Who Is Moqtada Al-Sadr?

By Farrell, Michael B | The Christian Science Monitor, May 6, 2008 | Go to article overview

Who Is Moqtada Al-Sadr?


Farrell, Michael B, The Christian Science Monitor


Nine-hundred-and-twenty-five people have died in the latest assault on militiamen tied to the 34-year-old Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Two-thousand-six-hundred-and-five have been wounded. That's a staggering toll, even amid the Iraq war's devastation. What's more unsettling is that those numbers, according to Baghdad sources, are from just over a month in one part of Iraq: Sadr City.

But the overall toll in the ongoing siege on Sadr's loosely organized Mahdi Army is far greater.

Who is Moqtada al-Sadr? A firebrand cleric? An anti-American agitator? An Iranian pawn? Those are some of the ways we hear him described in the Western press. Indeed, he has been fiercely against the American occupation since the beginning of the war. But as Patrick Cockburn points out in his timely new book, Muqtada: Muqtada al-Sadr, the Shia Revival, and the Struggle for Iraq, none of these labels explains the pivotal role he is playing in Iraq. (Note to readers: The Monitor uses a different English spelling of Moqtada's name than does Cockburn.)

"Muqtada al-Sadr is the most important and surprising figure to emerge in Iraq since the US invasion," writes Cockburn, Middle East correspondent for the Independent in London who has been covering Iraq since the late 1970s. "He is the Messianic leader of the religious and political movement of the impoverished Shia underclass whose lives were ruined by a quarter of a century of war, repression, and sanctions."

The only way to fathom Sadr's support among Iraqis, says Cockburn, is to understand something about both Shiite history and Sadr's family lineage. To that end, Cockburn takes readers across the Shiite heartland of Iraq and into the religion's holiest places there, Karbala and Najaf. The AD 680 battle at Karbala, in which Imam Hussein died a martyr's death, stands at the center of the Shiite faith.

"The legacy of the grim circumstances in which Shiism was born has had a profound effect on the beliefs and actions of its followers," writes Cockburn. "It is a faith conceived in defeat and subjection," writes Cockburn. He says that "with its emphasis on the endurance of suffering under an oppressive state, [Shiism] was peculiarly well-suited to the psychological needs of a community living under the rule of a leader as cruel as Saddam Hussein. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Who Is Moqtada Al-Sadr?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.