Muqtada al-Sadr’s return to Iraq will worsen situation
Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan. 6 / Trend N.Guliyev /
The political differences and a lot of conflicts in Iraq could further worsen with the return of radical Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr, British Anti-terrorist Committee head Kamal al-Halbavi said.
"Problems in Iraq are increasing and becoming more complicated, and Muqtada al-Sadr's arrival will exacerbate the situation in Iraq," al-Halbavi said.
Al-Sadr has returned to Iraq after more than three years of absence, the France-Presse Agency reported on Wednesday, adding that he had been greeted in his native city of Najaf.
Al-Sadr has been gaining popularity thanks to the militant organization Mahdi Army, led by him. In 2003, his followers, the Sadrists, began to engage in armed clashes with coalition forces led by the United States.
The fighting continued until Aug. 2008, when the leader of the Mahdi Army ordered his followers to lay down their arms. The organization itself, however, was not disbanded, having a significant influence on Iraqi politics.
In 2005, the Sadrists bloc managed to enter the national parliament within the United Iraqi Alliance.
Al-Halbavi said the problem in Iraq was not only the existence of the Sadrists and the various paramilitary groups, but "the main problem of Iraq is that so far it has not been able to emerge as a strong sovereign state."