Iranian state-censored media outlets have been universally blaming Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr for recent unrest in Iraq that has surged since he announced he was leaving politics. In doing so, they are conveniently forgetting that Sadr was Iran’s creation tasked with wreaking havoc on the U.S. military in Iraq. Now, Frankenstein’s monster has turned against his previous masters, giving the Islamic Republic a taste of its own medicine.
- August 30: Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Cyber Army released an analysis by political analyst Ahmad Qadiri, who blamed Sadr’s personality and psyche for the unrest in Iraq: “I find Muqtada al-Sadr a frivolous, hyperactive, impatient, and combative megalomaniac, who does anything to achieve fame and visibility.” Qadiri provided two main explanations for Sadr’s resignation from politics and the ensuing unrest: First, he suggested it was an emotional reaction to a clerical slight from Shia source of emulation Grand Ayatollah Kadhim al-Haeri, who, announcing his retirement from clerical life, implicitly declared Sadr unqualified for religious leadership. Second, he suggested it was a deceptive tactical move by Sadr not to be held responsible for the power demonstration of his followers and for him to prepare for a return to power.
- August 31: IRGC mouthpiece Javan condemned Sadr, writing “The realm of politics is not a place for youngsters, who engage in fratricidal trial and error.”
- August 31: Centrist Vatan-e Emrooz’s largely descriptive account of the unrest in Iraq was adorned with a large photo of Haeri bearing the headline: “The sources of emulation are the saviors of Iraq.”
- August 31: Reformist Shargh suggested that Sadr can “potentially represent a considerable part of society in the struggle against state institutions in Iraq, but he has no evident answer to the political crisis in that country. Calling for revolution and popular unity may prevent formation of a Cabinet in Iraq but does not satisfy demands of millions of unhappy Iraqis.”
- August 31: Hard-line newspaper Kayhan, commenting on Sadr urging his supporters to abandon street protests, wrote: “For now, calm has returned to Iraq … however, Iraq, because of its particular sociopolitical structure, is full of centrifugal forces, which do not subject themselves to a central government or to law and order … The enemy can take advantage of this. The Americans, Zionists, and other enemies may even take advantage … of Muqtada al-Sadr’s psyche to further polarize Iraq and perhaps provoke conflicts between Iraq and its neighbors.”