The Antichrist Will Be Killed By God (Revelation 20)


Image result for motada sadr baghdad   Iraq: Sadr Tells Supporters to Carry on the Torch Even if he is Killed

Baghdad- Top Shi’ite cleric in Iraq and leader of the Baghdad-based Sadrist movement Moqtada al-Sadr has warned, without naming a specific side, that his life is under serious threat.

Speaking to thousands of supporting demonstrators on Friday, Sadr urged the crowd and the movement to push further with what he called a “reform revolution,” even in the unfortunate event of his death.

In a clear sign of his concern over the greed of rival factions in the “Popular Mobilization Forces,” the leader of the Sadrist movement called on the Iraqi army to take the reigns over all military initiatives, demanding that only army units control areas liberated from the terror group ISIS.

“It is necessary to support the Iraqi army and security forces to complete their victories in the usurped areas,” Sadr told his followers at the rally in Baghdad as the demonstrators waved Iraqi flags and chanted support for their leader.

“They should be the only ones that hold ground after liberating it – no others, whether the occupier, foreign forces or others,” he said.

“If I was assassinated, then that would be a sacrifice for Iraq … and that is not far-fetched,” Sadr said.

Political analysts believe that Sadr’s fears are more political. They say he is concerned about rival Shi’ite militias gaining strength by taking ground in the north.

Baghdad-based political analyst Ahmed Younis said Sadr’s speech was a clear message to Shi’ite rivals.

“It’s quite a clear message for other Shi’ite armed groups not to take on the role of government forces and control lands under the pretext of fighting ISIS. Moqtada is trying to draw a line in the sand for his rivals,” he said.

Sadr, whose opinion holds sway over tens of thousands of Shi’ites -including fighters who battled US troops in 2006-7 – also threatened to boycott upcoming parliamentary elections.

He accused Iraq’s Election Commission of bias toward some parties.

The cleric is calling for a new commission and a review of the current election law, saying it allows influential parties to maintain their grip on power.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

Antichrist Holds Deadly Rally

Sadrists Hold Rally in Baghdad; 60 Killed in Iraq by — Antiwar.com

by Margaret Griffis, March 24, 2017

Followers of Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr held a rally in Baghdad on Friday. During a televised speech to the demonstrators, he urged them to support the Iraqi military. However, Sadr also said that only the military should be in charge of recaptured territory. The comment was probably a subtle criticism toward rival militias, which have remained active in former Islamic State areas. Sadr also called on the government to institute electoral reform.

In Mosul, civilians are reporting many deaths and injuries due to Islamic State snipers targeting them as they try to escape west Mosul. Meanwhile, in the east, the slow and arduous process of rebuilding society has begun.

At least 60 were killed and 25 were wounded:

In Mosul, 20 civilians were executed for trying to evacuate. Shelling left 12 people dead and six wounded. Three suicide bombers were killed.

Clashes in Gardagli left five civilians, two militiamen, and ten militants dead. Six civilians and seven militants were wounded.

One person was killed and four were wounded in a blast in Madaen.

In Baghdad, a bomb left one policeman dead and two wounded in Hor Rajab.

Turkish warplanes struck Kurdistan Workers Party (P.K.K.) targets in the Zab region, killing three guerrillas.

Three militant leaders were killed in a strike on Qaim.

The Pakistan Nuclear Horn (Daniel 8)

How Pakistan Is Planning to Fight a Nuclear War

Sandwiched between Iran, China, India and Afghanistan, Pakistan lives in a complicated neighborhood with a variety of security issues. One of the nine known states known to have nuclear weapons, Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal and doctrine are continually evolving to match perceived threats. A nuclear power for decades, Pakistan is now attempting to construct a nuclear triad of its own, making its nuclear arsenal resilient and capable of devastating retaliatory strikes.

Pakistan’s nuclear program goes back to the 1950s, during the early days of its rivalry with India. President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto famously said in 1965, “If India builds the bomb, we will eat grass or leaves, even go hungry, but we will get one of our own.”

The program became a higher priority after the country’s 1971 defeat at the hands of India, which caused East Pakistan to break away and become Bangladesh. Experts believe the humiliating loss of territory, much more than reports that India was pursuing nuclear weapons, accelerated the Pakistani nuclear program. India tested its first bomb, codenamed “Smiling Buddha,” in May 1974, putting the subcontinent on the road to nuclearization.

Pakistan began the process of accumulating the necessary fuel for nuclear weapons, enriched uranium and plutonium. The country was particularly helped by one A. Q. Khan, a metallurgist working in the West who returned to his home country in 1975 with centrifuge designs and business contacts necessary to begin the enrichment process. Pakistan’s program was assisted by European countries and a clandestine equipment-acquisition program designed to do an end run on nonproliferation efforts. Outside countries eventually dropped out as the true purpose of the program became clear, but the clandestine effort continued.

Exactly when Pakistan had completed its first nuclear device is murky. Former president Benazir Bhutto, Zulfikar Bhutto’s daughter, claimed that her father told her the first device was ready by 1977. A member of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission said design of the bomb was completed in 1978 and the bomb was “cold tested”—stopping short of an actual explosion—in 1983.

Benazir Bhutto later claimed that Pakistan’s bombs were stored disassembled until 1998, when India tested six bombs in a span of three days. Nearly three weeks later, Pakistan conducted a similar rapid-fire testing schedule, setting off five bombs in a single day and a sixth bomb three days later. The first device, estimated at twenty-five to thirty kilotons, may have been a boosted uranium device. The second was estimated at twelve kilotons, and the next three as sub-kiloton devices.

The sixth and final device appears to have also been a twelve-kiloton bomb that was detonated at a different testing range; a U.S. Air Force “Constant Phoenix” nuclear-detection aircraft reportedly detected plutonium afterward. Since Pakistan had been working on a uranium bomb and North Korea—which shared or purchased research with Pakistan through the A. Q. Khan network—had been working on a uranium bomb, some outside observers concluded the sixth test was actually a North Korean test, detonated elsewhere to conceal North Korea’s involvement although. There is no consensus on this conclusion.

Experts believe Pakistan’s nuclear stockpile is steadily growing. In 1998, the stockpile was estimated at five to twenty-five devices, depending on how much enriched uranium each bomb required. Today Pakistan is estimated to have an arsenal of 110 to 130 nuclear bombs. In 2015 the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Stimson Center estimated Pakistan’s bomb-making capability at twenty devices annually, which on top of the existing stockpile meant Pakistan could quickly become the third-largest nuclear power in the world. Other observers, however, believe Pakistan can only develop another forty to fifty warheads in the near future.

Pakistani nuclear weapons are under control of the military’s Strategic Plans Division, and are primarily stored in Punjab Province, far from the northwest frontier and the Taliban. Ten thousand Pakistani troops and intelligence personnel from the SPD guard the weapons. Pakistan claims that the weapons are only armed by the appropriate code at the last moment, preventing a “rogue nuke” scenario.

Pakistani nuclear doctrine appears to be to deter what it considers an economically, politically and militarily stronger India. The nuclear standoff is exacerbated by the traditional animosity between the two countries, the several wars the two countries have fought, and events such as the 2008 terrorist attack on Mumbai, which were directed by Pakistan. Unlike neighboring India and China, Pakistan does not have a “no first use” doctrine, and reserves the right to use nuclear weapons, particularly low-yield tactical nuclear weapons, to offset India’s advantage in conventional forces.

Russia’s New Satanic Nuke

Putin’s scientists readying ‘TEXAS KILLER’ nuke that could obliterate whole countries

The RS-28 Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile known in Russia asSatan 2” will be the world’s heaviest and most powerful nuclear missile when it is complete.

Satan 2 missiles are capable of carrying nuclear warheads with payloads of up to 20,000 kilotons – more than one thousand times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Nagasaki.

At maximum payload a direct hit on New York would kill 4.5million people, injure 3.6million, and send radioactive fallout stretching more than 600 miles.

SHOCK: The missile has the power to take out an area the size of Texas

The “Texas Killer” is Russia’s newest nuclear missile design, and when completed will be the heaviest weapon of its kind to ever be deployed.

It can reportedly carry 10 heavy nuclear warheads and is designed to break through U.S. missile defense systems.

Last year, the Defense Ministry’s Zvezda news agency claimed Sarmat was so powerful, that a single missile could evade Washington’s defenses and wipe out the entire state of Texas.

DANGER: This missile has the potential to level several cities in one go

But, the Russian scientists in charge of developing Satan 2 have suffered a setback which means that it won’t be ready until later this year according to the Moscow Times.

Fears over all-out nuclear war are now at fever pitch after Kim Jong-un revealed that North Korea is ready to launch its most powerful nuke ever.

Donald Trump has not allayed fears by preparing to set up a missile system on the border with the secretive state.

In January it was also revealed that the US was planning a surprise nuke attack on China and Russia.

Preparing For Nuclear War (Revelation 15)

Nuclear-war-forcetoknow.com_Is there a nuclear war in our future?

  • By Jack Stevenson

A nuclear arms race between the United States and Russia began in the 1960s. At one time, the world had about 30,000 nuclear weapons, and most of those weapons were Russian or American.

The explosive force of a nuclear weapon is measured in megatons. A megaton is equivalent to the explosive force of a million tons of dynamite. A one megaton weapon would be about 50 times more powerful than the bombs used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Most of the nuclear weapons tested by the United States were in the 5 megaton to 15 megaton range. The Russians once test fired a 50 megaton nuclear weapon. They had to use a fast, high altitude bomber and drop the bomb on a parachute to allow the airplane to fly several miles before the bomb detonated. An unprotected person in line-of-sight exposure at a distance of 60 miles would have been burned by the heat from the blast.

Eventually, both the Americans and the Russians realized that large scale use of nuclear weapons would return vast areas of the earth to a stone age existence. Efforts were initiated to control, reduce or even eliminate nuclear weapons.

The current nuclear relationship between Russia and the United States is governed by the “New START” treaty (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty). That agreement imposes a specified limit on the number of deployed launchers and a maximum of 1550 deployed nuclear warheads for each country. The word “deployed” is important. Deployed weapons are ready to fire. Each side will have additional nuclear weapons in storage. Old nuclear rockets, submarines, and bombers can be destroyed, but there is no way to convert the radioactive bomb material from a “weapon to a plowshare.” It has to be stored and guarded for thousands of years. Anything that we can do to lessen the possibility of nuclear war would be a great blessing for humanity.

The United States has a long-term plan to upgrade our nuclear weapons at a cost of one trillion dollars.

The Reuters news agency reported on Feb. 9, 2017, that, in a phone call between Russia and the U.S., Russia’s President Putin asked about extending the New START agreement. The President of the United States responded unfavorably to that suggestion. In the 1960s, a nuclear non-proliferation treaty was signed by most of the world’s countries. Only India, Israel, Pakistan, and South Sudan have failed to sign the agreement. North Korea withdrew in 2003.

Currently, China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, England and the United States possess strategic nuclear weapons. Iraq, Libya, South Africa and the Ukraine voluntarily agreed to give up their nuclear weapons. Subsequently, Russia invaded the Ukraine (Crimea), and the U.S. invaded both Iraq and Libya. That is not reassuring to countries that do not possess nuclear weapons. As a result of a high-pressure negotiation, Iran has agreed to a 15-year moratorium on nuclear weapons development.

Strategic nuclear weapons present a strange quandary. So long as sanity prevails and accidents are avoided, possession of nuclear weapons seems to prevent attack by an adversary. But the actual use of strategic nuclear weapons would likely be an unparallelled human-caused catastrophe with no winners and a lot of losers.

(A retiree who served two years in Vietnam as an infantry officer, retired from military service, and worked three years as a U.S. Civil Service employee, as well as in Egypt as an employee of the former Radio Corporation of America — RCA, Stevenson reads history, follows issues important to Americans, and writes commentary for community newspapers.)

Korea Prepares For Another “Iranian” Nuclear Test


Visitors walk by a TV screen showing a news program with a file footage of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Seoul Train Station in Seoul, South Korea, March 22, 2017. North Korea's latest missile launch ended in failure Wednesday. The Korean letters read: "Launch a missile."

Visitors walk by a TV screen showing a news program with a file footage of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Seoul Train Station in Seoul, South Korea, March 22, 2017. North Korea’s latest missile launch ended in failure Wednesday. The Korean letters read: “Launch a missile.”

North Korea has maintained readiness to conduct a nuclear test at any time, a South Korean military official said Friday, amid a report of a possible test within days as Pyongyang defies international pressure.

U.S. and South Korean military surveillance assets were closely monitoring the North’s Punggye-ri nuclear test site on the reclusive state’s east coast, said the official, who declined to be identified.

North ‘ready … any time’

Speaking by telephone, the official also declined to comment on whether there were fresh signs pointing to an imminent test.

“North Korea is ready to carry out a nuclear test at any time, depending on the leadership’s decision. We are keeping a close eye on its nuclear activities,” the official said.

North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests and a series of missile launches, in defiance of U.N. sanctions, and is believed by experts and government officials to be working to develop nuclear-warhead missiles that could reach the United States.

Fox News in the United States reported Thursday that the North was in the final stages of preparing for another nuclear test, possibly within the next few days. The network cited U.S. officials with knowledge of recent intelligence.

It quoted one of the officials as saying the test could come as early as the end of the month.

Satellites show activity

The Washington-based think tank 38 North said in February satellite imagery showed the North’s nuclear site continued low-level activity in a possible sign that it could conduct another test soon. However, it said it was unclear exactly when such a test might take place.

The South Korean military has said several times since the September test that Pyongyang was ready to conduct another nuclear blast at any time, and that a tunnel was available at the site to do so.

North Korea said last year it had mastered the ability to mount a warhead on a ballistic missile and has been ratcheting up a threat that its rivals and the United Nations appear powerless to contain.

A North Korean missile appeared to have exploded just after it was launched Wednesday, the latest in a series of weapons tests that have alarmed the region.

Antichrist threatens to boycott Iraq elections

Muqtada al-Sadr threatens to boycott Iraq elections

Powerful Shia leader demands changes to electoral law at Baghdad demonstration attended by thousands of supporters.

Thousands of people joined a protest in Iraq's capital, Baghdad [Reuters]
Thousands of people joined a protest in Iraq’s capital, Baghdad [Reuters]

Influential religious leader Muqtada al-Sadr has told thousands of supporters in Iraq’s capital, Baghdad, that he will boycott upcoming elections unless the country’s electoral law is changed.

Supporters of the Shia cleric have repeatedly rallied for changes to the law and the country’s electoral committee, which is dominated by affiliates of powerful political parties.

If “the law remains … this means that we will order a boycott of the elections,” Sadr said in remarks televised at Friday’s demonstration in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square.

Iraq is set to hold holding provincial elections later this year, and parliamentary elections in 2018.

Sadr, a vocal critic of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, did not specify the specific changes he wants to take place, but the current law has been criticised as being biased towards large political parties over smaller ones.

The United Nations has backed demands for electoral reform, urging parliament last month to “finalise the ongoing review” of the election law and the electoral commission.

Sadr is the scion of a powerful clerical family who, in earlier years, raised a rebellion against US-led forces and commanded a feared militia.

He had lost some of his political influence in recent years but has brought himself back into relevance by calling for demonstrations to push for reforms.

Al Jazeera’s Stefanie Dekker, reporting from Erbil in northern Iraq, said Friday’s demonstration showed Sadr has the ability to mobilise thousands of people.

“What we’re seeing really has to do with internal Iraqi politics. [Sadr‘s] been campaigning on an anti-corruption platform – how politicians and the electoral commission are corrupt. This is important because Iraq will have provincial elections later this year.

“He’s been highlighting this for over a year now but since the Mosul offensive [against ISIL] … it’s slowed down and attention has shifted.

“So this is an apparent effort by him to re-launch his campaign and remind people of his message – and thousands are heeding his call.”

Rallies demanding improved services and opposing widespread corruption broke out in the summer of 2015, drawing pledges from authorities that reforms would be made that ultimately led to little in the way of lasting change.

Last year, his supporters broke into Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone area on several occasions, where the government is headquartered, while clashes at a Baghdad protest in February left seven people dead.

Antichrist Continues To Dictate Iraq

Muqtada al-Sadr preaches to demonstrators in Baghdad on Friday. Photo: Rudaw TV
Muqtada al-Sadr preaches to demonstrators in Baghdad on Friday. Photo: Rudaw TV

BAGHDAD, Iraq — Influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr gathered today with hundreds of thousands of his supporters in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, where he said could be assassinated, but encouraged them to continue their demonstrations and protests in the capital until all corrupt government officials are removed from their posts.
“No matter what ethnic or religious group the corrupt belong to, we will stop them and shake their seats,” Sadr said. “The seats of those who enriched themselves at your expense.”

Sadr told his cheering supporters that government and party officials tried to manipulate the election law in order to stay in power and warned that unless the laws and commission presiding over the elections are changed his party and people will boycott the next vote.

“In next elections, never vote for the corrupts,” Sadr told his supporters amid chants of “Yes, yes to Iraq” and “Your vote is for freedom and your demonstrations will be their end.”

Iraq is scheduled to hold provincial elections this year and general elections next year. However, the displacement of some 3 million Iraqis because of the fight against ISIS complicates the process.
“They try to manipulate the election law. But I tell you to vote for the clean ones and those against corruption and sectarianism, Sadr said.

“I want you to do a revolution through the ballet box.”

As he had done on several occasions before, Sadr voiced strong criticism of Iraq’s election commission, saying: “The existence of this election commission is a crime because they will keep these corrupt faces in power. Unless they change these faces we will not take part in the elections if they don’t make changes.”

On Friday, he advised the crowds that he may one day be killed or silenced but that they must continue their demonstrations and “reform revolution.”

“Iraq’s corrupt leaders are not corrupt alone they also have money and arms,” Sadr said. “They will do their best to sow the seed of sectarian strife.”

Demonstrators in January called on Sadr to resume leadership of the protests.

“But we are not cowed by threats and death,” he went on. “Many tried that before and failed.”

He said that “If they succeeded in assassinating me” his followers should continue “the reform revolution without fear or exhaustion. No one should say Muqtada is gone there will be no reform.”

“It will be for God and the country,” Sadr insisted.

Previously, riot police have been used to disperse the crowds and some protestors were reportedly arrested.

“Also keep the peacefulness of your gatherings and demonstrations to the end,” he added. “Iraq should not go back to square one.”

Trump Prepares the US for Nuclear War

Despite Campaign Promises, Trump Set To Outdo Obama On Military Adventurism

Donald Trump tours the nuclear aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford, at Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News, Va., Thursday, March 2, 2017. (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

WASHINGTON — For some, Donald Trump’s campaign trail claim that he had always been against the Iraq war – a claim that he would also use as a jibe aimed at Hillary Clinton – seemed to signal that he would refrain from sending the United States spiraling into another armed conflict.

“I’m the only one on this stage that said, ‘Do not go into Iraq, do not attack Iraq.’ Nobody else on this stage said that. And I said it loud and strong,” he said in February 2016 during one of several Republican debates. Months later, in June, Trump would use this argument to blame Hillary Clinton for the rise of ISIS.

“It all started with her bad judgment in supporting the war in Iraq in the first place. Though I was not in government service, I was among the earliest to criticize the rush to war, and yes, even before the war ever started,” he claimed.

The only problem? Trump was no dove prior to or after the invasion and occupation of Iraq. And since the destruction of Iraq – and his inauguration – Trump has sent the U.S. into a number of military conflicts and his administration is looking to promote even greater military interventionism in a region already steeped in violence.

When asked about Trump attitudes toward war, MIT professor and renowned linguist and political analyst Noam Chomsky told MintPress News that the idea that he was an anti-war candidate “was based on his criticisms of the Iraq and Libya attacks (which, contrary to his lies, he supported) and his ambiguous statements about reducing tensions with Russia – a good thing, if he meant it. But his actual policies are extremely dangerous.

“[This includes] the sharp increase in the military budget, the weakening of restrictions on drone strikes, and the wild charges about Iran,” Chomsky said, adding that what really worries those who pay attention to these issues “is his megalomania and unpredictability…we know how someone who goes berserk over minor slights might react in a moment of crisis.”

Despite what some have claimed, Trump has never given a “loud and strong” argument against invading Iraq. According to a report from PolitiFact, during an interview with Howard Stern in 2002, Trump was asked whether or not he supported the U.S. invasion, to which he responded “Yeah, I guess so. I wish the first time it was done correctly.” In his 2000 book, The America We Deserve, he wrote:

“We still don’t know what Iraq is up to or whether it has the material to build nuclear weapons…if we decide a strike against Iraq is necessary, it is madness not to carry the mission to its conclusion. When we don’t, we have the worst of all worlds: Iraq remains a threat, and now has more incentive than ever to attack us.”

There’s no evidence of genuine opposition on Trump’s part regarding the invasion and occupation of Iraq. His few mealy-mouthed anti-war statements are meaningless in light of what he has said previously. And now, with the U.S. military under his command, Trump has already begun exercising armed force and is actively suggesting that his administration will engage in further military action, including putting more troops on the ground in Syria to combat ISIS.

According a report from the Washington Post, marines that have already been deployed there are establishing an outpost in Raqqa so they can fire on ISIS combatants. The report argues that the deployment “marks a new escalation in the U.S. war in Syria and puts more conventional U.S. troops in the battle.” The marines will soon be accompanied by special operations troops and attack helicopters.

Syria is certainly not the only country that will suffer from more U.S.-sanctioned violence. Nearly 19 million people in Yemen are now in need of aid, with more than seven million “not knowing where their next meal will come from,” according to the United Nations. Despite the UN having described Yemen as being “on the brink of famine,” the Trump administration has not been afraid to inflict further harm on the country’s vulnerable population. As millions of Yemenis are on death’s door, the U.S. government is escalating a horrific war in Yemen.

On March 3, the U.S. launched a second round of airstrikes that government officials alleged was part of a larger campaign meant “to roll back territorial gains [an Al Qaeda affiliated group] has made in the past two years.”

The U.S. launched over 30 strikes against alleged combatants and their safehouses between March 2 and 3. This escalation came only a few months after the notorious January raid during which at least two dozen civilians, including 10 children, were reported to have been killed. The media’s pointed focus on the commando raid came after it was revealed that a member of the Navy’s SEAL Team 6 was also killed.

The Trump administration has also been escalating tensions with Iran, a country that has faced tremendous pressure from previous administrations for its use of nuclear energy. After ballistic missile tests in February, former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn officially “put Iran on notice.” Donald Trump would later threaten Iran via Twitter: “Iran is playing with fire—they don’t appreciate how ‘kind’ President Obama was to them. Not me!”.

In February, James Mattis, who is currently serving as the U.S. Secretary of Defense, described Iran as being “the single biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world.” Mattis has held an obsessive hatred towards Iran for decades, with Politico author Mark Perry describing him as having an “anti-Iran animus [that] is so intense that it led President Barack Obama to replace him as Centcom commander.”

Douglas Williams, a contributor for The Guardian and PhD student in political science at Wayne State University, told MintPress News that Trump never genuinely campaigned on being anti-war “aside from a brief moment after he clinched the Republican nomination for president.”

Williams argues, “he always beat that drum about ISIS, and then there was the talk of the ban on Muslims entering the United States.” That said, Williams believes that the anti-war movement has a chance of beating Trump “if they play the ball and not the man.” This would mean responding to Trump’s militarism by “connecting the already-outsized military budget to the things that they care about — health care and the economy.”

There is a demonstrable and significant difference between what Trump says and what his administration actually does. It is clear that his alleged anti-war sentiment is entirely imagined.

The Antichrist Will Unify Iraq (Revelation 13)

As Mosul falls, a new threat to peace looms

Mona Alami

Fighters from the Popular Mobilisation Units after recapturing a village near Mosul from IS [AFP]

Date of publication: 23 March, 2017

Comment: The war on IS has partially suppressed disagreements among the different Shia blocs in Iraq, but as victory draws closer, tensions are rising once again, writes Mona Alami.

As the war against the Islamic State group (IS) appears to be entering its final stages in the city of Mosul, Iraq seems more divided than ever.

Yet the post-IS phase may be marked not only by increasing ethnic and sectarian strife, but also by internal communitarian struggles, particularly among Shias.

Divisions among the Shia community in Iraq are echoed in the country’s fractured nature as a whole.

The fight to push out the Islamic State group looks likely to end successfully in the next few months. But the military victory may be mitigated by dissent among the various Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) factions attempting to capitalise on the terror organisation’s losses, each with differing views of what the next phase should entail.

The PMU Shia militias were formed at the behest of grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, who called on Shia volunteers to rise against IS advances in Iraq in 2014.

The respected cleric insisted that the formation of the militias should be temporary, to be disbanded once IS had been crushed.

Last year, a new law passed by the Iraqi parliament designated the PMU an official military force, operating in parallel to other security forces. In addition, PMU militias appear to have been eyeing Iraq’s upcoming local elections, and the 2018 federal elections, with tensions rising between the three main PMU blocs.

The first is led by Sayed Muqtada al-Sadr, a respected Iraqi cleric who has placed himself at the vanguard of the war on corruption. Sadr has also been pushing his Initial Solutions plan, a national reconciliation proposal for post-IS Iraq which is backed by many Sunnis.

But the plan seems incompatible with the views of another major Shia player, former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Sadr’s initiative encompasses a UN-supported entity focusing on human rights and minorities, and calls for a dialogue among political players and the dissolution of the PMU – with their integration into the standard national security forces.

Sadr also argues for the expulsion of “occupying” as well as “friendly” forces. The Sadrist movement has also called for electoral reforms, which would put an end to Maliki’s political hegemony.

This puts Sadr at odds with Maliki, Iran’s man in Iraq. A controversial figure, accused of rampant corruption and of contributing to the country’s divide – facilitating the rise of IS – Maliki still has ambitions for the premiership. Building on his role in the creation of the PMU, he feels a certain entitlement after the victories in the war on IS.

The third major Shia bloc is led by the head of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, Ammar Hakim. Hakim has been arguing for a large-scale reconciliation process that remains somewhat vague and does not, as yet, seem to have seduced the Sunni constituency.

The war on IS has, to an extent, suppressed disagreements among the different blocs vying for regional and political power, without preventing clashes. Last February, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s procession was attacked by pro-Sadrist university students in Kut. According to some, Sadr accused former Prime Minister Maliki of being behind the attack, claiming it was motivated by a desire to distort the Sadrist movement’s image.

Last April, pro-Sadrist crowds stormed parliament, with Shia factions coming close to direct paramilitary confrontation. The takeover of the parliament came after rival political groups blocked parliamentary approval of a new cabinet made up of independent technocrats.

The political infighting marked by intermittent episodes of violence offers a glimpse of what may lie ahead for Iraq in the post-IS phase. The prospect of domestic strife risks taking centre stage, with a resurgence in the struggle for dominance among the Shia constituency.

Mona Alami a non-resident fellow with the Atlantic council covering Middle East politics with a special interest in radical organizations. Follow her on Twitter: @monaalami

Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The New Arab, its editorial board or staff.