Saturday, August 27, 2005

100,000 Sadrists March Against Constitution

"Reuters reports that Muqtada al-Sadr's supporters rallied in 8 cities on Friday, totaling a hundred thousand demonstrators in all. They chanted against the new constitution, which they characterized as an American-authored document. They also complained about lack of electricity and other services. Al-Sadr's followers rallied in Kufa, Najaf,Baghdad (Sadr City), Nasiriyah, Amarah, Basra and elsewhere.

I saw the demonstrations on al-Jazeera and they were in fact just enormous. I have all along said that I think Muqtada al-Sadr is formidable, that those who underestimate him are making a mistake. But these demonstrations are evidence of a quantum leap in Muqtada's organizational capability. He has never been able to bring out more than 5,000 to 10,000 demonstrators before. It is obvious his group has continued to do underground recruiting and networking while he has been relatively quiet and his Mahdi Army mostly put their guns in the closet. This impressive display suggests that it might well be possible for Muqtada to bring out 2/3s of Maysan Province, where he is very influential, against the constitution."
Juan Cole
For once I'm secretly rooting for Sadr. "go sadr"


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