Iraq’s Sadr: from outlaw to top politician
Populist Iraqi Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr went from a mercurial outlaw wanted dead or alive during the U.S. occupation to a kingmaker in politics before transforming himself into the most powerful figure in the country.
Sadr was virtually unknown beyond Iraq before the 2003 US-led invasion. But he soon became a symbol of resistance to occupation, deriving much of his authority from his family.
Despite the withdrawal of lawmakers from his Sadrist bloc in Parliament, Sadr still wields huge clout, with hundreds of thousands of followers who can stage protests, and his move sharply raises the stakes in the struggle for power within Iraq’s Shia majority.