Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr has rejected an invitation from the leader of the Fatah Alliance, Hadi Al-Amiri, to take part in dialogue. First, insisted Al-Sadr, Al-Amiri must withdraw from the Coordination Framework. This is being seen as a major split in Shia ranks in Iraq, arguably the first since the US installed them after the 2003 invasion and occupation.
“The Coordination Framework’s calls for dialogue are a new attempt to deceive,” said Al-Sadr’s official spokesman Salah Al-Obeidi, “and the instincts of the leaders of the framework prompted them to bypass their own project that they proposed, which is that the next government should be purely for independents, more than a month before the resignation of the Sadrist bloc.”
Al-Amiri called on Monday for both the Sadrist movement and the Coordination Framework to get involved in dialogue aimed at calming the situation and warding off strife. He called on both sides to “employ logic, reason, wisdom, and restraint, and to find solutions to the differences between them through serious and constructive dialogue.”
Since the followers of the Sadrist movement stormed the parliament building for the first time on Wednesday, Iraqi forces from various political blocs, and regional and international parties, have continued to call for calm and non-escalation between the Sadrist movement and the Coordination Framework.
The latter is Sadr’s rival and an umbrella group of Shia groups in Iraq aligned with Iran. Al-Sadr believes that Iran has too much influence in Iraqi politics. Some observers believe that the current unrest could lead to civil war.