London, Asharq Al-Awsat – An official in the Sadr movement’s foreign relations office has stressed to Asharq Al-Awsat that its leader, “Muqtada al-Sadr’s approach – and that of his group – is clearly not to interfere in the internal affairs of any state”, adding that “we believe it is the right of the people to decide what they want”.
Speaking to Asharq al-Awsat in London yesterday, Haidar al-Yasiri, public relations officer for the Sadrist foreign relations office, said that: “the Sadrist movement does not support regimes, rather it supports the Arab people”, pointing out that “the trend stood by the people in the Arab Spring uprisings and will not stand with any president or any regime, and therefore it is only the people that determine the trend’s interests”.
These statements come against the backdrop of news leaks reported through Arab media outlets and websites, quoting “sources close” to al-Sadr revealing that Iranian fighters are crossing into Syria via Iraq. Al-Yasiri denied such news, stating: “it is worthwhile here to point out that no one operates under the name of “sources close” to Muqtada al-Sadr, instead there is a spokesman for the cleric, namely Sheikh Salah al-Obeidi”. He noted that “when the trend speaks it uses explicit and declared names and no source can speak in the name of the trend or its leaders without declaring their name, unless they are members of the trend’s liberal bloc in parliament, or operating through Al-Sadr Online”.
The public relations officer went on to say that “the Sadr movement has nothing to hide and the Iraqi, Arab and global public are well aware of Muqtada al-Sadr’s honesty in putting forth the facts without equivocation, and the same goes for members of the trend. Usually, al-Sadr puts forth his views in direct response to questions or media statements. We do not know where these “close sources” came from and if we did, the trend would challenge them through its leader and declare a stance against them”. Al-Yasiri stressed that “the trend stands against interfering in the internal affairs of Arab countries, so how could we know that thousands of Iranian fighters have crossed Iraq into Syria and that some of them have received training in Iraq, according to the news reported in the press?”
Al-Yasiri explained that al-Sadr “does not hide any facts from the people. He recently published his recount of the meetings in Erbil in which he participated. He wrote under the title ‘the noble goal of visiting Erbil’, and revealed secrets that no one else would have known about if he had chosen to keep them secret”.
Al-Yasiri stressed that “the Arab region is undergoing transformations that could have adverse effects on the people of the region if they are not dealt with in a positive spirit, away from inciting sectarianism, which the Sadrist movement stands against and confronts whenever it comes close to plaguing the Iraqis. It is well known that the trend and its leader do not get dragged into sectarian conflicts, which only the innocent victims pay for”. Al-Yasiri went on to say: “we in the Sadr movement’s foreign relations office are moving constantly and working hard to converge views between the Arab states and the countries of the region, irrespective of any sectarian orientations. We are all Muslims and hence we share the blood of our brothers, and that link to our brothers in the Gulf, Jordan, Syria or any other Arab country remains the most profound and entrenched”. He called for “greater accuracy and credibility in the news, so as not to deceive the public with rumors that only have negative effects”.