Sadr Meets with Iraqi Militias in Iran's Qom
The leader of Sadrist movement, Muqtada al-Sadr, held a meeting in Qom, Iran, with leaders of some armed Shiite factions including Akram al-Kaabi of al-Najaba militia, Abu Alaa al-Walai of Brigades of the Master of the Martyrs, and heads of other factions.
A picture circulated on social media showing the officials who were said to have discussed coordinating joint efforts between the factions after the US raid that assassinated al-Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani and Deputy Chief of Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in Baghdad, Iraq.
Sources also indicated that they went over other important issues related to the presence of the US occupation in Iraq.
The Sadrist movement did not issue a statement about the meeting and its nature, a source close to the Movement told Asharq Al-Awsat that it might have addressed Sadr’s call to form an international resistance.
However, the source excluded Sadr's involvement at this stage in an armed resistance movement against the US presence in the country, confirming that Sadr and a few faction leaders have been in Qom since their participation in the funeral of Soleimani and Muhandis.
Meanwhile, many sources close to the leaders of the Iraqi armed factions loyal to Iran told Asharq Al-Awsat that they are going through unprecedented conditions of extreme caution, fearing they might face the same fate as Soleimani and Muhandis.
The sources also confirmed that the leaders have taken several precautionary measures such as using ordinary cars rather than convoys. They also refrain from using their mobile phones and only inform a few trusted officials of their locations.
Sources suggested that after the assassination of both commanders, disputes between the faction leaders have deepened, given the intense competition that exists mainly between those factions.
They often compete on being close to decision-makers in Tehran and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), along with their disagreements over projects, investments, ministries, and government positions in Iraq.
Outgoing Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi said during a speech before the parliament that Muhandis played a positive role on many occasions in controlling some of the armed factions to ensure they do not violate the law.
Reports indicated an agreement that the leader of al-Badr Organization, Hadi al-Amiri, was chosen to succeed Muhandis as PMF deputy chief. However, sources ruled out that Amiri would be able to control the armed factions, given his “lack of charisma that Muhandis enjoyed.”