Antichrist’s followers protest in Bahrain (Rev 13:18)

Hundreds of Iraqis protest outside Bahraini embassy in response to Sadr’s call

Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) Hundreds of Iraqi citizens staged a protest on Wednesday outside the Bahraini embassy in Baghdad against the repeated attack on Bahraini people and its religious figures, AlSumaria News reported.

The demonstration, which came in response to the Iraqi influential Shia Cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s call, took place outside the embassy located in al-Mansour region, west of Baghdad.

The protesters, according to the report, urged the Bahraini government to stop the oppression against its people and release Shia cleric Ayatollah Eissa Qassem. Raised banners read “Bahrain remains steadfast”

Meanwhile, security troops blocked one side of the street leading to Bahraini embassy.

“Troops blocked one side of al-Rowad street in al-Mansour, which leads to the embassy,” a police source told AlSumaria.

On Tuesday, Sadr called for staging protests outside the Bahraini embassy in Baghdad and the consulate in Najaf to condemn the arrest of aides of Qassem, an influential opposition figure, in the Gulf kingdom.

Earlier on the day, news reports mentioned that Bahraini security forces invaded Qassem’s home located west of Manama and arrested everyone inside. The raid came shortly after Qassem’s fans staged protests in support at his home village of al-Diraz, and two days after a top criminal court sentenced him to one-year in prison and freezed his assets.

It was not clear whether Qassem, who was stripped of his citizenship in 2016, was among those arrested.

Iraq Politicians Bow Down To The Antichrist

Can Iraqi politicians appease Sadr as he flexes his influence?

Al Monitor

Many Iraqi political and government leaders have been beating a path to the door of Muqtada al-Sadr, hoping to reach some kind of understanding or detente with the powerful Shiite leader of the Sadrist movement.

Sadr’s movement holds 34 seats in the Iraqi parliament and has an armed force known as Saraya al-Salam, with an unknown number of troops. For two years, Sadr has been organizing major demonstrations, alleging corruption and seeking reform of Iraq’s election process. He has also advocated dismissing the High Election Commission (HEC) and replacing it with a completely nonpolitical board. He has been pressuring influential and highly placed Iraqi political forces and has threatened to have his followers boycott elections unless reforms are made.

Iraq’s provincial elections were postponed from April until Sept. 16 and could be delayed until next year given the ongoing struggle with the Islamic State (IS). Parliamentary elections are tentatively scheduled for April 2018.

On May 8, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi met with Sadr in Karbala. The media offices of Sadr and Abadi did not make any press statements after the meeting, but a source in the Iraqi premiership who attended the Karbala meeting told Al-Monitor the men met for three hours.

“The meeting touched on several issues and yielded positive results,” the source said. Both sides agreed on a post-parliamentary election plan and to limit the influence of armed groups, to distance Iraq from the Shiite/Sunni regional axes and to find a solution to the HEC without dismissing it.

Following the meeting, Sadr said in a May 20 TV interview that he supports Abadi’s coalition for a second term as long as Abadi follows a path of reform. Now that Sadr has endorsed Abadi and the two have found mutual ground, Sadr isn’t as likely to heighten the tone of his rhetoric against the Iraqi government or organize more mass demonstrations.

Some Iraqi politicians, fearing that Sadr could bring about changes they do not want, are also trying to win his support — or at least sideline some of his demands that might interfere with their interests.

Among Sadr’s many other recent visitors was Speaker Salim al-Jabouri on May 6. According to a statement from Sadr’s office, Sadr called during that meeting for political parties and militias to stop interfering with the government and stressed the importance of the legislature in “strengthening national unity.”

The day before his meeting with Jabouri, Sadr met with Ammar al-Hakim, head of the National Alliance, Iraq’s largest political bloc. Although Sadr has many reservations about the alliance and had refused to continue to be part of it, sources said the men didn’t discuss the likelihood of the Sadrist movement ever returning to the bloc.

On May 3, Sadr received Interior Minister Qasim Mohammad Jalal al-Araji and Defense Minister Arfan al-Hayali. According to the statement issued by Sadr’s office, during the meeting Sadr offered some “valuable guidance in the best interest of the security forces and means to increase their effectiveness and close the gaps that might weaken them.”

It seems that the approaching elections and Sadr’s position regarding the HEC led some guests to address that subject. Sources in parliament told Al-Monitor that various blocs are looking for ways to satisfy Sadr and alleviate some of his pressure on them. The sources said now that Sadr and Abadi have discussed alternatives to dismissing HEC, parliament might not follow through on a threatened vote of no confidence on the commission.

Even Communist Party Secretary-General Raed Fahmi paid a visit to Sadr. Though Iraq’s Communist Party isn’t particularly influential, the meeting could produce a political alliance or a new protest tactic.

Despite his strong following, Sadr has received death threats. Araji said during a press conference held with Sadr and the defense minister that “the threats Sadr said he received are threats to all Iraqis.” The interior minister also relayed a message from Abadi, who is also commander in chief of the armed forces, that the “threats against Sadr will be taken into account.”

Antichrist Affecting The Shi’a Horn

Sadr calls for protests outside Bahraini embassy decrying crackdown on opposition cleric

by Mohamed Mostafa May 23, 2017, 7:03 pm

Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) Influential Iraqi Shia cleric and political leader Muqtada al-Sadr has called for protests Wednesday outside the Bahraini embassy in Baghdad and the consulate in Najaf to condemn the arrest of aides of a senior Shia opposition cleric in the Gulf kingdom.

“Junior scholars and clerics should protest outside the Bahraini consulate in Najaf….for two days, hopefully the Bahraini government will be deterred from oppressing its people,” he said in a statement. He urged a parallel, peaceful protest for one day outside the embassy in Baghdad.

Sadr said his call came in response to “repeated violations against the struggling Bahraini people, its figures and religious leaders,” adding that protests will serve to show “connection between oppressed nations across the globe,” as he put it.

News report said earlier Tuesday that Bahraini security forces invaded the home of Shia cleric Ayatollah Eissa Qassem, an influential opposition figure, west of Manama, and arrested everyone inside. It was not clear whether Qassem was among those arrested.

The raid came shortly after Qassem’s fans staged protests in support at his home village of al-Diraz, and two days after a top criminal court sentenced him to one-year in prison and freezed his assets. Qassem was stripped of his citizenship in 2016.

Though ruled by a Sunni Muslim dynasty, Bahrain is home to a Shia majority.

Protests by the majority Shia community in 2011, demanding improved political rights and freedoms, were stifled after intervention by a Gulf Cooperation Council military force.

World freedom groups have regularly criticized Bahrain for persecuting Shia opposition activists.

Antichrist Warns The Iranian Horn

Image result for sadr and iranMuqtada al-Sadr: Iran’s policies have only brought woes to the region

Baxtiyar Goran Sunday, 21 May 2017

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – The prominent Iraqi Shia cleric called upon the newly-elected president of Iran to stay away from policies that cause adversity in the Middle East.

In a statement, Muqtada al-Sadr, the influential Shia cleric in Iraq, called upon Iranian President-elect Hassan Rouhani to steer clear of policies which create a negative effect in the region and that have only brought woes to Iran and nearby nations.

In the presidential elections, held on May 19, Rouhani was re-elected with more than 57 percent of the vote. His main challenger, hardline judge Ebrahim Raisi, received 38 percent.

Sadr, in a congratulatory message to president-elect Rouhani, called on Iran to apply a more open policy toward certain nations in the Middle East and to abandon political diviseness and sectarian conflict.

The Shia cleric added that Iran has a strong influence in the region and has a responsibility to bring peace and stability to its country and neighboring states, underscoring the fact that the situation in the region has become unstable and unmanageable.

Muqtada al-Sadr, who also has an armed militia in Iraq known as the Saraya al-Salam, has close ties with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Editing by G.H. Renaud

Antichrist Breaks From The Large Horn (Daniel 8)

Sadr urges Iran to end negative regional policies as Rouhani re-elected

by Mohamed Mostafa
May 21, 2017, 3:35 pm

Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) Iraqi Shia cleric and firebrand political Muqtada al-Sadr has congratulated Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani for re-election, but urged the Islamic republic to end regional policies of “negative” impacts.

“We congratulate the Iranian people for the victory of their reformist, moderate candidate despite the fervent political rivalry,” Sadr said in a statement.

He, however, urged the Iranian government to “steer away from all kinds of policy that negatively affect the region,” adding that “the situation can bear no more,’ as he put it.

He also urged Tehran to adopt openness to regional countries which he did not identify, and to “give up political and sectarian wrangles”.

Sadr’s statement came hours after Rouhani, in office since August 2013, was declared winner in the presidential elections, beating conservative opponent Ibrahim Raisi by more than 57 percent of votes.

Sadr has made an earlier call for Iran last week to seek better relations with its arch regional rival, Saudi Arabia, calling on both to engage in a “serious dialogue” to avert what he labelled a “sectarian war”.

“We hope this is the beginning of a de-escalation of sectarian tensions in the Arab and Muslim region,” he said of the recommended rapprochement between Tehran and Riyadh.

Sadr, though leading a wide base of Shia supporters, has been a vocal critic of the Iran-backed government of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and his predecessor, Nuri al-Maliki, a close ally with Tehran. He has championed pro-reform and anti-corruption protests in Baghdad over the past few months.

Iran’s critics say it practices influence on Iraqi politics through the Shia-led government, and accuse it of meddling into regional conflicts in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and some Gulf countries for the favor of Shia minorities and majorities in those countries.

The Antichrist Condemns Al-Maliki

Sadr Proscribes Alliance with Maliki

by Nehal Mostafa
May 20, 2017, 5:00 pm

The Iraqi Cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. File photo.
Erbil (BasNews) The clerical leader of the Shi’ite Sadr Movement, Muqtada al-Sadr, on Saturday warned senior Iraqi politicians and statesmen against forming coalition with the former prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki.

During a televised interview, along others Sadr asked Iraqi PM Haidar al-Abadi, Iraqi Vice President Ayad al-Allawi and Parliament Speaker Salim al-Jobouri not to form alliance with Iraqi VP Maliki.

“The Shi’ite authorities who ran Iraq in the past, were defeated and … if Iraqi Shi’ites regain power, they will be defeated,” Sadr said in reference to attempts by some Shi’ite parties to form a majority block.

Sadr indicated he does not mean that he supports Sunnis to rule Iraq, but it’s just that “it’s very difficult to find a Shi’ite figure to govern Iraq successfully.”

He accused Maliki of selling one third of Iraq’s soil to the Islamic State (IS) and advised Iraqi politicians “Let’s at least keep the remaining two parts.”

The leader reiterated his opposition against Maliki to take over PM position for the third run and refused to make any compromise over his stance.

“I will not agree to that at all and we will not examine someone who has been examined before…. Maliki is the foremost responsible person for wasting the huge budget [of the country] and the occupation of Nineveh, Anabr and the rest of the area by IS.”

However, he thought Abadi can continue into the second term “if he continues with his reforms.”

Regarding his plans, Sadr said currently he has dedicated himself to settling the issues of Iraq but plans to become Iraq’s senior Shi’ite clergy after stability prevails in the country.

The Antichrist Wants the US Out

US soldiers board a helicopter at a military base north of Mosul, Iraq, Jan. 4, 2017.  (photo by REUTERS/Stephen Kalin)

Author: Hamdi Malik

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is talking with the US administration to keep US troops in Iraq after the fight against the Islamic State (IS) is over, the Associated Press (AP) cited Iraqi and US officials as saying on May 5. US officials confirmed to the AP on condition of anonymity that the United States and Iraq agreed on the need for a long-term US presence aimed at warding off the threat of another armed rebellion. However, the growing polarization in the region and the tightening policy of regional rivalries are hindering the conclusion of such an agreement.

Commenting on these reports, the military media office of Saraya al-Salam, the military wing of the Sadrist movement, told Al-Monitor, “His Eminence, Commander Muqtada al-Sadr absolutely rejects the presence of any occupation forces — be they Americans or not.” Sadr, the leader of the Sadrist movement, had demanded in February that all foreign troops leave Iraq.

Similarly, Naim Aboudi, a spokesman for Asaib Ahl alHaq, stressed that his faction rejects the US presence in Iraq. He told Al-Monitor, “The victories achieved by our heroic army and the Popular Mobilization Units [PMU] have given further power to the Iraqi state. And Iraq can use this power to ward off any foreign threat. Iraq does not need any foreign power at the moment. Self-reliance is the best way to maintain the sovereignty of Iraq.”

Asked about the possible targeting of US forces by Asaib Ahl al-Haq in the event that there is a decision to extend their stay in Iraq, Aboudi did not respond. However, the military media office of Saraya al-Salam threatened US forces and stressed that “all options are on the table.”

In an attempt to calm this atmosphere, the Iraqi prime minister’s office issued a statement May 5 confirming that “the Iraqi government did not agree with any state about any military role following the decisive victory over terrorism.”

However, Saad al-Hadithi, a spokesman for the prime minister’s office, confirmed in a TV interview on the same day the Iraqi government’s intention to reach an agreement to keep the American troops in Iraq. “We want sustained cooperation with these countries in the coming period in order to meet the security challenges,” he said.

“We certainly need a number of these trainers, experts and advisers, and we hope to develop an integrated coordination system in the coming period, not only with the United States but also with many other countries in the world in a bid to upgrade the Iraqi forces’ capabilities and readiness.”

The prime minister’s office reiterated, “There are no foreign combat forces on Iraqi soil.” But since the arrival of Donald Trump in Washington and the start of the operations to liberate west Mosul, US forces have stepped up their military role and have been operating closer to the front lines.”

Kurdish photojournalist Rebin Rozhbayane accompanied the US forces that were getting ready to launch an attack on the July 17 district in Mosul on May 2 and filmed a large US military convoy on its way to the battlefront. Rozhbayane told Al-Monitor that he counted 50 US military vehicles, noting that “the US forces backed the Iraqi forces in these operations during the day. But they participated directly in evening attacks on IS areas.”

Former Iraqi Ambassador to the United States Lukman Faily does not agree with the Asaib Ahl al-Haq spokesman who believes Iraq does not need the US forces. Faily told Al-Monitor, “Iraq does not have the needed components to protect its borders. To reach political and security stability, it needs to develop the capacities of its army through US sponsorship and aid, especially in training, preparation and equipment.”

One of the main challenges for the upcoming phase is to control the long Iraqi borders with Syria after IS is eliminated. Since 2003, Iraq has failed to secure these borders, and it does not have well-trained forces and necessary technology to halt the infiltration of IS forces from the borders, especially as IS controls eastern Syria. Iraq needs satellites, military air force and helicopters as well as strong logistic effort to achieve this mission. This must happen without alienating the locals — the Sunni Arabs. Thus, the task must be entrusted to the Iraqi official forces. Shiite factions from the PMU are also trying to reach the borders.

Besides, Iraq needs to build a strong intelligence service that is up to the security challenge. Previous experience and new reports indicate that IS and al-Qaeda will conduct terrorist operations in the coming phase.

Iraq’s needs are not limited to the security and military sectors. The high cost of the war amid falling oil prices necessitates that Iraq ask for help from the international community in which the United States is a key player.

Many Iraqi parties, especially the Shiite ones, believe that the American presence in Iraq aims at supporting the enemy, i.e., Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and Israel, at the expense of Iran and its allies. Faily asserted that the situation is complicated, saying, “Iraq is now at a crossroad. Different polarization fronts are at play, and they will increase pressure on Abadi.”

Ultimately, the balances in the region will play a pivotal role in Iraq’s future. Any decision that Abadi makes might put Iraq in the eye of the storm again.

Antichrist Tries to Consolidate the Sunni Shia Horns

Iraq’s al-Sadr urges Tehran, Riyadh to engage in talks

Firebrand Shia cleric encourages Iran-Gulf rapprochement with view to averting ‘sectarian war’ in region

15.05.2017

Iraq’s al-Sadr urges Tehran, Riyadh to engage in talks

BAGHDAD 

Iraqi opposition leader and Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr on Monday urged Saudi Arabia and Iran to engage in “serious dialogue” with a view to averting what he described as a potential “sectarian war” in the region.

“We have been pleased with recent positive developments in Saudi-Iraq relations,” al-Sadr declared in a statement released by his office on Monday.

“We hope this is the beginning of a de-escalation of sectarian tensions in the Arab and Muslim region,” he added.

“But some countries of the region, where the media has served to aggravate tensions, oppose this budding rapprochement,” al-Sadr said.

He added: “The only victims of these [sectarian] tensions are the people of Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Burma, Iran, Saudi Arabia and others.”

Referring to the U.S., the U.K. and Israel, al-Sadr continued: “Instead of fighting the triad of evil and its Daesh terrorist branch… they [Muslim states] are fighting each other and focusing their aggression on their own people.”

The firebrand Shia cleric went on to urge Iran and Saudi Arabia “to exercise restraint, refrain from escalations, and allow the people to decide their own fate”.

He further called on Tehran and Riyadh to “care for their peoples — regardless of religion, sect or ethnicity — and engage in serious dialogue with a view to restoring regional peace and security”.

Tension has mounted between the Gulf States and Iran since Riyadh severed diplomatic ties with Tehran early last year after two Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran were attacked by Iranian protesters following the execution of a prominent Shia cleric by the Saudi authorities.

Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies also accuse Tehran of supporting the Shia Houthi militia group in Yemen, which overran much of that country in 2014.

The six-year conflict in Syria — in which Iran and the Gulf States support opposing sides — has also contributed to the deterioration of Gulf-Iran relations.

*Reporting by Amir al-Saadi; Writing by Ali Abo Rezeg

Antichrist Issues Warning to the West (Revelation 13)

Moqtada al-Sadr warns European countries to stop propaganda against Islam

(AhlulBayt News Agency) – Iraqi Shiite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr warned the European countries to stop propaganda against Islam, warning of the danger of the spread of terrorism.

If attempts to make hostile moves against Islam continue, it will result in the growth of extremist groups and it will be a start for the spread of terrorism in all European countries,” al-Sadr said in a statement on Sunday.

“It is an invitation from me to them (Europeans) to show open arms to the moderate Islamic groups before it is too late,” he added.

His remarks came after Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli blasted the western countries for supporting terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq, and warned against the spread of heinous phenomenon of terrorism to the European countries.

“All countries, including the European countries, should strive for the elimination of the threat of terrorism as this heinous phenomenon is on the verge of spilling over to the West,” Rahmani Fazli said in a meeting with visiting Polish delegation headed by Anna Maria Anders in Tehran in January.

Rahmani Fazli voiced his country’s readiness to set up a specialized anti-terrorism committee.

The Iranian interior minister expressed concern over the spread of terrorism to all countries, and said that all-out cooperation is needed to establish peace and security in all states, specially in Iraq and Syria.

The Antichrist Makes Political Allies (Rev 13:18)

Abadi, Sadr near alliance as Maliki renounces majority governance

PM Haider al-Abadi meets with Shia political and religious leader Muqtada al-Sadr.

Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is nearing an “electoral alliance” with influential Shia religious and political leader Muqtada al-Sadr in a bid to isolate former PM and premiership hopeful Nouri al-Maliki, according to a newspaper.

London-based Al Hayat said the anticipated alliance could also draw Iraq’s Vice President Osama al-Nujaifi’s Muttahidon (United) bloc in addition to Kurdish political forces, most notably the Kurdistan Democratic Party, led by Kurdish President Masud Barzani.

The purpose of all those parties is to “keep Maliki away”, according to Al Hayat.

It added that Sadr’s and Maliki’s movements had been caught up in an intense rivalry, which became most remarkable in Maliki’s push for a draft law restricting the right to stage protests in a bid to curb weekly pro-reform demonstrations Sadr’s fans had staged upon a call from their leader. It noted that the draft was slated for discussion in parliament on Sunday but was adjourned due to pressures from civil society groups.

The newspaper’s speculations regarding a possible alliance came hours after Maliki said in a statement by his office that he was renouncing his call for a Shia majority rule in Iraq. He accused parties, which he did not name, of plotting against the political process by seeking to put off elections.

Iraqi parliament elections are slated for early 2018, and there is a tendency to run municipal elections simultaneously. Shia groups occupy more than a half of the parliament’s 328 seats.

According to the statement, Maliki’s announcement came during a conference on “societal reconciliation” in the southern Iraqi province of Najaf. Explaining his concession, Maliki said “the country rejects sectarianism and racism”.

Maliki’s opponents accuse him of stoking sectarian divisions and failure to curb corruption throughout his two-term, eight-year premiership, besides blaming him for losing Iraqi territories to the Islamic State militants.

Maliki is the leader of Daawa Party, of which PM Abadi is a senior member.