What did controversial Iraqi Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr mean when he issued on May 27 “a final warning to the government to assume its duty of protecting the people”?
Political observers in Iraq were expecting one of the most prominent Shiite leaders opposed to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to leave the Iraqi National Alliance, and [thus] end the political majority of the Shiite forces in the country.
Sadr’s call came after a series of bloody acts of violence, including 10 car bombs that targeted Shiite neighborhoods in the capital and resulted in the killing of at least 70 people. Sadr said in the statement that “terrorism has influence and control in Iraq. They (militants) frequently step up their bombings, which are met by mere condemnation or silence by all parties.”
He added that “the people are now without a government to protect them and are facing terrorism without help from anyone.” The Shiite leader called on Iraqis to “eliminate hatred from the hearts, defuse sectarian rancor, and return to God.”
“As for the government, it must prosecute and expel incompetent and disloyal members of the security corps who are only after power and recognition,” he added.