06/25/2022 Iraq (International Christian Concern) – Iraq’s powerful Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr led a Parliamentary resignation of 73 legislators, leaving the Iran-backed Shiite factions in control of the government to elect a new president. After the Sadrist Movement won the largest block in the October 2021 elections, alliances were formed to select a new leader, a task that was unsuccessful due to the Coordination Framework, a coalition of Iranian-backed groups.
Al-Sadr’s resignation comes just after he pledged to continue the ad hoc committee that was created in 2021 to return the expropriated property to Christians and religious minority communities. After Christians began fleeing the country in 2003, leaving behind their homes, shops, and property, their assets were taken over by militants and mafias in the regions. The recent announcement by al-Sadr included an expansion of the program, including three new members of the body. Some 120 properties have been returned to Christians and minorities since the start of the committee.
The fate of the committee remains unclear as the Sadrist resignation throws Iraq’s Parliament into disarray. Some speculation suggests that al-Sadr’s first step down from parliament since his entry in 2005 is to encourage public outrage and spark protests this summer. The Iranian-backed groups have since selected replacements, though al-Sadr accused the proxies of political meddling, saying, “I call on blocs to stand bravely for the sake of reform and saving the nation, and not to give in to sectarian pressures, as they are bubbles which will disappear.”
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