezbollah, Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, Hezbollah Movement of Iraq, Kata’ib Jenah Resali, Saraya al-Khorasani, and Saraya Ashura.
On June 13, 2014, Iraq’s grand Shiite cleric Ayatollah Sayyed Ali al-Sistani issued a jihad fatwa, calling the Shiite Muslims of Iraq to mobilize to fight against the ISIS terror group. Immediately after the call, the Shiites of the country staged massive recruiting arrangements, and became united under the Popular Mobilization Forces organization.
This union paved the way for the PMF to become a link between different political and ideological movements in Iraq.
Key forces and movements present within the PMF are:
Saraya al-Salam
Saraya al-Salam forces are in fact the units of Mahdi Army, belonging to the top Shiite leader Ayatollah Muqtada al-Sadr, which in August 2007 officially halted military activities due to a decree by its leadership for disbandment. The forces of Mahdi Army were reorganized under the new name of Saraya al-Salam only two days after Ayatollah Sistani’s jihad fatwa. They are fully armed units, with tens of thousands of fighters. They could be called as the military arm of al-Sadr in Iraq. The Saraya al-Salam have declared their major aim to be protection of the sacred places in both Najaf and Karbala cities, as well as fighting the foreign forces in the country. The pro-Sadr force showed highly efficient military capabilities between 2003 and 2007, having major military equipments at their disposal.
Military wing of Badr Organization
The Badr Organization was founded in mid-2012 under leadership of Hadi al-Amiri, the current chief of PMF. The organization now stands as the key force among other forces forming the PMF. The organization enjoys large credibility among the Shiite Iraqis, and holds firm bonds with Nouri al-Maliki, the former Prime Minister of Iraq, and also the army. In the time being, the Badr Organization’s forces make up the key force in the body of PMF, with about 10,000 fighters.
Kata’ib Hezbollah
Kata’ib Hezbollah or Hezbollah Battalions was formed several months before US invasion of Iraq in 2003. Initially, its organizational name was Kata’ib Abu al-Fadl al-Abbas, however, in 2007 it was renamed to Kata’ib Hezbollah of Iraq. The members of Kata’ib Hezbollah are followers of Imam Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and also Iraq’s grand Shiite cleric Ayatollah Sayyed Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr. Although it shares name with the resistant Lebanese group Hezbollah, their organizational structures are completely distinct and separate, and they only share similar objectives. One of major goals of this Shiite militant group is to confront all of the foreign forces next to Iraqi borders. Its first military operation was in 2003 against the US military convoy in Baghdad. It is not clear who are the main commanders of the military organization. Presently, it is one of key forces active beside others in PMF.
Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq
The force is part of the larger body of Mahdi Army. It declared existence 2007 after an order by Ayatollah Muqtada al-Sadr as a separate force following disbandment of Mahdi Army. Qais al-Khazali and Sheikh Akram al-Kaabi are leaders of this Shiite militia group. This force could be seen as the strictest and toughest group among the other forces of the PMF. During US and UK invasion of Iraq, it launched assaults against the American forces stationed in Iraq. The fighters of the force could reach tens of thousands in number.
Hezbollah Movement of Iraq
The group was founded in 2011 under leadership of Hassan al-Sari, the member of Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq. The force joined the PMF after the jihad fatwa of Ayatollah al-Sistani. Their number is estimated to be about 3,000.
Kata’ib Jenah Resali
The force, like its counterparts, was formed after Jihad call. Kazem al-Haeri is the leader of the militia group. It has about 2,000 fighters, and showed an efficient presence in anti-ISIS battles.
Saraya al-Khorasani
The group was formed in 2013 as the military wing of Talia Party. Its chief is Ali al-Yaseri. The group is comprised of 3,000 fighters, and since the beginning of clashes of PMF with ISIS it was present in the battlefields.
Saraya Ashura
The militia group was also formed immediately after call for jihad by Ayatollah al-Sistani. The force is majorly recognized as the military wing of Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq. Over 5,000 fighters are estimated to form this group.
The Popular Mobilization Forces was created to confront foreign interventions or domestic calamities such as the one currently trapping Iraq in an inextricable network of foreign-backed terrorist plots.
There is no doubt that Iraq’s national army and security forces play a key role in the battles but that doesn’t mean that the PMF are just there to warm the bench. Instead, these groups, according to experts, have made a fundamental difference on the battlefield. Most notably, PMF fighters possess a quality that the army does not have and that is the upper-hand in the guerilla warfare.
What was known as the Second Battle of Tikrit was an example that shows the strength the PMF has on the ground. The recapturing of the provincial capital of the Salahuddin province in April 2015 marked a turning point in the war against ISIS as the popular mobilization forces, along with security forces, were engaged in the largest offensive against ISIS since they occupied swathes of territory in northern Iraq in June 2014, declared the so-called caliphate, and launched attacks against security forces and innocent civilians alike.
PMF’s Latest show of powers against ISIS was liberation operation of Fallujah, the terrorist group’s stronghold in mainly Sunni populated province of al-Anbar.
Fallujah was a name that for at least a decade in Iraq has been synonymous with clashes, violence and terrorism.
The city has been held by the ISIS terrorist group in early 2014. It didn’t take the terrorists much effort to seize control of the city because part of the Fallujah population were in favor of going under the rule of militants of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, and so facilitated their entry to the city.
It is notable that several thousand Sunni, Assyrian, and Yazidi volunteers are fighting ISIS under the flag of PMF. But regional media, mostly those belonging to Saudi Arabia,  underestimate their role and only magnify the Shiite fighters’ role in PMF all to fan tensions as crisis is under way in Iraq.
The PMFs military capacities have been invested constructively in the country. They even have the potential to establish security and prosperity in a post-war Iraq, if given the chance.
Scenes of jubilation following many victories that have been broadcast in the aftermath of fierce clashes showed many fighters from the Popular Mobilization forces expressing their sense of nationalism in song and dance. Singing the national anthem or traditional rhythms while waving the Iraqi flag is how members of the country’s volunteer units like to celebrate their accomplishments, which they selflessly dedicate to their country.
These images, however, are but a glimpse of what they are willing to do for the best interests of Iraq. Although tribes, parties, and organizations in Iraq are highly-regarded they have not interfered with the loyalty of these people to their country. When in need they rise above their different allegiances and unite for the sake of Iraq and the Popular Mobilization Forces is a model of that.

The Men Of The Antichrist (Revelation 13:18)

d409821095ae820bb3e7f35fedf0c28f

Analysis:  Who Are Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces, What Is Their Aim?


  • News Code : 765261
  • Source : Websites

State-sponsored umbrella organization of PMF is composed of some 40 groups, which are mainly Shiite Muslim groups, but there are Sunni Muslim, Christian, and Yazidi groups as well.
 

AhlulBayt News Agency – The Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), Hashid Shaabi in Arabic, are currently one of the most significant Iraqi forces fighting the ISIS terror group in the country. The structure and organization of the PMF has been one of the issues calling attention of the political researchers during the past two years.

State-sponsored umbrella organization of PMF is composed of some 40 groups, which are mainly Shiite Muslim groups, but there are Sunni Muslim, Christian, and Yazidi groups as well.
The Major units forming the PMF are Saraya al-Salam, Military wing of Badr Organization, Kata’ib Hezbollah, Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, Hezbollah Movement of Iraq, Kata’ib Jenah Resali, Saraya al-Khorasani, and Saraya Ashura.
On June 13, 2014, Iraq’s grand Shiite cleric Ayatollah Sayyed Ali al-Sistani issued a jihad fatwa, calling the Shiite Muslims of Iraq to mobilize to fight against the ISIS terror group. Immediately after the call, the Shiites of the country staged massive recruiting arrangements, and became united under the Popular Mobilization Forces organization.
This union paved the way for the PMF to become a link between different political and ideological movements in Iraq.
Key forces and movements present within the PMF are:
Saraya al-Salam
Saraya al-Salam forces are in fact the units of Mahdi Army, belonging to the top Shiite leader Ayatollah Muqtada al-Sadr, which in August 2007 officially halted military activities due to a decree by its leadership for disbandment. The forces of Mahdi Army were reorganized under the new name of Saraya al-Salam only two days after Ayatollah Sistani’s jihad fatwa. They are fully armed units, with tens of thousands of fighters. They could be called as the military arm of al-Sadr in Iraq. The Saraya al-Salam have declared their major aim to be protection of the sacred places in both Najaf and Karbala cities, as well as fighting the foreign forces in the country. The pro-Sadr force showed highly efficient military capabilities between 2003 and 2007, having major military equipments at their disposal.
Military wing of Badr Organization
The Badr Organization was founded in mid-2012 under leadership of Hadi al-Amiri, the current chief of PMF. The organization now stands as the key force among other forces forming the PMF. The organization enjoys large credibility among the Shiite Iraqis, and holds firm bonds with Nouri al-Maliki, the former Prime Minister of Iraq, and also the army. In the time being, the Badr Organization’s forces make up the key force in the body of PMF, with about 10,000 fighters.
Kata’ib Hezbollah
Kata’ib Hezbollah or Hezbollah Battalions was formed several months before US invasion of Iraq in 2003. Initially, its organizational name was Kata’ib Abu al-Fadl al-Abbas, however, in 2007 it was renamed to Kata’ib Hezbollah of Iraq. The members of Kata’ib Hezbollah are followers of Imam Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and also Iraq’s grand Shiite cleric Ayatollah Sayyed Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr. Although it shares name with the resistant Lebanese group Hezbollah, their organizational structures are completely distinct and separate, and they only share similar objectives. One of major goals of this Shiite militant group is to confront all of the foreign forces next to Iraqi borders. Its first military operation was in 2003 against the US military convoy in Baghdad. It is not clear who are the main commanders of the military organization. Presently, it is one of key forces active beside others in PMF.
Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq
The force is part of the larger body of Mahdi Army. It declared existence 2007 after an order by Ayatollah Muqtada al-Sadr as a separate force following disbandment of Mahdi Army. Qais al-Khazali and Sheikh Akram al-Kaabi are leaders of this Shiite militia group. This force could be seen as the strictest and toughest group among the other forces of the PMF. During US and UK invasion of Iraq, it launched assaults against the American forces stationed in Iraq. The fighters of the force could reach tens of thousands in number.
Hezbollah Movement of Iraq
The group was founded in 2011 under leadership of Hassan al-Sari, the member of Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq. The force joined the PMF after the jihad fatwa of Ayatollah al-Sistani. Their number is estimated to be about 3,000.
Kata’ib Jenah Resali
The force, like its counterparts, was formed after Jihad call. Kazem al-Haeri is the leader of the militia group. It has about 2,000 fighters, and showed an efficient presence in anti-ISIS battles.
Saraya al-Khorasani
The group was formed in 2013 as the military wing of Talia Party. Its chief is Ali al-Yaseri. The group is comprised of 3,000 fighters, and since the beginning of clashes of PMF with ISIS it was present in the battlefields.
Saraya Ashura
The militia group was also formed immediately after call for jihad by Ayatollah al-Sistani. The force is majorly recognized as the military wing of Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq. Over 5,000 fighters are estimated to form this group.
The Popular Mobilization Forces was created to confront foreign interventions or domestic calamities such as the one currently trapping Iraq in an inextricable network of foreign-backed terrorist plots.
There is no doubt that Iraq’s national army and security forces play a key role in the battles but that doesn’t mean that the PMF are just there to warm the bench. Instead, these groups, according to experts, have made a fundamental difference on the battlefield. Most notably, PMF fighters possess a quality that the army does not have and that is the upper-hand in the guerilla warfare.
What was known as the Second Battle of Tikrit was an example that shows the strength the PMF has on the ground. The recapturing of the provincial capital of the Salahuddin province in April 2015 marked a turning point in the war against ISIS as the popular mobilization forces, along with security forces, were engaged in the largest offensive against ISIS since they occupied swathes of territory in northern Iraq in June 2014, declared the so-called caliphate, and launched attacks against security forces and innocent civilians alike.
PMF’s Latest show of powers against ISIS was liberation operation of Fallujah, the terrorist group’s stronghold in mainly Sunni populated province of al-Anbar.
Fallujah was a name that for at least a decade in Iraq has been synonymous with clashes, violence and terrorism.
The city has been held by the ISIS terrorist group in early 2014. It didn’t take the terrorists much effort to seize control of the city because part of the Fallujah population were in favor of going under the rule of militants of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, and so facilitated their entry to the city.
It is notable that several thousand Sunni, Assyrian, and Yazidi volunteers are fighting ISIS under the flag of PMF. But regional media, mostly those belonging to Saudi Arabia,  underestimate their role and only magnify the Shiite fighters’ role in PMF all to fan tensions as crisis is under way in Iraq.
The PMFs military capacities have been invested constructively in the country. They even have the potential to establish security and prosperity in a post-war Iraq, if given the chance.
Scenes of jubilation following many victories that have been broadcast in the aftermath of fierce clashes showed many fighters from the Popular Mobilization forces expressing their sense of nationalism in song and dance. Singing the national anthem or traditional rhythms while waving the Iraqi flag is how members of the country’s volunteer units like to celebrate their accomplishments, which they selflessly dedicate to their country.
These images, however, are but a glimpse of what they are willing to do for the best interests of Iraq. Although tribes, parties, and organizations in Iraq are highly-regarded they have not interfered with the loyalty of these people to their country. When in need they rise above their different allegiances and unite for the sake of Iraq and the Popular Mobilization Forces is a model of that.

Antichrist Sends Militia To Protect Mosques (Rev 13:18)


Sadr deploys hundreds of his militia to protect Shiite shrine north of Baghdad

By Rudaw 6 hours ago

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The firebrand Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has ordered the deployment of 600 militiamen to the town of Balad north of Baghdad just days after an attack by extremist militants on a shrine killed more than 40 people.

“We aim to protect the sacred religious shrines, and our presence in this town is in coordination with the government,” said Salim Aish, a Shiite militia commander of Saraya al-Salam, the military wing of Sadr’s Mahdi army. “We hope there is mutual understanding between our forces based here and local authorities.”

A group of Islamic State (ISIS) militants stormed the shrine of Sayed Mohammed Ali al-Hadi last week. A suicide bomber blew himself inside the shrine while another detonated his explosives among the fleeing worshipers.

40 people were killed and more than 70 others were injured.

“In fact this incident grieved us,” said a Shiite visitor to the shrine. “Any Muslim human being is unhappy with what happened here,”

Local officials say last week’s attack has not decreased the number of visitors to the shrine of al-Hadi who is a descendent of Prophet Muhammed.

Shiite militia groups have fought ISIS alongside the Iraqi army across the country in the last two years. With ISIS on the run in some parts of Iraq the militiamen have been tasked with maintaining security in some areas particularly Shiite shrines.

“I tell Shiites in the world, do your best to help the Iraqi Shiites, whether it is through fundraising or visiting the country,” said an Iranian Shiite visitor at the shrine.

Iraq is home of the Shiite faith’s most important sites such as the shrine of Imam Ali in Najaf and Imam Hussein in Karbala.

The shrines and their visitors have been the target of bombings by extremist Sunni groups in the decade since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Shiites bring the coffin or their dead to such holy shrines for blessing before burial.

Antichrist Calls For New Protests


Iraqi cleric Sadr calls for fresh anti-corruption demonstrations

Published July 12th, 2016 – 14:30 GMT via SyndiGate.info

Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has called for a popular uprising against the Iraqi government over the slow pace of promised reforms. (AFP/File)

Prominent Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has called on his followers to stage mass demonstrations in capital Baghdad on Friday to demand that the government adopt sweeping measures to fight state corruption.

In a statement Monday, al-Sadr said demonstrators would call for “the eradication of [government] corruption and injustice and the dismissal of all corrupt officials”.

“Terrorism,” he went on to assert, “is not the only enemy”.

Iraq has remained in the throes of a deepening political crisissince March, when Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi — under mounting pressure to rein in corruption — attempted to form a government of “technocrats” untainted by graft or sectarian affiliations.

Until now, however, Iraq’s various political parties, including a number of Shia ones, have blocked the new government from being drawn up.

Al-Sadr’s supporters, meanwhile, have been staging protests over the past five months to demand that al-Abadi replace his Cabinet with independent “technocrats” mandated with fighting corruption.
In April, the firebrand cleric froze the activities of his Ahrar bloc (which holds 34 of parliament’s 328 seats), effectively thwarting a parliamentary vote on whether or not to sack the president, prime minister and parliamentary speaker.