Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Sadrists And Asaib Ahl Al-Haq Return To Violence In Southern Iraq

(AFP)
The Sadrists and Asaib Ahl Al-Haq have a longtime rivalry which has heated up once again in southern Iraq. After the December 2023 provincial elections the two sides have resorted to violence in an attempt to assert their control.


 

The competition between the two has flared up in Dhi Qar and Maysan. The first report was in the middle of January when there was a confrontation between the Sadrists and Asaib Ahl Al-Haq at a hospital in Nasiriya, Dhi Qar. Gunfire broke up and three people were wounded and 9 arrested by the security forces. Then at the end of the month Asaib Ahl Al-Haq’s headquarters in the Rifai district of Dhi Qar was bombed. More armed clashes have also taken place in the governorate. Last on February 4 a senior commander in Asaib Ahl Al-Haq was gunned down in Maysan.

 

The cause of the current conflict is the fact that Sadr boycotted the vote but still wants to hold power in several provinces. Sadr for instance warned the ruling Coordination Framework not to replace his governor in Maysan. The Framework however wants all new governors.

 

Sadr believed he could delegitimize the election by not participating but all it did was give his enemies in the Framework free reign to take over most of the south. This is just one of many mistakes Sadr has made in his political career.

 

Without having any representatives in the new provincial governments his only resort is to protest and use violence. Asaib Ahl Al-Haq is a natural target since it broke away from the Sadr movement. The two have fought off and on ever since.

 

SOURCES

 

Iraq News Network, “Al-Fatah Alliance: The leaders of the Framework agreed to replace all the governors,” 12/31/23

 

Al Mada, “Before the formation of the local government … signs of settling scores between the armed factions in the cities of Dhi Qar,” 1/30/24

 

Al Rafidain, “Popular Circles In Dhi Qar Warn Of Militia Clashes Creeping Into City Centers,” 2/1/24

- “Al-Sadr Warns The Parties And Militias Of The Coordination Framework Against Seizing Najaf and Maysan Governorates,” 12/23/23

 

Shafaq News, “Assassination of a senior leader in Asaib Ahl al-Haq in Maysan Governorate,” 2/4/24

 

 

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