What’s Mahdi Army? The group Iraqi cleric wants to reactivate after Soleimani murdering
New Delhi: The US attack that killed as action against each other is now threatening, Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad on 3 January is set to have major repercussions in West Asia.
But one that many did not anticipate, another fallout of the Donald Trump government’s decision, is the dreaded Mahdi Army led by the Shia cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr’s resurrection.
In a tweet after Soleimani was killed, al-Sadr expressed his condolences to Iran as well as to the Shia-majority country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, also said the Mahdi Army is willing to’protect Iraq’ if American forces attack Iran’s next-door neighbour.
In an effort the 45-year-old al-Sadr even seen Soleimani’s house in Tehran.
Meanwhile, pre-empting a retaliation by Iran and attack on the 6,000-strong US military contingent in Iraq, US President Donald Trump has said America will attack 52 important sites in Iran’very quickly and very hard’.
What’s the Mahdi Army?
The Mahdi Army was founded by al-Sadr in the June of the year with the purpose of throwing away forces.
It started with the recruitment of almost 500 young students from several madrasas in Sadr City area of Baghdad, which was Hussein’s power center.
According to Muqtada al-Sadr, Patrick Cockburn’s book and the Fall of Iraq, the cleric’s only claim to fame was the family he belonged to. Both father-in-law and his father were revered as martyrs as Hussein and his men killed them.
‘Sadr’s overarching objective is to meet the heritage of the martyred male relatives to whom he owes his status.’
Al-Sadr believed that never was, although it was his time to rule Iraq after Saddam was overthrown by US forces in 2003. Al-Sadr, nevertheless, continued to maintain tensions alive in the country.
It was a force that came to be identified with’death squads and cleansing’, Cockburn says in his book, including this is one of the reasons and Iraq could not be ruled by him.
Al-Sadr disbanded the Mahdi Army to revive it.
The nomenclature of his Mahdi Army also changed to’Saraya al Salam’ and revived it to combat ISIS.
In 2016, as the militias and Iraqi security forces ready to retake Mosul in the Islamic State, Sadr threatened to attack U.S. troops with his militia if additional soldiers were not deployed to aid in the fight.