Cleric In Iraq Calls On His Armed Supporters To Withdraw

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After two days of violent clashes that jeopardized the country’s stability and politics, cleric Muktada al-Sadr (48) on Tuesday called on his supporters to vacate the government building where they had gathered.

Baghdad: Armed supporters of a powerful Iraqi cleric who clashed with security forces have begun a retreat (Iraq calls on his armed supporters to withdraw), raising hopes of a restoration of peace. 

After two days of violent clashes that jeopardized the country’s stability and politics, cleric Muktada al-Sadr (48) on Tuesday called on his supporters to vacate the government building where they had gathered. 

Within minutes the call seemed to have an effect and some supporters were seen removing their tents and walking back from the area known as the ‘Green Zone’.

The cleric’s supporters packed their belongings and were seen leaving on the truck. They have left a lot of garbage near the Iraqi parliament building. Supporters of al-Sadr had gathered here for four days. 

Iraq’s military has also announced the end of the nationwide curfew, raising hopes of averting the immediate problem. However, the major political crisis still persists. Al-Sadr’s decision to ease tensions has raised questions about how rival factions will resolve the issues of dissolving parliament and holding elections ahead of time.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Khadimi said in a speech on Tuesday that he would resign from his post if the political crisis persisted. 

Demonstrators supporting al-Sadr’s rivals have also ended demonstrations around the government area. In the election held in October last year, al-Sadr’s party won the most seats but fell short of forming a majority government. 

Since then there have been clashes between al-Sadr’s Shia supporters and his Iran-backed Shia opponents, which turned violent on Monday.

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