Home > Conflict & Security, Middle East, Politics > Al-Sadr Grows His Power Base

Al-Sadr Grows His Power Base

Alissa J. Rubinin writes in Scotland on Sunday:

months of lying low, the anti-American Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has re-emerged with a shrewd two-tiered strategy that reaches out to Iraqis on the street and distances him from the increasingly unpopular government.

Al-Sadr and his political allies have largely disengaged from government, thus contributing to a political paralysis. His outsider status has enhanced al-Sadr’s appeal to Iraqis, who consider politics less and less relevant to their daily lives.

Al-Sadr has been working tirelessly to build support at the grass roots, opening new shopfront offices across Baghdad and southern Iraq which dispense services not being provided by the government. In this he seems to be following the model established by Hezbollah, the radical Lebanese Shi’ite group, as well as Hamas in Gaza, with entwined social and military wings that serve as a parallel government.

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