The protests in Iraq have entered this Friday in its second month, without a prospect of solution. The lack of convincing proposals of the political leaders has only strengthened the determination of protesters to demand a change of system. In the absence of alternatives, the gestures, and steps of some of the leaders are disturbing. While a head of the powerful militia proiraníes has ordered to his men “do in front of discord”, the followers of the populist Muqtada al-Sadr, have been deployed in Tahrir square of Baghdad, the centre of the response.
“We are here to protect the protesters,” says a member of the militia sadrista Brigades of Peace, who does not give his name but shows an identification card with a number. Next to him is a police force for the protection of facilities, whose members have been sent to the protest to “make sure that no one carries guns.” They also do not.
Muqtada al-Sadr, the cleric’s populist political leaders of Iraq are looking for a replacement of the prime minister after protests
In fact, gone are the agents who until Thursday were guarding the access to the plaza by calle Rashid, to the height of the bridge Sinak. In its place, some youth are responsible to prevent the passage of any vehicle other than the ubiquitous tuk tuk. While, on the edge of the Tigris, another group of boys was organized, under the baton of Ali Ibrahim, to make sure that the security forces will not be able to disembark and perform an enveloping maneuver to surround the protesters.
Ibrahim, an officer of 52 years, is described as one more and repeated the same demands that all. But after a while of conversation, he ends up revealing his sympathies (and those of the young people around him, and obey) by the political movement of Al-Sadr. “Muqtada is a son of Iraq, in addition to the son of iraqis,” says contraponiéndolo the rest of the political “mercenaries for Iran”. Overlooked that Al-Sadr also maintains good relations with Tehran. Once more, it gives the impression that this clergyman with aspirations of a man of State wants to co-opt the protests.
After failing in his attempt to make a clamp to the Government of Adel Abdelmahdi, allying itself with its main rival and head of the second block member of parliament, Hadi al-Ameri, Muqtada has been virtually alone. Both parties proiraníes as the block kurdish have decided to support Abdelmahdi while pergeñan an alternative to avoid the power vacuum.
Already in the square, feel the presence of Sadr City, a neighborhood that takes the name of the father of Muqtada, the grand ayatollah Mohammad Mohammad Sadeq al-Sadr, and hacina a fourth part of the seven million inhabitants of Baghdad. The arrival of neighbors of that feud sadrista has resulted in the appearance of banners with the image of the deceased cleric and flags shiites, something that breaks with the character anti-sectarian of the concentration. Also in a greater emphasis on claims economic. Of time, live side by side without problems.
But not everyone can see with good eyes to Muqtada. When last Tuesday he tried to join the protests in Najaf, a city 180 kilometers south of Baghdad that is home to the major seminaries of islam shi’a, was rejected by the protesters. “You try to play all the cards, but it is as the others. What have we done to the ministers who have in the Cabinet for us?” ask Mahmud, whose salary is driving a taxi outside just gives to support his wife and two daughters.
More worrisome for the illusions of Tahrir is the drift-violent protests have been acquired in the south of the country and that some observers attributed to struggles between militias. In Kerbala, the protesters destroyed portraits of the supreme leader of Iran, ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and torched the consulate of that country; in Amarah, a multitude linchó the local leader of a militia that is loyal and in Kut, another group set fire to the home address of a politician is also associated with the neighbouring country.
The Forces of Popular Mobilization (the umbrella under which the Government has made the militias) have threatened to retaliate. In fact, the next day that his number two, Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, ordered his men “to oppose the disagreement,” at least a dozen of protesters (up to 30 according to some sources) were killed in Kerbala by shooting attributed to the militia. The authorities have refused to produce any victims.
Gives the impression that the ruling elites are divided between those who think the protests will dilute by themselves with the passage of the days and those who advocate to end by force with them. What happened in Kerbala and the fact that the iranian leader has recommended to the responsible iraqis to “put remedy to the insecurity and chaos”, it is feared that some protesters that the Government is going to appeal to the militia to evict the square. Despite its rhetoric, it is unlikely that, if this is the case, the men of Muqtada are going to confront Iran.