News / Middle East

    Muqtada al-Sadr Calls for New Iraqi Government Members

    FILE - Iraqi Shi'ite radical leader Muqtada al-Sadr delivers a sermon to worshippers during Friday prayers at the Kufa mosque near Najaf, Dec. 11, 2015.
    FILE - Iraqi Shi'ite radical leader Muqtada al-Sadr delivers a sermon to worshippers during Friday prayers at the Kufa mosque near Najaf, Dec. 11, 2015.
    Edward Yeranian

    Thousands of supporters of Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr held what they billed as a “joint” Sunni-Shi'ite prayer service Friday outside the main entrances to the government-controlled “Green Zone.”  Sadr has given Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi a Saturday deadline to carry out governmental “reform” and install a new Cabinet composed of technocrats instead of political loyalists.

    It was the sixth consecutive Friday that supporters of Iraq's mercurial Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr protested in central Baghdad to demand government reform.  The mostly Shi'ite crowd chanted slogans and listened to a sermon by Sadr ally Sheikh Asad al-Nasiri.

    Nasiri repeated a Sadr ultimatum to Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi that the Iraqi leader has until Saturday to present a new government to parliament.  Nasiri also threatened to raise the stakes against lawmakers.

    He says his supporters want to see the prime minister come up with convincing, new reforms, including an independent government of technocrats, with new ministers loyal to the people and not to the political parties which are battling to dominate the political arena.

    Nasiri pledged to support Prime Minister Abadi if he goes ahead and presents the new government to parliament, but warned of the potential wrath of demonstrators if the legislators vote down the new administration.

    A member of the parliamentary committee vetting potential candidates for the government positions told Iraqi state TV that ministers will be required to have strong experience:

    He says the committee is requiring ministerial candidates to have a higher degree in their field of specialization and at least 15 years of experience, as well as a plan of action.

    Hilal Khashan, who teaches political science at the American University of Beirut, tells VOA that he thinks authentic reform will require more than a new government of technocrats.

    "The new Iraqi political system was modeled after Lebanon's.  That is: a confessional political system, based on sectarian and ethnic accommodation.  The political system in itself invites corruption.  So, unless we deal with the political question and the future of Iraq as a nation-state, dealing with corruption is a waste of time," said Khashan.

    Iraqi TV indicated that Prime Minister Abadi has spent the past 24 hours meeting with the country's top political leaders to win their approval for his new government. 

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    by: meanbill from: USA
    March 25, 2016 5:20 PM
    Iraq's political problems are exactly like the US political problems, where the politicians are more loyal to their own political parties than to the people and government? .. But remember? .. The US helped set up the Iraqi political system, didn't they? .. was it created to fail? .. and now the US is helping the Iraqis with advice and military training? .. while still sitting at the other table with their enemies?

    by: Doug Tucker from: USA
    March 25, 2016 4:39 PM
    We should have arrested al-Sadr 13 years ago. But we should have also "occupied' Iraq, as an occupational Army after invading it. Shows what happens when leaders fail to complete the tasks at hand.
    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    March 26, 2016 4:13 AM
    Shows how Saudi/Turkish puppets like Hillary Clinton or the Bush clan who voted and decided to invade Iraq in 2003, should have never been elected to office, as they serve Saudi/Turkish interests instead of interests of the US and the American people.

    Hillary Clinton is still serving Saudis/Turks by repeating a demand for a no-fly zone in Syria and "assuring Arabs and the Turks" that the US (ultimately the US people) will pay for their security and illegal wars (Like the one in Yemen or Turkey sponsoring ISIS).

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