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Iraq is in chaos and nearing civil war. Violent protests in Baghdad over al-Sadr’s abandonment of political life increase and target pro-Iran militias
Iraq is in chaos and the situation could quickly deteriorate. Supporters of Moqtada al-Sadr took to the streets on August 29 in Baghdad and first invaded the Presidential Palace. Then, they lined up in and around the Green Zone, arming themselves and began attacking targets linked to pro-Iranian Shiites. In particular, several Hashd al-Shaabi (PMU) offices were set on fire both in the capital and in other regions. Primarily in Basra where the former Mahdi Army and the imam are stronger. The cause is al-Sadr’s announcement of his definitive retirement from politics, as he failed to form a government nearly a year after his electoral triumph. This, mainly because of Tehran’s Shiites allies, headed by former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who have blocked any attempt to force the internal “rival” to comply with their demands in vain.
For now, the army is limited to containing the violence, but muscular reactions and revenge by the PMU are feared
The first hint of the growing nervousness of al-Sadr supporters was their raid on Parliament in June, interrupted only after the intervention of the imam. Then, there were some skirmishes and, finally, the armed invasion of the streets of Baghdad has arrived in these hours. The situation is extremely fragile and dangerous. There is a risk that the clashes will suddenly escalate and that soon there will be carnage. In fact, the army has so far intervened only marginally, trying to contain the protests rather than stop them. However, if the government decides to adopt a more muscular response, the clashes would soon turn into battles. Furthermore, there is the question of PMUs, involved in the fightings. The pro-Iran militias will certainly seek revenge for the attacks suffered and it is not excluded that in the next few hours they will not go into counterattack, trying to hit the enemies. In that case, the step towards a civil war would be very short.