With Iraq celebrating its most recent declaration of victory over ISIS, key Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has given a public speech urging his fighters across most of the country to disarm and cede their territory to the government.
This is roughly in line with Sadr’s previous actions, mobilizing and demobilizing his militia instead of leaving it as a standing force like some other groups. After the US withdrawal from Iraq, Sadr had similarly disarmed much of his militia, only to call for their reformation when the ISIS war kicked off.
This call doesn’t see the totally dismantling of the militia, however, with Sadr saying that some will remain active to guard the main shrine in Samarra, a key Shi’ite site often targeted by Sunni Islamist factions.
Though the US is always critical of everything Sadr does, this ironically is in keeping with US wishes, as top Trump officials have called on all Shi’ite militias in Iraq to totally disarm, despite the Iraqi government opposing such a move, and most militias having ruled out such a possibility.