By Omar Sattar for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.
Iraq's firebrand Shiite cleric presents his political successor
In a meeting with the ministers of defense and interior in Muqtada al-Sadr's Najaf office May 3, Sadr's nephew Ahmed al-Sadr stood directly behind his uncle in what was taken as the younger Sadr's introduction as the second-highest authority of the Sadrist movement after Muqtada al-Sadr himself.
A few weeks ago, Ahmed al-Sadr appeared on the Iraqi scene as the head of the Sadrist movement's reform committee, introducing its political agendas and plans for the post-Islamic State period.
The Sadrist movement presented its strategies at the end of April to Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, President Fuad Masum, parliament Speaker Salim al-Jabouri, Kurdistan Regional Government President Massoud Barzani and former President Jalal Talabani.
The Sadrist movement has long been closely associated with the civil movement, having forged an alliance at the start of the demonstrations calling for reform that broke out in 2015.
Ahmed al-Sadr is the son of Muqtada al-Sadr's brother Mustafa al-Sadr. Ahmed al-Sadr was born in Najaf in 1986 but did not receive a religious education in traditional Shiite schools. Instead he was guided and supported by his uncle, who sent him to Lebanon to major in political science at Beirut University, where he completed a master’s degree.
Ahmed al-Sadr returned to Iraq and made public appearances a few days after Muqtada al-Sadr's announcement that he had received death threats March 24 from what he called the “trinity parties,” people involved with the US occupation, terrorism and corruption. He subsequently had to delegate powers to his aides.
As a result, Ahmed al-Sadr was appointed to head the recently formed committee to administer the Sadrist initiatives for political reform and the post-liberation period. He began with meeting with several Iraqi leaders.