Protests Resume in Iraq’s Sadr City After Govt Promises

Demonstrations continue as army is ordered elsewhere

Protesters return to the streets of Sadr City, a major Shi’ite district in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, clearly unfazed by promises from the Abdul Mahdi government for reforms, and the removal of the military from the area after large numbers of civilian casualties.

Protesters continue to demand the resignation of the existing government and fresh elections, echoing the position of powerful cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who is very influential in this area.

President Salih condemned excessive violence against protesters, and the army was ordered replaced with the police in the violent area. Abdul Mahdi announced a second series of reforms on Tuesday, hoping to offer something short of resignation that the protesters will accept.

Sadr City’s ties to politically important figures makes resolving protests there particularly important, but what started in Baghdad is a problem across the entire country. Large civilian casualties clearly fueled a lot of anger, and it’s going to take a lot to placate that.

MPs appear strongly supportive of passing all these concessions, worrying that they, too, will lose out in the event of fresh elections. A number of analysts, however, and US officials, have said they believe it may be too late to prevent early elections.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.