Maysan.. rioters plant strife while al-Sadr and al-khazali struggle to resolve it

Maysan.. rioters plant strife while al-Sadr and al-khazali struggle to resolve it

Shafaq News / More than two weeks ago, a wave of assassinations of prominent figures in Maysan (320 km south of Baghdad) took place. It was concentrated in Qala’a Saleh district (80 km from Amarah, the governorate's center) to al-Kahlaa (25 km from the provincial center).

The series of violent events began with the assassination of Interior Ministry officer Hussam al-Alyawi, brother of Wissam al-Alyawi, a leader in Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, who was also assassinated in October 2019 during protests in Amarah at the time, followed by the assassination of Judge Ahmed Al-Saadi, who specialized in narcotics-related cases in the Maysan Court of Appeal by unidentified armed men.

In the same way, a prominent Sadrist member named Karrar Abu Ragheef was shot dead in his vehicle in Hay al-Mua’alimeen (the neighborhood of Teachers) last Wednesday.

The series of assassinations continued until Thursday night (February 10, 2022), when chaos in al-Kahlaa neighborhood caused the death of a police officer in the governorate.

Those successive incidents pose a major security threat unless the wise and opinion-makers intervene to calm the street down.


According to those holding the security file in the governorate, some try to ignite a security crisis in Amarah by creating tribal conflicts and instilling a spirit of division and revenge between the houses of the same tribe, as all tribes are divided into several houses comprising dozens of sheiks and their children, which is the case in all governorates of southern Iraq.

Furthermore, Maysan, the most important multi-riches governorate in the south because of its strategic location on the Tigris and its proximity to Iran, is entirely dominated by tribal custom.

“Tribal conflicts rarely calm down in the governorates where custom prevails, and what happened is the renewal of the tribal conflict between al-Faisal and al-Nawafil houses, which coincided with the worsening political scene, leading some to inflame things in an attempt to link the dispute to the political scene,” Said Yahya Hattab, director of media and relations at Maysan police department.

He also added, “However, the security forces concerned with controlling the governorate’s security, in cooperation with the dignitaries of the city, were able to calm things down between the two houses, as well as alert all security forces to follow the instructions of the operations room formed after the visits of the commander-in-chief of the armed forces and the minister of interior.”

Brigadier General Hattab pointed, “Some of the weak-spirited who the enemies of Iraq wage have tried to exploit the situation and provoke strife in the governorate by carrying out assassination scenarios targeting important figures in the city.”

“Thanks to the combination of security efforts between the Maysan Operations Command, headed by Major General Mohammed al-Zubaidy, and police chief Maj. Gen. Nasser al-Assadi, the security situation will return to normal in the governorate by destroying sedition and ending conflicts.”

"Yesterday, there were attempts to ignite strife, where a tribal conflict broke out between the houses of the Albu Ghannam tribe - one of the Albu Mohammad tribes in al-Kahlaa area, 25 km from the provincial center - which caused the death of a member of the 4th Maysan Emergency Regiment. As a result, more than 25 suspects were arrested and interrogated to identify those involved and refer them to the relevant authorities," he continued.

“Currently, the situation in the governorate is almost stable, and things will return to normal.”


In addition, an informed source in the local administration of Maysan governorate confirmed to Shafaq News agency, “Parties are trying to hit Maysan with a fireball as it includes the most important and widest popular bases; one of which follows the Sadrist Movement and the other Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq.”

“Hence the attempts to ignite the tribal conflict there and involve the leaders of Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq and the Sadrist Movement within the spiral of political and party competition through assassinations will destabilize the security situation, and thus use it as a pressure card to pass certain demands or goals. All of that is enhanced by the rule of tribal custom there with a near-total absence of the rule of law.”

An old dispute..

"The tribal dispute in the governorate is old, and we are utterly surprised by those who try to link what is happening in the governorate to the political crisis in the country," said Qassim Tou'ma, president of the Maysan Federation of Jurists.

"The failure to form a government may be one of the reasons for the situation’s deterioration given that the security situation is linked to the formation of a government that works to bring about periodic changes for security officials," Tou’ma added.

He also accused the security leaders of having a role in the deteriorating situation because, “Security men are representatives of the law and its sovereignty in any place, and whenever they are unable to impose their prestige and power on all, the rule of tribal custom and the brutality of criminals prevails.”

Tou’ma also pointed out that at a certain time, one of the leaders at the time was forced to request a “tribal truce” because of a problem between two tribes, which negatively affected the force of law and caused the lack of security.

"The failure to rehabilitate the security men and provide them with a legal culture that enables them to strengthen their role in establishing security and dealing with tribal conflicts to preserve the prestige of the law played a major role in the prevail of the tribal custom," he added.

Waged group..

One of the governorate’s elders told Shafaq News agency that some are trying to use Maysan as a political pressure card to pass a project by adopting a waged group to disturbs the security in Maysan and then spread it to the rest of the southern governorates, where the houses of the main tribes of Amarah extend to Dhi Qar, Basra, Samawah, and the popular areas of Baghdad. Thus igniting strife starting from the south to Baghdad, the center of political disagreement between the forces of power, competing to reach the power helm.

"The tribal conflict in the governorate is not new, but its development to reach prominent and influential figures in the governorate is a cause of concern that requires vigilance and caution," said the elder, who preferred to remain anonymous, adding "Furthermore, all the data indicate the involvement of hired people trying to shuffle papers in the governorate, aggravate the security file, and threaten civil peace, as was recently promoted by the speeches of the political forces rejecting the changes of the current political scene per the new balancing act.”

Political protection..

Jassim al-Alawi, a member of the State of Law Coalition of Maysan, said on Friday that the danger of the uncontrolled groups that are in the governorate is no less dangerous than that of ISIS, "There are fugitive groups more dangerous than ISIS. However, there is political protection available to them that are comparable and possibly greater than security protection.”

He also added, "Illegal practices directly affect investment in the governorate and the country at large.”

On the other hand, delegations of the Sadrist Movement led by Muqtada al-Sadr and Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq led by Qais al-Khazali held a meeting on Friday to contain tensions between the two sides in Maysan.

The meeting, the first of its kind between the two sides, took place in Maysan after the decision of the leaders to form the two delegations.

After the meeting, a joint statement of the two delegations was issued to Shafaq News Agency, which included the following:

1. We condemn all murders in the governorate.

2. We support the judiciary and the security services to take the biggest role in law enforcement and crime reduction.

3. We stand at one distance from everyone.

4. The committee continues to work, follow up the investigation, and uncover the perpetrators to legally give them their fair punishment.

5. We call on the people of Maysan to be patient to ruin the opportunity for those who want to stir up strife among the sons of one father (Mohammed al-Sadr).

6. We hope that the media will be careful and accurate in conveying news from their correct sources and not from what is posted by malicious social media sites.

The Sadrist leader decided Thursday to form a delegation to calm the Sadrist Movement and Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, which is a defector from the Sadrist Movement, to avoid an internal war between Shiites in Iraq in the wake of recent events in the southern governorate of Maysan.

Hours after al-Sadr's decision, Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq Secretary-General Qais al-Khazali announced the formation of a committee to cooperate with the delegation sent to Maysan by the Sadrist leader.

Over the past period, Maysan governorate has witnessed a series of assassinations of tribal elders, government officials, security forces, members of the Sadrist movement, and Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq.

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