I feel like I've seen this before:
Before we continue the memes, the White House says it hasn't ordered the evacuation of the embassy:
I'm sure the Iraqis will listen to our very strong and wise commander-in-chief. The very name of Joe Biden strikes fear in their hearts! 🙄
Anyway, the news was prompted by the storming of the presidential palace in Baghdad by supporters of a Shiite cleric who just announced his surprise resignation for politics.
Three people are reportedly dead at time of publishing.
- Iraqi politics has been in a deadlock for months because – surprise, surprise – Islamic factions that have been trying to kill each other for over a millennia don't get along in a political system built upon Judeo-Christian democratic principles.
Here's what's happening:
- Moqtada Sadr is a prominent Muslim cleric and politician with millions of followers. He is a Shiite, the large group of Muslims who have been at literal war with Sunnis since the assassination of Mohammed's cousin and successor Ali in 661 AD.
- While Sunnis and Shias believe Mohammed was the last prophet appointed by God, Sunnis focus exclusively on imitating the practice or path (Sunnah) of Mohammed, believing that no political ruler can occupy the same religious importance and that there is nothing magical about Mohammed's bloodline. Shias, meanwhile, believe that only Mohammed, Ali, and their descendants can rule the Muslim community, and that these imams and clerics have equal or similar divine status to Mohammed himself.
- Iraq, as divided up by Europe following the fall of the Ottoman Empire post-WW1, is separated into a vast Shia majority in the east next to Iran and a Sunni majority in the west close to Jordan and Syria (you can see where this is going).
- Moqtada Sadr created the "Mahdi Army," named after a prophesied imam who will return with Jesus Christ at the end of days, after the fall of Saddam Hussein's government in 2003. The Mahdi Army led attacks against U.S. troops and coalition members.
- Sadr also created armed "Peace Companies" to protect Shia religious shrines from Sunni ISIS fighters who view shrines and icons as heretical.
- He is a populist leader who has switched positions on various policies, but has maintained hatred of the U.S. He denounced the killing of Iranian general and genocidal maniac Qasem Soleimani by President Trump in 2020.
- The Iraqi parliament has been at a standstill since the Shia bloc has been unable to form a coalition since last year's election (in parliamentary systems, the government cannot function unless there is a clear majority party or a coalition of parties working together to form a majority).
- Sadr's followers have been getting angrier and angrier at the government's inability to do, well, anything. In my humble opinion, his surprise "resignation" was likely a ploy meant to send them over the edge as a way of intimidating opponents into listening to his demands.
A curfew is now in place in Baghdad as the nation begins to spiral out of control (again). Sadrist militias have been seen patrolling the streets inside the Green Zone (a largely stable area once defended by U.S. forces).
It seems 20 years of American investment there really paid off!
P.S. Now check out our latest video: "Highlights from Biden's speech last night" 👇