Shiite Leader Says Sadrists are Sending Political Messages Via the Green Zone Demonstrations

Shiite Leader Says Sadrists are Sending Political Messages Via the Green Zone Demonstrations

Shafaq News/ The Sadrist movement seeks to deliver political messages via the Green Zone protests, a leading figure in the Coordination Framework, a consortium of mainly Iran-backed Shiite political forces, said on Saturday.

"The Sadrists' demonstrations in vicinity of the Green Zone against the profanation of the Quran and the Iraqi flag, are imbued with political messages emanating from two distinct fronts," said A'aed al-Hilali in a statement to Shafaq News Agency on Saturday.

"On one hand, the Sadrist movement's leadership seeks to signal to the political elite their intent about imminent return to the political arena. On the other hand, the grassroots leaders of the Sadrist movement aim to convey to their leadership their eagerness to reengage and participate in the forthcoming elections, underscoring their enduring sway over the Iraqi street," he said.

The months-long standoff between Sweden and Turkey over the Ottomans' veto of Swedish NATO membership is spilling over the two countries' borders. And it should come as no surprise to anyone, when the protests in Stockholm put the spotlight on the entire Islamic religion. The first such act took place in January this year when Danish-Swedish right-winger Rasmus Paludan set fire to a copy of the holy book in front of the Turkish embassy in Sweden.

Since then, tensions have only increased, now meeting a harsh response in other countries where the conflict is spreading. This is the case in Iraq, where hundreds of demonstrators have gathered to set fire to the Swedish embassy building. This also comes in response to the expected further burning of copies of the Koran in Sweden today.

The perpetrators of the attack are members of the Sadrist movement, i.e. followers of the Shiite cleric, Muqtada al Sadr. The Al Arabiya channel reported that the demonstrators threw torches inside the Swedish legation after entering Baghdad's Green Zone, where most of the embassies are located. The same media reports that riot police carried out a "heavy deployment", despite which they were unable to prevent the attack.

The response from the Swedish authorities has not been long in coming. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a statement saying that "we are informed of the situation. Our embassy staff are safe and the Foreign Ministry is in constant contact with them". They have also alluded to the Iraqi authorities who, despite having contained the groups with water blasts, recall that it is "their responsibility to protect diplomatic missions and their staff".

However, an investigation has already been launched to clarify the facts and the Iraqi administration has condemned the attack on the embassy. The Iraqi Foreign Ministry has expressed its condemnation "in the strongest terms of the incident of the burning of the Embassy of the Kingdom of Sweden in Baghdad, in the early hours of Thursday, 20 July 2023". They added via Twitter that "this act takes place in the context of assaults on diplomatic missions and threats to their security".

Just as there have been several burnings of the The Quran in Sweden, this attack on the Swedish embassy in the Iraqi capital is not the first. On 29 June last, it was raided in protest against, as on this occasion, a burning of a copy of the Quran, which had been endorsed by the police. Even then, Sweden came under a wave of criticism from Muslim countries, leading many of them to recall their ambassadors to Sweden for consultations.

A boycott campaign of Swedish products was also launched at the same time as criticism of the Swedish authorities for allowing the burning of Islam's holy book. Now, the police have also authorised a meeting where this attack on the Islamic religion is expected to be repeated, which has already been used as a motivation for the attack that set fire to the Swedish embassy in Iraq.

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