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Sadr: Terrorism rules Iraq - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Shiite cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr speaks during a press conference in the Shi'ite holy city of Najaf. (AP Photo/ Alaa al-Marjani)

Shiite cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr speaks during a press conference in the Shi’ite holy city of Najaf. (AP Photo/ Alaa al-Marjani)

Najaf, Asharq Al-Awsat—In an exclusive interview with Asharq Al-Awsat the head of Shi’ite Sadr Movement Moqtada Al-Sadr said that Iraq is ruled by terrorism, and predicted that the situation will worsen in the near future.

“Iraq today is at the height of danger and has become a prisoner of terrorism, extremism and violence,” Sadr told Asharq Al-Awsat.

“Iraq is under the rule of terrorism, bombing cars, murder and bloodshed,” he said, adding, “This is how Iraq is and this is the situation it is in.”

The Shi’ite leader accused the country’s prime minister, Nouri Al-Maliki, of being a failure, claiming that Iraq needs a “father-like ruler,” instead of Maliki whom he expected would attempt to remain in power for a “third or perhaps fourth term… or even forever.”

According to Sadr, Maliki owes his position to the “[Independent High] Electoral Commission, aides, domestic and foreign support and the presence of political plans and new alliances with the Kurds or Sunnis.”

Sadr also predicted that the general elections scheduled for next year would be delayed until further notice or be completely cancelled, and did not rule out the enactment of martial or emergency laws to enable Maliki remain in power.

The controversial Shi’ite figure said from the onset he did not support Maliki’s nomination to the premiership, and that he pushed hard for the nomination of the head of the Iraqi List Iyad Allawi or the former Vice-President Adil Abdul-Mahdi.

Sadr said that he finally gave in to Maliki taking office due to the pressure he was placed under.

He also praised relations with Saudi Arabia, revealing to Asharq Al-Awsat his intention to visit Bahrain in a bid to establish a middle ground and “banish the specter of sedition.”

Responding to accusations that Iran was interfering in Iraq’s domestic affairs, Sadr agreed, saying: “Iran admits and does not conceal this issue; everyone seeks to support their country and it is well-known that controlling Iraq will support Iran and its policy.”

The full text of Asharq Al-Awsat’s interview with Moqtada Al-Sadr will be published in English soon.