An Iraqi woman holds a poster of firebrand Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in May 2018. Photo: Ahmed al-Rubaye | AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — The winning list head of Iraq’s May 12 election, Muqtada al-Sadr, is demanding that Iraqi citizens’ demands be fully met, not partially, and that if his criteria for the upcoming government and prime ministry aren’t met, then he will resort to becoming the opposition.
“Besides efforts to politicize the demands and fulfilling them, which is to dig for the root of the ‘Deep State,’ we don’t eliminate the possibility of a corrupt force again taking the helm of authority in Iraq, thus corruption returning with new clothes on,” Sadr, the head of the Sayirun Alliance, said in a statement on Thursday.
Sadr added so far there have only been half and conservative efforts which only partially address the demands of the people.
Protests in Iraq’s southern provinces began on July 9. They spread to the central provinces including Baghdad. Among their list of demands are jobs, an end to corruption, and sharing of oil revenue with the provinces.
Sadr, who historically positions himself as an outsider, added: The return of the corrupt would crush the hopes and demands of the people, and would be throwing out the decisions of Iraq’s Shiite Marja out the window, “thus the people will languish under humiliation, and poverty.”
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and his cabinet have held several meetings promising electricity, fuel, domestic jobs, and water.
“Beware of partial demands that make you lose your rights. Our demand and yours is nothing but to remove the corrupt, for them to be replaced by the strong, courageous and decisive,” Sadr added.
The outspoken Shiite cleric who allied with the Communist Party of Iraq for the election expressed the replacements for the corrupt would transcend sectarian and ethnic lines, rectify what corruption has destroyed, retrieve Iraq’s posture and independence, and eliminate foreign intervention.
“From here I announce, that if most of the conditions aren’t met, by the honorable Jabbar (Allah), I won’t enter into their partisanship and spoil sharing again, and I will take the path of constructive political and popular opposition,” Sadr revealed.
The opposition bloc, into whom Sadr invites all forces “that still love Iraq”, he called the ‘National Salvation Bloc’.
Sadr gave all other blocs 15 days, or up to when manual recount of votes are approved before he decides to become the opposition.
“During the time, I won’t allow assaulting protesters or overlooking their just demands, especially now that Iraq particularly and the region in general fares through difficult circumstances because of the oppressive starvation policies of America for nation,” Sadr said.
Sadr vows he won’t stand and watch while the United States imposes sanctions on people.
Sadr’s statement comes after months of negotiations haven’t led to concrete results in the government formation of Iraq, and the full manual recount of votes hasn’t been officially announced.
Sadr could be sidelined if other top politicians like Hadi al-Amiri, Abadi and Nouri al-Maliki band together.