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Indybay Feature
Mon Apr 9 2007 (Updated 04/11/07)
Iraqi Shias Protest US Occupation in Najaf
Iraqis Protest Occupation On 4th Anniversary Of Baghdad's Fall
On April 9th, up to one million Iraqi Shias marched from Kufa to Najaf in a mass demonstration calling for US-led troops to leave Iraq. The protest was called by Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr for the four year anniversary of when US troops entered Baghdad. Many demonstrators carried Iraq flags and some burned US flags chanting "No, no, no to America... Moqtada, yes, yes, yes." Read More

Sadr did not personally appear in Najaf, but issued a statement asking Iraqis not to "walk alongside the occupiers, because they are your arch enemy". Sadr went on to say that, "[t]he armies of darkness represented by the Occupation forces, and more especially the great evil, America, have begun sowing the seeds of comflict, whether openly or through their agents--who have sold their land and their honor. We behold the turmoil taking place in Diwaniya, which the Occupier planned out to turn brotherhood into struggle and fighting."

Juan Cole writes that while "some journalists are writing that al-Sadr called for violent attacks on US troops, the communique he released on Sunday simply says that Iraqi Army troops and Mahdi Army militiamen should not fight one another and should not allow the Americans to manipulate them."

The WSWS reports:
The armed resistance, repeated opinion polls, and Monday’s demonstration all highlight the dominant sentiment among the Iraqi masses, which is for the immediate expulsion of all foreign troops. The occupation is viewed as the main factor behind the sectarian conflict raging between rival Shiite and Sunni organisations and the intra-Shiite communalist tensions, as well as the cause of the immense social deprivation and suffering being endured by millions of people.
The reality in Iraq is that any genuinely democratic election would result in the victory of forces opposed to the US presence, with the Sadrists being one of the main beneficiaries. While Sadr’s movement has largely cooperated with the US occupation since ending a short-lived rebellion during 2004, it has retained and expanded its support only by continuing to articulate the anti-occupation sentiment of its predominantly working class social base.

After mass protest in Iraq: US forces press attack on Sadrist movement | Al-Sadr bloc threatens to leave Iraq government | Hundreds of thousands march in Iraq to demand end of US occupation | Thousands of Sadrist Demonstrators Come to Najaf | Iraqis flock to Najaf for anti-U.S. protest | Iraqis Wish to Put up Saddam's Statue | Al-Sadr calls for anti-US protests | The regrets of the man who brought down Saddam

Previous Indybay Coverage of Moqtada Sadr:

2007: Al-Sadr: Baghdad Security Plan Is Doomed | Mystery of Muqtada al-Sadr's Disappearance | Freed Sadr aide meets Iraq's PM | Al-Sadr ends parliamentary boycott | Sadr: The man who now holds Iraq's future in his hands | Muqtada al-Sadr and the Sunnis

2006: "Long Live Sadr" at Saddam Hanging | Al-Sadr set to rejoin government | US reort says Mahdi Army biggest threat to Iraqi security | US seeks Shiite collaboration in attack on Moqtada al-Sadr | Iraq's Sadr bloc in Bush protest | Muqtada Calls on al-Maliki to Boycott Washington over Israeli Assault on Lebanon | Muqtada Emerging as Kingmaker

2005: Iraqi Resistance Spreads South Into Shia Areas | Iraqis Meet To Discuss Ways To End Occupation | Tens Of Thousands Take To The Streets Of Baghdad To Denounce US Occupation

2004: Najaf Siege Comes To An End | Sadr's Uprising Re-Ignites | Polls show widespread support for Sadr as fighting ends in Karbala and Najaf | Battles in Najaf and Karbala Could Spark A Shi'ite Civil War | Unrest In Iraq Spreads As Bloodbath Looms In Najaf and Fallujah | Iraqi Intifada: Shia and Sunni Unite | Iraq Profile: Moqtada al-Sadr | US shuts down anti-occupation Iraqi newspaper

2003: Letter from Baghdad | The Rise of an Anti-American Army in Iraq | 200,000 Iraqis on the streets: "Iraq for the Iraqis" | Robert Fisk: For the people on the streets, this is not liberation but a new colonial oppression | Iraqis Chant No Bush, No Saddam, Yes Islam | Robert Fisk on Baghdad Uprising
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