Iraqi Cleric Sadr Revives Mahdi Army After Deadly US Attack

Orders fighters from Mahdi Army to 'be ready'

Influential Shi’ite cleric and leader of the top political bloc in Iraq Moqtada al-Sadr has announced Friday that he is reactivating his paramilitary group, the Mahdi Army, issuing a statement on Twitter telling them to “be ready.”

The Mahdi Army was a major faction from the US occupation of Iraq in 2003 until 2007, when they made a deal with the Iraqi government to disband. Sadr has at times suggested he would reform the militia to ensure the US complied with pullout dates.

Sadr has long opposed the Iraqi government’s reliance on both Iran and the US, and the reconstitution of the Mahdi Army is a response to recent US attacks against other Shi’ite militias.

The Mahdi Army previously existed before the establishment of the government-run PMU force, and it is unclear if it will consider itself aligned with them, or will simply operate independently, as it used to.

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.