Al-Baqiri al-Najafi: The curious story of the fall of hashd’s Walter Mitty “commander”

The last few days have seen a curious story unfold in Iraq culminating in the arrest of al-Baqiri al-Najafi after he was apparently exposed as an impostor pretending to be a commander in al-hashd al-shaabi. Al-Najafi was apparently rumbled when Iraqis began to question the quality of his written Arabic as he described various ‘official’ visits

Quick update on the most recent Friday protest (12th August) in Baghdad.

The Sadrists’ 30 day hiatus from participation in the protests for reform continues (details of this can be found in an earlier post). One reason Muqtada al-Sadr gave for the 30 day withdrawal was to allow space for other groups to participate in the movement, and especially those in the civil-trend who have previously stayed

Translation & Analysis: Iraqi Communist Party facilitate Baghdad conference for al-shabaab al-madani

On the 30th of July a conference was held in Baghdad, facilitated by the Iraqi Communist Party, and attended by around 600 young civil society activists (al-shabaab al-madani) from the city (quite an impressive turnout). The conference was interesting in that it sheds light on the role of the Iraqi Communist Party (ICP) as the

Long Read: Article for 1001 Iraqi Thoughts, profile of Ahmad Abd al-Hussein and civil trend-Sadrist cooperation

Analyses, in both Western and Arab discourses, of Iraq’s ongoing protests against corruption and ‘sectarian quotas’ tend to be inflected with an elite-sectarian framework. This framework foregrounds sect-based identities and their manipulation by elite actors and institutions in its explanations of these mobilisations. Consequently, political protest in Iraq is rarely seen as indicative of participatory,

What happened in Tahrir square on Friday (when the Sadrists stayed away)?

Last Saturday (July 30th, 2016) Muqtada al-Sadr released a statement in which he announced that the Sadrist trend would not participate, for a period of 30 days, in ongoing protests against corruption in Baghdad’s Tahrir square. In his statement Sadr said that: ‘There are those who do not attend the protests because of the presence

Post for 1001 Iraqi Thoughts: IRAQI ACTIVISTS FIGHTING BACK AGAINST LEGISLATION WHICH SEEKS TO RESTRICT CIVIL LIBERTIES

An expanded version of a recent post has been put up on 1001 Iraqi Thoughts. “Iraqi activists are currently fighting against a draft law, the ‘Law of Freedom of Expression, Gathering, and Peaceful Protest’, which contains a number of amendments which seek to severely restrict basic civil liberties. Activists from across the civil trend spectrum,

“Freedom of Expression is a Sacred Right”: Iraqi activists are fighting back against proposed legislation which seeks to restrict civil liberties

Iraqi activists are currently fighting against a draft law, the ‘Law of Freedom of Expression, Gathering, and Peaceful Protest’, which contains a number of amendments which seek to severely restrict basic civil liberties. Activists from across the civil trend spectrum, including Madaniyoun, Mustamerroun, journalists, and students have engaged in protests, including in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square,

Translation: Muqtada al-Sadr, a coup, and democracy.

Muqtada al-Sadr was recently asked by one of his followers to clarify whether he would seek to topple the Iraqi government in a forceful coup and install a new government. Perhaps more interesting than the overt question about coups was how the question was framed, the underlying reference to Mohammed Baqir al-Sadr’s political vision which

Translation & Analysis: Madaniyoun launch statement – 2nd July

Below is a translation of a statement delivered at the launch of a new group in Iraq’s civil trend called Madaniyoun (2nd July 2016). One clear purpose of the statement is to distinguish Madiniyoun from the existing leadership of Iraq’s protest movement which centres on Mustamerroun and the ‘Higher Coordination Committee’ which draws together elements of

Translation and analysis: Statement on meeting between Ahmed Abdul Hussain (Mustamerroun) and Muqtada al-Sadr (5th July 2016)

Cooperation between Mustamerroun, the lead organisation from within the civic trend involved in coordinating the protests for reform in Iraq, and the Sadrist trend, has caused considerable controversy amongst activists and intellectuals in Iraq. Amongst those who reject this ‘alliance’ it is generally held that cooperation with the Sadrists, themselves deeply implicated in the development