Key Iraq Cleric Sadr Says Militias Should Stand Down

Says militias should avoid military action, refrain from extreme rhetoric

Influential Iraqi Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, head of the largest bloc in parliament, has issued a statement Wednesday calling on all Shi’ite militias to “stand down” as the US and Iran work to deescalate tensions.

Sadr also said that the militias should not start any new military actions, and should refrain from any extremist rhetoric within their ranks. Sadr also called for a new, stronger Iraqi government to protect the nation’s sovereignty.

Sadr expressed support for expelling foreign troops from Iraq, but said the country should be patient, and use political, parliamentary, and international methods to accomplish this.

Sadr has long been an advocate of Iraq forging an independent path away from the US and Iran, and with Iraq’s top priority being to avoid becoming the battlefield of a US-Iran War, it makes sense that he wants to avoid the militias doing anything to restart the fighting now that things might finally be calming down.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.