Baghdad: Thousands of demonstrators are holding demonstrations in capital Baghdad and the city of Basra in Iraq against the pro-Iranian government in the country, with slogans of ‘No to war’ and ‘Yes to Iraq’. The protestors are demanding that the Iraqi government should stay away from the dispute between the United States and Iran. The supporters of the influential Shia leader, Muqtada Al-Sadr are leading the demonstrations.
‘Iraq is still recovering from the onslaught of the terrorist organisation, ISIS. In the current scenario, the United States and Iran should not be allowed to use Iraq as a military base,’ protestors in Iraq demand. The protests held by Al-Sadr, during the visit of Iranian Foreign Minister Jawad Zarif, are considered to be a warning for the Iraqi government.
Al-Sadr was known to be pro-Iranian and a staunch anti-US leader in Iraq. He had previously demanded the United States withdraw its military from Iraq. However, in the last few years, his stance has shifted significantly, and he started bitterly opposing the increasing Iranian influence in Iraq. The Shia leader has accused Iran of using Iraq and accused the current Iraqi government of being pro-Iranian. Al-Sadr has appealed to the Iraqi people to support nationalism, discarding the Iranian influence. Furthermore, the Iraqi population has overwhelmingly responded to Al-Sadr’s appeal.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, who had recently visited Iraq, also directed the Iraqi leaders to stay away from Iran and had warned that Iran was using the country against the United States.