Al-Jazeera Net correspondents
Baghdad – There were many readings and opinions about the reasons why the leader of the Sadrist movement, Muqtada al-Sadr , suspended his political movement for a year, and closed his official account on Twitter, between Al-Sadr's assertion that it is a step to fight what he called the corrupters within the joints of the movement, and opinions that it may be to rearrange the cards internally and prepare for his rejection Attempts to bring it back into the political process, at a time when others see it as a preemptive step that came to block the road to external attempts that planned to dismantle the movement by discrediting it by supporting a group in it carrying what was described as an “extremist religious claim.”
Who are the "people of the case"?
Recently, a group calling itself "People of the Cause" broadcast video recordings on social media, in which it saw in al-Sadr the "embodiment" of one of the holy Shiite imams, which angered al-Sadr and prompted him to announce the freezing of the movement, saying – in his tweet on Twitter – "to be A reformer for Iraq, and I cannot reform the Sadrist movement, for this is a sin, and for me to continue to lead the Sadrist movement, and there are (the people of the cause) and some of the corrupt, and there are some sins in it, for this is a serious matter.
Hours after al-Sadr's recent moves, the Iraqi security authorities arrested 65 accused members of the "people of the case" on charges of promoting ideas that cause strife and disturb social security, according to a statement by the country's Supreme Judicial Council.
Two days ago, the Sadrist movement canceled – by direct order from its leader – the Kufa Ramadan mosque in Najaf Governorate (south) after publishing these video recordings, which the Sadrist movement considered issued by a deviant ideological group known as "the people of the cause."
Muqtada al-Sadr retired from politics 9 times within 9 years, the last of which was in August of last year, after his supporters sat inside the Iraqi parliament and stormed the Republican Palace, and acts of violence in the Green Zone ended in clashes with armed factions opposed to him, which resulted in the fall of Many dead and wounded.
Al-Sadr is known to have a large public and supportive base, through which he can raise the concerns of the political class opposing him, especially the Coordinating Framework Coalition, and this comes through the movement’s ability to mobilize thousands of his followers and move their compass in the direction he wants within hours.
Recitals and messages
In order to find out the details and reasons for the Sadrist withdrawal, the Al-Jazeera Net correspondent contacted 3 of the leaders of the movement, but they apologized for the statement, in compliance with the directives of Al-Sadr, which stipulated not to speak to the media since his withdrawal from the political scene, with a prominent member of the movement confirming that the decision to freeze came for reasons More religious than political.
Speaking to Al-Jazeera Net, the Sadrist spokesman – on condition of anonymity for special reasons – confirms that the freezing decision came to respond to sedition attempts supported by an external party that is trying to discredit and dismantle the current to dismantle it by supporting a group that calls itself "the people of the cause," commenting, "the exaggeration of the people of the cause that She saw in al-Sadr that he was the imam of the argument, which annoyed the leader of the movement a lot, which prompted him to freeze his movement for fear of their deviation in a way that might expand further and threaten even the Shiite component.
– Muqtada Al-Sayed Muhammad Al-Sadr (@Mu_AlSadr) April 13, 2023
For his part, Issam al-Faili, a professor of political science at Al-Mustansiriya University, believes that al-Sadr wanted, with the decision to freeze his movement, to convey a message to the political parties that he is trying to fight all forms of deviation and corruption, whether political or ideological, as he put it.
And he points out that what the "Ahl al-Qada'a" group put forward completely intersects with the Islamic faith in general and the Shi'ite faith in particular, commenting in his interview with Al-Jazeera Net, "Therefore, al-Sadr found the group's idea a departure from religion and belief, and it did not belong to his movement or to his father's name, so in any connection."
As for the political level, Al-Faili believes that there is a connection between Al-Sadr's latest step and the performance of the government of Prime Minister Muhammad Shia'a Al-Sudani through the existence of what he described as "harmony" between them, especially with regard to addressing inherited problems and corruption files, and this coincided with talk of imminent changes in " The current government cabinet and the replacement of some ministers, he said.
Despite this, Al-Faili concludes his speech to Al-Jazeera Net by pointing out that the keys to returning to political activity will remain in the hands of Al-Sadr, based – according to his opinion – on the nature of the internal situation, in addition to his ability to confront some parties accused of corruption, according to him.
Locking the doors
Meanwhile, the head of the Baghdad Center for Strategic Studies, Manaf al-Moussawi, describes the freezing decision as a "real reform process" within the movement, and that it is a step that al-Sadr has been following for a long time by carrying out reforms, whether by freezing or stopping political or military action within his movement, especially when there is errors.
However, al-Moussawi – who is close to the Sadrist movement – does not hide that the decision also came to close all doors to the pressures that al-Sadr may be exposed to in order to return to the political process and participate in the provincial elections that are scheduled to be held at the end of this year.
Regarding the possibility that al-Sadr's recent decision stems from an attempt to raise his hand and his responsibility for any public and popular anger that may occur during the coming period, al-Moussawi does not rule that out, explaining – in his interview with Al-Jazeera Net – that it is a deep and clear reading from al-Sadr by raising his hand from the political process and the government, especially With pressures being exerted against him from within and outside the movement to return him to the political process.
And whether it is possible for al-Sadr to suspend the freezing of his current and return to his political or religious activity before the end of the period he specified, Mahmoud Ezzo, a professor of political science at the University of Mosul, answers that it is impossible to predict the possible decisions that al-Sadr will take, whether related to returning to practicing public life or staying on Freezing condition.
The academic spokesman indicates that the Sadrist movement suffers from the existence of opinions that could be considered "extremist" in relation to the Shiite Jaafari Twelver jurisprudence system, as a result of the absence of the main role of Sadr due to the freezing processes that constantly affect prominent figures in it.