Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Sadrists Attack Their Rivals Before Iraq’s Dec Election

(Bas News)

Iraq's provincial elections are just around the corner and things continue to deteriorate. The latest is the Sadrists attacking their political rivals.

On December 6 followers of Moqtada al-Sadr went after the Hikma list led by Ammar Hakim. This came after a Hikma candidate criticized the Sadrists accusing them of undermining the elections with its boycott. In response Sadr's men attacked Hikma offices in three neighborhoods in Baghdad and in Diyala and Basra. They also tore down and burned Hikma election posters.

This is not the first time Sadr and Hakim have confronted each other. In 2022 Hikma condemned the Sadrists for storming the Green Zone during negotiations over forming a new government. That led to Hikma buildings being sacked in Baghdad, Wasit, Babil and Basra. 

Hakim and Sadr have moved back and forth between allies and enemies. They were the main supporters of Prime Minister Haidar Abadi and cooperated in provincial councils. Before that however the two clerical families were intense opponents vying for control of the Shiite community. During the U.S. occupation they fought off and on across the south.

Currently they are on opposite sides. Hakim decided to join the Coordination Framework which out maneuvered Sadr to form the Sudani government.

There are fears that there might be more political violence as the vote nears. The Sadrists have nothing to lose since they are not taking part. Sadr is hoping that his non-participation will undermine the validity of the election and his actions against Hikma could be another event to deter people from casting their ballots. 

SOURCES

Al Aalem, "Observers warn of the return of armed clashes ... and the Coordination Framework describes attacking the Sadrists as imposing wills by force," 12/7/23

Bas News, "Sadr's Supporters Storm Hikma Headquarters in Baghdad," 12/6/23

Al Mada, "The elections await a decisive week ... Sadrist movement and a challenge to extend the mandate of the Election Commission," 12/7/23

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