Sadr Gives Iraqi Government Ultimatum on Basra Crisis

Iraq’s powerful Shi’ite cleric and the leader of election frontrunner Sairoon bloc, Muqtada al-Sadr, has given the government an ultimatum to address the crisis in the southern city of Basra where violent protests has been ongoing for months.

In a televised speech, Sadr said if the Iraqi government fails again in responding to the people’s demand, it should await a harsh reaction from him.

“We will have a reaction expected by no one. It will shake the throne of the corrupt,” Sadr threatened.

He also urged the new parliament to hold an extraordinary session on the crisis in Basra. The Shi’ite cleric said that Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and other officials should attend the session or resign.

Protests in the oil-rich Basra province have begun since July. The people call for improved public services and jobs.

There has been multiple clashes between the protesters and security forces. Dozens have so far been killed on wounded.

This week only, eight people lost their lives by security forces’ gunfire. Another 25 were injured on Wednesday only.

Earlier today, authorities imposed a curfew on Basra after protesters halted the operation of the Umm Qasr port. Source