Al-Sadr threatens 'open war'

Shia leader calls on Iraqi government to end security crackdown.

    Al-Sadr, whose militia controls areas of Basra and Baghdad, has threatened a 'war until liberation' [AFP]
    The Mahdi Army, al-Sadr's own force, is concentrated in both the areas.

     

    Iraqi alliance

    Al-Sadr also accused the Iraqi government of being too close to the US military.

    Your Views

    After five years, was the Iraq war worth it?



    Send us  your views

    "The occupation has made us target of its planes, tanks, air strikes and snipers. Without our support this government would not have been formed," he said.

    "But with its alliance with the occupier [the Iraqi government] is not independent and sovereign as we would like it to be."

    Iraqi security forces moved against Shia militia groups in Basra on March 25, on the order of Nuri al-Maliki, Iraq's prime minister, himself a Shia.

    US and British forces gave reconnaissance and tactical support to the Iraqi military during the crackdown, which triggered clashes across Shia areas of Iraq, including Sadr City, al-Sadr's stronghold.

    Although al-Sadr called his Mahdi Army fighters off the streets of Basra soon after the violence, raids by government forces have continued.

    Hundreds of people have been killed and wounded since the operation.

    Right groups criticised

    At least 13 people were killed and 80 injured in Sadr City on Saturday, while Iraqi troops took control of a northern district of Basra.

    Troops entered the Hayaniya district of Basra and took control after several hours, Major-General Abdel Karim Khalaf, an interior ministry spokesman, said.

    Profile


    The Mahdi Army

    "We launched an operation in the morning. There was some exchange of fire. The operation is now over in Hayaniya without any strong resistance," he said.

    Al-Sadr also criticised human right groups in his statement on Saturday.
     
    He said: "Gaza was surrounded and everybody kept quiet. And now it is [Sadr] City and Basra and everybody is quiet.

    "Where are the human rights. Where are the laws you want to adopt for freedom and democracy?"

    The Iraqi and US military are building a security wall through Sadr City.

    The barrier is aimed at stopping fighters from firing rockets towards the capital's heavily fortified Green Zone, where the government and US embassy is situated.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Meet the deported nurse aiding asylum seekers at US-Mexico border

    Meet the deported nurse helping refugees at the border

    Francisco 'Panchito' Olachea drives a beat-up ambulance around Nogales, taking care of those trying to get to the US.

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    How a homegrown burger joint pioneered a food revolution and decades later gave a young, politicised class its identity.

    'We will cut your throats': The anatomy of Greece's lynch mobs

    The brutality of Greece's racist lynch mobs

    With anti-migrant violence hitting a fever pitch, victims ask why Greek authorities have carried out so few arrests.