Talk:Muqtada al-Sadr

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"coalition" POV?[edit]

This article uses the term "coalition" (sometimes capitalized) coined by the powers that invaded Iraq to describe their alliance. I think this is slightly POV, since the term has been used extensively by the governments of these powers in attempts to create the appearance of a broad alliance where there is actually only token participation by all but two countries. "Coalition" is a positively connoted term which these governments would be unlikely to apply, for instance, to groupings of their opponents which they call "networks". I'm aware that it may be difficult to avoid usage of this term altogether, as it has found its way into acronyms like "CPA", but I feel there is room for improvement in this article -- for instance, I would propose replacing "revolt against the coalition of forces occupying Iraq" by "revolt against the forces occupying Iraq", and "coalition forces" by "occupation forces". I don't want to start an edit war, so I'd like to invite comments on this first. Fpahl 12:17, 14 Apr 2004 (UTC)

I've now found discussion on related topics at Talk:2003 invasion of Iraq and have posted a similar comment there; that's probably a better forum for this discussion. I've also added an NPOV dispute note to this article. Fpahl 13:44, 14 Apr 2004 (UTC)

I'll second your idea. --Rei
If we accept your idea that "coalition" is POV, then replacing it with an even more POV term like "occupying forces" hardly seems a solution. Driller thriller 19:41, 27 March 2006 (UTC)
How about something like "US-Lead Coalition", "US-lead forces" or "US-lead troops" to emphasise the prominent or dominant role that the US plays in this Coalition. Just referring to a 'Coalition' can somewhat efface the way that one nation is dominant here - jon_m.
The term 'Coalition' is not misleading or biased. This is the official term used to refer to the multinational force in Iraq. Also, any group of allied entities can be refferred to as a coalition. There is no size requirement, and magic number a group must surpass before it can be called a coalition. By the same token, you could say that the term "Allies" should not be used when describing forces in World War II. You should respect the official, accepted terminology. 'Coalition' carries neither positive nor negative connotation. -JBoyler
"Official"? Ask yourself whose officials determined that this word is the appropriate one. If, as you say, any group of allies could be referred to as a coalition, why is it ok for only one side to be referred to as the "Coalition" (with a capital 'C', no less)? No, this is definitely a pov term. (BTW, if the Axis had won WWII, do you think that their history would still refer to their opponents as The Allies?) —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 01:35, 14 February 2007 (UTC).
Correctly stated, many different groups are referred to and refer to themselves as Coalitions. A coalition is a neutral statement. It is only positive or negative in the mind of the reader. It is only positive if you believe that it is important that many people work together to make war. The military forces in Iraq (American, British, and Iraqi government, etc.) refer to themselves as a coalition. Mahdi army says it is an army, but they have no uniforms, or any of the other things that make up a traditional army. Do we debate about whether we should call them the Mahdi Army instead of the "Shiite Roustabouts"? In answer to your implication with the WWII question, I don't know what the Axis would have called the Allies, but they did call themselves the Axis, so maybe. Lorinhobenson 19:27, 1 August 2007 (UTC)
The correct term post invasion was "Coalition Provisional Authority" which was shortened in the media to "the Coalition", this "Coalition" is a proper noun. The rules of grammar apply whether you agree with the wconflict or not. I don't like George Bush but I still capitalize his name. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 20:59, August 20, 2007 (UTC)
The CPA was the civilian governance body in Iraq and is *not* synonymous with the Coalition of which you speak. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:50, 4 February 2008 (UTC)
I agree that 'Coalition' by itself is POV, and should be replaced by "American-led occupation" or the like; the term may be 'official' in American newspapers, but certainly not in the European, Arab, or local (Iraqi) press. In cases where we are talking about the proper-noun 'Coalition Provisional Authority' itself, I think that's a legitimate usage. jackbrown (talk) 09:45, 18 September 2008 (UTC)

Not that it matters, but-- the poster above who asks if the Axis, had they won WWII, would have referred to their defeated opponents as the Allies. Bad example. The Rome-Berlin Axis was a term coined by the Germans and Italians themselves. The Germans used variations of "Allies," "Allied Powers," "Anglo-American Allies," etc., throughout the war to refer to their enemies. These were not terms coined ex post facto by the winners. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:42, 16 June 2009 (UTC)


It is amazing how in this article on Muqtada, every well-established Shia family of ulemas are insulted, accused of various collusions and crimes, including Ali al-Sistani, the Dean of the Najaf grand hawza, the illustrious al-Khoei family--the bearers of the incomparable Supreme Ayatollah Khoei--in favor of a neophyte with NO religious credentials with a hand bloodied in the stabbing murder of the young al-Khoei and the blowing up of Grand Ayatollah Hakim. While all credit should be given to Muqtada for his political machination, taking money from anyone who offers it---from Iran to the Sunni Arab governments, to al-Qaeda and in fact the remnants of the old Baathists--to further his attempts at the destruction of the 1400-year old Shia hierarchy in Najaf for his own temporal political gain, one should not forget that the Shias exist because of that same hierarchy that this articles insults and accuses of corruption so freely.

One wonders if any Iraqi Shia would be so bold and reckless to attack everything that has been held sacred, revered and respected for the sake of an opportunist young punk whose sole credential to legitimacy is being a relation of the late Grand Ayatollah M.S. al-Sadr and his recent marriage to that gentleman's daughter! One wonders who could have composed this so-called “biography” of Muqtada?

I find this article to be appallingly one-sided in certain respects. The question of just what happened at the start of the August hostilities, and whether al-Sadr or the United States "broke the truce" is at best very murky at this time, as can be readily seen in all mainstream media reports on the events in question. And yet, Wikipedia has no problem portraying al-Sadr as if he's a peaceful hero who has been backstabbed by the United States and the Iraqi government.

"Despite assurances in June that he would not face arrest and be allowed to stand in the 2005 elections, US and Iraqi forces moved against al-Sadr in August." This is a bold statement which lacks context.

In the section on the August 2004 Hostilities, we learn that "After the 4 June truce with the occupation forces, al-Sadr took steps to disband the Madhi army." Then, apparently in a horrible breach of the truce, "The June settlement was broken by US troops..." Any reader of our article who comes to it "fresh" might naturally wonder: gee, if al-Sadr took steps to disband the Madhi army, then why the hell are they all still there heavily armed? And if the came to the article with even a smattering of knowledge of news reports, they might wonder why we avoid mentioning the kidnapping of 18 Iraqi policemen at the start of hostilities?

Obviously the article should not whitewash the situation. But right now we are taking a murky historical event and reporting al-Sadr's propaganda as if it is credible, and completely ignoring the other side's response. Surely this should be fixed promptly. Jimbo Wales 13:52, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)

To some extent I agree; the article could use some rewording. However, I don't think the situation is as murky as all that - there was clear progress being made in bringing him back into the political fold.
This is manifestly untrue. Despite his assurances that he would join the political process, al-Sadr did not disband his militia. It is extremely POV to present things as the article currently does -- POV and factually wrong. Jimbo Wales 21:27, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Jimbo, Graft didn't say al-Sadr disbanded his militia. He says there was clear progress being made in bringing him back into the political fold. And there was. For example, the U.S. said they wouldn't arrest him, and they rescinded their previous claim that al-Sadr would be barred from elections. Al-Sadr made statements of intent to join the political process. He toned down the rhetoric, as did the U.S., and the standoff ended. It's worth noting that al-Sadr has agreed currently to disband his militia if the U.S. pulled out of Najaf. Quadell (talk) 14:54, Aug 20, 2004 (UTC)
Then, on July 31st one of his aides was arrested, for no apparent reason.
Do you think that this is NPOV? That there is no other side to the story? Jimbo Wales 21:27, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Perhaps there is. If there is, it should be presented. Do you know of another side to the story? Is there any evident motivation for the arrest? If so, it should be mentioned, but I don't know of one. Quadell (talk) 14:54, Aug 20, 2004 (UTC)
A few days later Marines descended on Muqtada's house to arrest him. Subsequent to this, naturally, al-Sadr resumed his insurrection. Though al-Sadr was boycotting the elections and never acknowledged the legitimacy of the interim government, he agreed to a truce in June and was holding to it; it was others who began provocation that pushed him back into violence. What facts do you feel are being ignored in this situation? Graft 14:46, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)
O.k., a few questions. What was the content of the truce agreement? What terms did the US violate by arresting one of al-Sadr's aides? What terms did al-Sadr violate by launching a wave of violence, including the kidnapping of policemen and firefights in response? I could be convinced, but there is just absolutely no way that we can draw those kinds of bold conclusions at this date, without substantially more documentation. What we are doing right now is reporting, in a way much stronger than any other source that I have been able to find, that the U.S. was responsible for breaking the truce. Jimbo Wales 21:27, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)
The truce agreement was, so far as I can determine, light on the specifics. It said that the U.S. wouldn't try to arrest al-Sadr, and his militia would not be attacked, and al-Sadr's militia would not attack U.S. troops. If there were specifics, I haven't seen them reported. I don't know if the U.S. violated the letter of the truce, or if the truce was even specific enough for that to apply, but it is fair to say that arresting one of al-Sadr's aides was a provocative move. And see the sources below. Quadell (talk) 14:54, Aug 20, 2004 (UTC)
Certainly we need to be as NPOV as possible, and a militia-leader should not be portrayed as a pacifist. But the statements that "The June settlement was broken by U.S. troops" and "Despite assurances in June that he would not face arrest and be allowed to stand in the 2005 elections, US and Iraqi forces moved against al-Sadr in August" are not seriously in doubt. See here (NYT) and here (BBC) and here (Guardian), etc. Certainly saying "The U.S. broke the truce, which was immoral" would be POV, but saying that the U.S. broke the truce seems to be factual. Quadell (talk) 14:49, Aug 19, 2004 (UTC)
I disagree. I think that the facts at this point are murky at best, and point generally towards al-Sadr as being the person who broke the truce agreement. And the cites that you give above do not support the alternative position, as follows: the NYT article says that some Marines "turned a firefight with al-Sadr's forces... into a eight-day pitched battle"... but leaves open the question of how that firefight started. The BBC article just quite simply does not say that the U.S. broke the truce agreement. It says that Iraqi officials had said that Sadr himself would not face arrest despite the previous arrest warrant, but it does not say that his aides would have immunity, nor does it spell out in any way the details of the truce agreement. The Guardian article says that Iraqi leaders had "run out of patience" -- meaning, I think, that it was their opinion that he had not lived up to the terms of whatever agreement had been reached, or that he was dragging his feet in so doing.
There is just no way to read any of those articles as an endorsement of our preposterously bold claims. Jimbo Wales 21:27, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Can we tone down the rhetoric a bit? I think it will help maintain civility here.
The NYT article is entitled "Marines picked Najaf fight without Pentagon's OK". It reports that "new Marine commanders decided to smash guerrillas loyal to the rebel Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr" and that "the Marines had hoped [it] would be a quick, decisive action". Yes, it says "the Marine officers said they turned a firefight with al-Sadr's forces on Aug. 5 into a eight-day pitched battle", but the firefight was apparently started by the Marines. The article says: "as a reconstruction of the battle in Najaf shows, the sequence of events was strikingly reminiscent of the battle of Fallujah in April. In both cases, newly arrived Marine units immediately confronted guerrillas in firefights that quickly escalated." (It also quotes a Lt. Col. criticizing the marines by claiming they should have had a plan in place before they attacked.) Do you really read this article as saying al-Sadr's people attacked the Marines? I don't.
The BBC article says "Over the last few weeks, Mr Sadr's fiery rhetoric against the US presence had softened, and he had pledged to lead a peaceful campaign of resistance." And then "The fighting in Najaf on Monday afternoon appears to have started when US troops backed by Iraqi security forces approached Mr Sadr's house - surrounded by members of his militia, the Mehdi Army. Smoke and loud explosions were heard for about one hour." Again, this seems pretty clear. There was no fighting until U.S. troops, backed by Iraqi troops, approached Sadr's house. No members of the press were there, but that's clearly provocative. Combined with the NYT article, I don't see this as "murky at best".
And the Guardian article says: "The fighting came as the Iraqi government indicated it had decided to act against the popular but radical Mr Sadr, despite a recent ceasefire that had kept the peace between coalition forces and his followers." It's pretty clear who broke the truce. Yes, the "new Iraqi government said it had run out of patience with Mr Sadr", but not because he had broken any truce, but because he "controlled the shrine of the Imam Ali in Najaf, one of the most sacred places in the Shia faith, since the deal to end an armed uprising by his fighters in June." An Iraqi government leader said "Mr Sadr and his criminal supporters must be removed from the holy shrine at Najaf to restore respect and peace to the area. . . We will not tolerate these criminal activities any longer. . . We don't know exactly where he is, but we will fight all criminals. It does not matter how big they are."
I think the article should say that the U.S. and U.S.-backed Iraqi forces appear to have broken the truce, and that this should be backed up by these references. Quadell (talk) 14:54, Aug 20, 2004 (UTC)
Although it would be nice to distinguish between all parties: the article currently alleges that Marines did the truce-breaking on their own; however, it was Iraqi police who arrested his aide in Karbala, which suggests the interim government wanted to move against him. Elements in the US government may have wanted otherwise - this I'm not clear on, where the pressure came from. Graft 15:13, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Oo de lalee - my mistake, it was a joint raid that got his aide on July 31st. Not much on why it happened - I suspect someone decided "We can take him out - let's go for it." Lots of soft-pedaling by Allawi - he announced Muqtada's innocence and cooperativeness concurrent with the joint raid. Graft 16:13, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)
This link (NYT) gives some recent revelations as to how it happened. It's basically like you suspected. Quadell (talk) 19:52, Aug 19, 2004 (UTC)
And none of those articles tells it the way that Wikipedia currently tells it. Those articles are generally quite measured and careful about assigning blame. We "read between the lines" (but incorrectly, I think), and make a very bold leap to a very bold conclusion. We must soften the statements in the article to reflect only those things which are absolutely uncontroversial.
If someone can point me to a presentation of the June truce agreement which (a) conclusively shows that the United States was under an obligation not to arrest Sheikh Mithal al-Hasnawi, and that (b) al-Sadr was complying with his obligations under that agreement and (c) that all major respectable commentators on this dispute agree with our interpretation of the issues, then I'll drop my complaint. Until then, I think it is a severe abuse of NPOV to make this kind of wild leap of logic. Jimbo Wales 21:27, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Again, we're all trying to be unbiased here, and I'd like us to all work together to make this article the best it can be. It will be helpful not to use inflamatory wording like "severe abuse", and "wild leap of logic" unless necessary, especially by a person with the power to ban anyone for any reason. Quadell (talk) 14:54, Aug 20, 2004 (UTC)

I wrote the initial section "August 2004 hostilities" and felt that it is NPOV. (I didn't see this debate because I was away for a few days.)

First, I have a question of principle on the NPOV policy: when we know the facts but a group denies those facts, are we still allowed to present them as facts? For example, some Christian and Muslim fundamentalist groups deny evolution and deny that DNA is the molecular basis of heredity - are we still allowed to state "DNA is the basis of heredity" since there is compelling scientific evidence for this, regardless of what some groups think? Or neo-Nazi groups typically deny the holocaust - are we still allowed to say "during the holocaust, six million Jews were killed in extermination camps" (since historical evidence estabilshes this as a fact). Or a more contemporary example: The Israeli government and Zionist groups insist on calling the West Bank barrier a "fence", but Palestinian groups, the World Court, and others call it a "wall" - is it NPOV for Wikipedia to state that "part of the West Bank barrier is a wall" (again an established fact). As far as I can see, the anwer to my question has to be yes, facts should be described as facts (and the views of dissenters should be mentioned but described as their views)- otherwise Wikipedia will be an "Orwellian" encyclopedia where facts are forever subjected to political/ideological discourse.

Now for some facts I believe to be established surrounding this article:
the truce (I googled for some time but couldn't find the original text of the truce)

  • the truce agreed to in June required both US forces and Sadr's militia (except for those members living there) to withdraw from Najaf and be replaced by interim government-controlled police; both did actually withdraw in June. (Guardian, June 7:) "Iraqi police were back on the streets of Najaf yesterday after the US authorities [...]withdrew their troops from the holy city.The cleric's militias, known as the Mahdi army, were also leaving the city [...] witnesses said." [1]
  • the truce required Sadr to disband his militia and transform it into a political force, without however requiring them to immediately and completely disarm. Guardian(same article): "the Mahdi army[...] were allowed to keep their weapons under an agreement between the two sides."
  • the truce required the US and the interim government to shelve the arrest warrant for Sadr

the violation of the truce

  • "US forces in Iraq went on the offensive against two Islamist political groups yesterday [2 Aug.], arresting an influential Sunni cleric in Baghdad and breaking a two-month ceasefire with followers of Shia radical Moqtada al-Sadr, based in Kufa. Sheikh Mahmoud al-Sudani, a spokesman for Mr Sadr in Baghdad, told journalists that US soldiers had surrounded Mr Sadr's house. Reuters news agency quoted witnesses saying that US forces had moved into Mr Sadr's neighbourhood in Kufa, next to Najaf, and were exchanging fire with members of Mr Sadr's Shia militia, the Mehdi Army.' (Finacial Times, 3 Aug., p. 9)

I can't see any reason to doubt the account that it was the US/interim government that broke the truce when they moved to arrest Sadr, for the following reasons:

  • I haven't seen any reports from that time that give a different account of the events(although there is a dispute over whether Marines moved against Sadr "by mistake" or by calculation), there are reports from different sources that it was US/interim troops that took the initiative;
  • the US/interim government are militarily far superior to the Mahdi militia - therefore Sadr has no interest in an armed confrontation ;
  • Sadr has repeatedly tried to settle the conclict, often taking the initiative (the truce in June came about after Sadr wrote a letter to the Iraqi government council ; on August 5 he called for a restoration of the truce ; on August 18 he stated again that he agreed to leave Najaf and disband his militia)
  • the US/interim government seem to have taken the initiative to eliminate al-Sadr and his movement on several occasions (the confrontation in April/May started after the occupation authorities closed down his newspaper and tried to arrest al Sadr [2] ; on August 2 they again tried to arrest him in violation of the truce ; they dismissed his August 5 call for a restoration of the truce ; on August 14, the interim government withdrew from negotiations, Sadr alleges that Allawi decided this after Sadr agreed on all points with the government negotiator [3])
  • Western analysts agree that it is the US/interim government that have decided to crush Sadr, and explain why they are doing this: [4]
    • Dr Mustafa Alani (Royal United Services Institute,UK) "The US strategy, as well as the strategy of Mr Allawi's government, is to eliminate Moqtada Sadr's political movement and to disarm and disband his militia. The aim is not to reach a compromise or another ceasefire which could give Mr Sadr a military and political advantage and enhance his political-religious status.Therefore, the ultimate objective of this crisis is to defeat Mr Sadr at any price.[...] Mr Sadr and his movement are a visible enemy, with a declared political-military agenda which represents a major challenge to US strategy and prestige in Iraq. [...]Mr Sadr's political ambition is too big to be accommodated by the new Iraqi government[...]"
    • Dr Toby Dodge (International Institute for Strategic Studies, UK): "In the south of the country, the government of Iraq and the US army have clearly decided to make a stand in Najaf[...] the security situation in Iraq is steadily deteriorating, with the insurgency's geographic areas of operations growing steadily each day. There is a real danger that if this situation is not quickly turned around then Iraq's new Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi, will become little more than the mayor of Baghdad."
    • Michael O'Hanlon(US): "There has been a lot of fighting in the last few days - we are not allowing the impasse to go on. The attitude here is not one of leniency." (maybe he shouldn't be taken too seriously though, as he admits to not understanding the confrontation: "I just do not know what is motivating [Sadr]"
    • Juan Cole (respected US academic): Aug.1 : "Allawi's government cracked down this weekend on the Sadr movement. Iraqi National Guards and Coalition forces arrested Muqtada al-Sadr's representative in the holy Shiite city of Karbala, Shaikh Mithal al-Hasnawi, early in the morning at his house, along with his brother. [...] US arrests of Muqtada aides in early April provoked substantial violence in Iraq. Note that this arrest would have been the work of Interior Minister Falah al-Naqib and would have been authorized by Iyad Allawi." Aug 8.: "here is my reading of what is going on in Najaf. The truce between the Mahdi Army and US/ Iraqi forces broke down because they had different ideas of what the truce entailed. US-appointed governor Adnan al-Zurufi had demanded that the Mahdi Army disarm and/or leave Najaf. Muqtada al-Sadr on the other hand interpreted the truce to entail limiting his militia's activities to certain areas of the city and to have them avoid clashes with police and US troops.[...] So, I think al-Zurufi and the Americans sat down and planned the crackdown on the Mahdi Army. (It may be that the caretaker government of Iyad Allawi and especially hardline Interior Minister Falah al-Naqib spurred al-Zurufi on.) I also think Muqtada sat down and planned out how to keep the Mahdi Army ensconced in Najaf (which is not their natural territory) despite the truce. Neither side had realistic expectations of the truce, or was sincerely committed to any sort of compromise that would be acceptable to the other side." Aug. 9: "[...]Allawi's government, in alliance with the Americans, was attempting to crush the Sadr movement[...]". Aug.18 (on Sadr): "Muqtada is playing chicken with a superpower, and he knows very well that he could easily wind up dead. He seems convinced, however, that the Americans would kill him if they could anyway, and that he may as well go out fighting. Remember that the Americans (in this case high officials in Washington) abruptly came after Muqtada in early April, saying they wanted to "kill or capture" him. Muqtada spent his life fighting Saddam, and once Saddam said something like that about you, you were a dead man walking. Muqtada sees the Americans and Allawi through that lens of Saddam-like behavior and ruthlessness." [5]

To respond directly to Jimbo's points above:
(a) the arrest of Sheikh Mithal al-Hasnawi did not breach the truce (which only concerned the arrest of Sadr himself) ; my wording (The June settlement was broken by US troops who arrested Sadr's representative in Karbala, Sheikh Mithal al Hasnawi on 31 July and surrounded al-Sadr's home on 3 August) was (unintentionally) misleading, my sincere apologies for that ; I included it because it was a first indication that the US/interim government were moving against Sadr.
(b) it is clear that there was no fighting until 3. August, which started when US/Iraqi forces surrounded and attacked Sadr's house - hence Sadr did observe the ceasefire ; whether he rigorously observed all the terms of the truce is open to interpretation (see Juan Cole above - he may indeed have genuinely believed to observe them when US/Iraqi officials may indeed have genuinely believed that he broke them) ; this complexity should be mentioned in the article
(c) it is an established fact that fighting started when US/Iraqi forces attacked Sadr's house - this fact is not open to interpretation, the sequence of events is not controversial ; it is true that the narrative in US and British media usually suggests that Sadr is to blame for the hostilities - typically without mentioning this fact ; this is not at all surprising: historically, in times of war, there has always been a strong tendency to view one own government's actions as defensive and the opponent's actions as offensive ; however facts must be described as facts and not be subjected to partisan discourse ; to maintain NPOV, the view expressed by "major respectable commentators" should be mentioned in the article.

In conclusion, I'd say that the sentence "The June settlement was violated by US/interim government forces who surrounded al-Sadr's home on 3 August" is important, factual and NPOV, and I would like to keep it unless there is evidence to the contrary. pir 14:20, 23 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Shi'a, Shi'i, Shi'ite[edit]

Can we have sone consensus on what Shi'a ought to be called? We use any of the above three with apparent abandon - ought to be only one since they're pretty much equivalent. Graft 21:23, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I don't think I've ever seen shi'i. Might be a typo if it exists. Shi'a and shi'ite are both fine words, as far as I can tell. Why can't we use them both? It gives some variety, like calling the Republican Party the "GOP". --LeeHunter 01:23, 20 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Shi'i is singular of Shi'a, counterpart to Sunni. Since we don't say Sunnite, we ought not to say Shi'ite. It's like using 'colour' and 'color' in the same paragraph. Graft 02:50, 20 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Shi'i (شيعي) is singular of Shi'a (شيعة) but where did shi'ite come from? Probably derived from the same plural form (Shi'a شيعة), some Arabic words that end with "ة" are pronounced with "T" if they are adjuncts. eagleamn 02:53, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)

"Shi'ite" is the Anglicized version. Just like members of Bani Israel being called "Israelites" in English. For some reason, languages such as Arabic which gives names to certain groups comes out having an ending of "ite" in English. Shi'ite is considered incorrect by some Shias, and some just don't like the term. However, there is a minority who uses the term "Shi'ite", but usually where this is used the term "Sunnite" is also used. Both are incorrect if you are trying to call them by their true name. Armyrifle 15:56, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

I agree with Armyrifle that "Shi`ite" is merely an Anglicized version of the term. It should be completely ruled out. With respect to the other two terms, I must dispute the assertion that "Shi`i" is the singular of "Shi`a". They are two distinct alternatives. Both terms can be used as both singular and plural. We need to establish consensus on which to go with. I took a course titled "Post-Saddam Iraq" a couple of years ago with Prof. Carol O'Leary at American University. She is a sociologist and an expert on Iraq. Her preference was "Shi`i", though I can't recall why. Also, you have all been using the wrong apostrophe. Transliterated Arabic words require the use of an inverted apostrophe (`) rather than the regular apostrophe (').Montblanc2000 17:31, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

Moved from talk[edit]

The following discussion was moved from comments in the article itself, regarding the claim "After the 4 June truce with the occupation forces, al-Sadr took steps to disband the Madhi army."

Is this true? How effective were these steps? (written by Quadell)
Clearly, these steps were ineffective, since the Madhi army is in no way disbanded. al-Sadr violated the truce agreement, and proved himself to be a liar. (written by Jimbo Wales)

To this I would add, the Mahdi army could easily be disbanded, and then reformed, within days. All the weapons were owned by the militia members themselves, and the members are not paid. If they went home, the army would be "disbanded". If they took to the streets again, angry about the arrest of Sadr's aid, then they would be "reformed". I just don't know whether the militia was ever disbanded or not. I'd like to know, if anyone has a cite. Also, every decision-maker in this situation, from Allawi to al-Sadr to Rumsfeld, has said things that have contradicted previous statements. Most influencial world figures, from Martin Luther King to Abe Lincoln to Bush to Kerry could be considered "liars" by this strict definition, but the inflamatory label doesn't really help to understand the person. Quadell (talk) 14:01, Aug 23, 2004 (UTC)

I would like to add that the truce did not require the Mahdi army to disarm immediately (see my edit above) but for the armed resistance movement to be transformed into a political movement i.e. party.pir 14:25, 23 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Popularity - misleading?[edit]

The article makes the following claims:

This viewpoint has been questioned, with a US-sponsored poll from June finding that 67% respondents support him (32% "strongly support", 36% "somewhat support" him). In the poll, he comes as the third most popular political figure, behind Ali Sistani but far ahead of interim PM Iyad Allawi who is opposed by 61% and supported by only 23% of respondents.

This is misleading or simply inaccurate:

  • The poll was taken May 14 to May 23, according to the first MSNBC article, whereas the WP article states the poll was "from June"
  • The article refers to Allawi was "interim PM", but the poll was "taken just before he was named to head the new interim government" (according to the MSNBC article), let alone before he assumed power. It's questionable to what degree the poll data reflects the relevant popularity of the two men in Iraq at the present time: since the middle of May a lot of events have occurred in Iraq, Allawi has actually taken power, the situation with al Sadr has changed substantially, and so on.
  • The article fails to note that the same poll indicates that only 2% of respondents would vote for Sadr as president. This is surely worth noting.

Any comments on the above? Barring any objections I'll edit the referenced paragraph to make it less misleading and IMHO closer to NPOV. Neilc 08:59, 20 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Neil, I think those edits would be highly valuable. For whatever reason(s) the current article is still very one sided. The reader gets a completely inaccurate picture of the story in Iraq with the highly selective poll data in the article. In particular I think that the 2% number is of critical importance. Jimbo Wales 12:32, 20 Aug 2004 (UTC)

About the date of the poll; it was first reported on in June, so that's probably where the mistake comes from. I'll change the article. It's also important to note that, according to Juan Cole (an expert in the region), Allawi's popularity has decreased since taking power, and al-Sadr's has increased, since even people who were never that fond of him respect him for (as they see it) standing up to the occupiers. And yes, most Iraqis don't want al-Sadr to be president. Oprah Winfrey is very popular here in the states, but few want her to be president. Cole's take is that the Shias see al-Sadr as a religious leader, not a secular leader, and the Sunnis see him as a gutsy rebel, but not exactly presidential material. Quadell (talk) 15:05, Aug 20, 2004 (UTC)

Who did the poll? What were the questions? What was the sample size? Who paid for it? The US has a group called the International Republican Institute that does phony polls in these types of situations, so I think my questions are valid. (talk) 16:31, 26 March 2008 (UTC)Kab ibn al-Ashraf

I am only an ordinary editor[edit]

I'm going to edit the article now, because my concerns have not yet been addressed adequately. But I wanted to be clear that I am editing as an editor, like anyone else, and my changes are not decrees. I say this because I so seldom edit and because I do not want my edits to receive special protection, but rather to stand or fall on their own merits. Jimbo Wales 12:28, 20 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I really appreciate you saying this. Quadell (talk) 15:07, Aug 20, 2004 (UTC)

One little change that I made which may warrant some explanation. I removed a link to an editorial at, because first of all an extremely POV anti-US editorial is not a proper citation for fact. Greenleft in particular is not a credible source. Jimbo Wales 12:28, 20 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I regularly read Greenleft, and I find them to be a credible source of information. The way they seem to function is that they have a mailinglist on which members post news articles from mainstream media. The editors then write articles that are digests based on this very broad source of information and often include information that's underreported in the mainstream news. I included the link because the information was apparently based on the Aug.3 Finacial Times article, which is unfortunately subscription-only. Of course we may disagree with their politics and their world view (socialist, anti-imperialist, feminist, ecologist)- as I do to some extent - and I find the characterisation "extremely POV anti-US" very unfair. But their information is accurate and they don't make anything up. - pir 14:37, 23 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Suggestions for rewording[edit]

I think the article is very close to NPOV at this point. There are just a few changes I would recommend. I thought I'd solicit reaction here before making them.

  1. I would change "For a time in June and July, it appeared that the truce agreement meant that al-Sadr would disband his army and join the political process, and as a result, he had assurances that he would not face arrest and be allowed to stand in the 2005 elections." to "Al-Sadr had agreed to disband his army and join the political process, and he was given assurances that he would not face arrest and be allowed to stand in the 2005 elections." My reason is that I'm not sure whether these were parts of the truce agreement or not, and I'm not comfortable with stating that one was "as a result" of the other. The rest of the intro paragraph seems fine to me.
  2. I would move the following comments to talk: "Is this true? How effective were these steps?" and "Clearly, these steps were ineffective, since the Madhi army is in no way disbanded. al-Sadr violated the truce agreement, and proved himself to be a liar."
  3. I would remove the parenthetical phrase "(whether by al-Sadr or the US)", since I think it's unnecessary.

Are there other parts that still need the be NPOVed before the neutrality notice can be removed? Quadell (talk) 15:34, Aug 20, 2004 (UTC)

Since there has been no discussion, and since the article is now linked from the main page, I'm going to make these changes. Can I remove the "disputed" header? Quadell (talk) 12:44, Aug 23, 2004 (UTC)

This will be fine with me. I might still be a little grumpy about parts of the article, but I find it to be much improved, and your suggestions are good. Jimbo Wales 14:10, 23 Aug 2004 (UTC)

The current version is fine with me too, except the sentence: "The June settlement was broken after Iraqi policemen and US troops arrested Sadr's representative in Karbala, Sheikh Mithal al Hasnawi, on 31 July. They subsequently surrounded al-Sadr's home on 3 August, resulting in heavy gunfire, mortar shelling and grenade blasts." which is still misleading in the same way my intial version was misleading. The arrest of Hasnawi didn't break the agreement, only signalled that confrontation was about to start. How about "The June settlement was broken after Iraqi policemen and US troops surrounded al-Sadr's home on 3 August, resulting in heavy gunfire, mortar shelling and grenade blasts. Earlier, on 31 July, they had arrested Sadr's representative in Karbala, Sheikh Mithal al Hasnawi." - pir 14:48, 23 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Sounds fine with me. Quadell (talk) 15:48, Aug 23, 2004 (UTC)
To me it seems a little awkward to give events out of chronological order that way, especially if we want to add details. What about something like this: Despite the promises of the Iraqi government, in late July Sadr announced his intention to boycott the upcoming national conference, as did the Association of Muslim Scholars, a Sunni organization linked to Sadr[6]. On 31 July, Sadr's representative in Karbala, Sheikh Mithal al Hasnawi (also spelled Hafnawy) and his brother were captured by US and Iraqi National Guard troops in a joint raid[7]. Sadr representatives condemned the move, reportedly saying "We demand that they be freed, and if this is ignored then we will respond at the appropriate time"[8]. The June settlement was broken after Iraqi policemen and US troops surrounded al-Sadr's home on 3 August, resulting in heavy gunfire, mortar shelling and grenade blasts. Wmahan. 17:02, 2004 Aug 23 (UTC)
I think that's actually better. Maybe it would be good to explain why Sadr boycotted the national assembly as well. - pir 17:12, 23 Aug 2004 (UTC)
I'll add after the first sentence, An al-Sadr spokesman said that after initially promising to support the conference, Sadr and his supporters realized that it was "a sad joke" and "a trick on the Iraqi people" because of the allegedly undemocratic process for selecting the delegates. [9] Wmahan.
"Realized" means the statement was true. I'd prefer "claimed" or "changed their minds, claiming" or even "said". Quadell (talk) 19:19, Aug 23, 2004 (UTC)
I was simply trying to report what the spokesman claimed, which was that they realized they couldn't agree to the process. Would this be clearer? Although Sadr initially promised to support the conference, he changed his mind, claiming through a spokesman that it was "a sad joke" and "a trick on the Iraqi people" because of the allegedly undemocratic process for selecting the delegates. Wmahan. 19:47, 2004 Aug 23 (UTC)
I made the proposed changes in the article. It looks like there is a different summary of the same events at Mahdi Army#August 2004 hostilities. I wonder if it might be better to centralize the information in one place. Wmahan. 03:39, 2004 Aug 24 (UTC)

Recent changes related to ceasefire[edit]

I made some changes to the text to reflect the situation as it stands today. One thing that is missing from this article is mention of the extent to which Sistani and other Shia leaders effectively abandoned Sadr to punishment from American forces. This is not a universal view but I think it should be at least mentioned as being widely held. Something that I have included is mention of large losses by the Mahdi militia. This is associated with a widely held view that Sadr's forces fared rather badly in combat with the Americans and began to suffer manpower and morale problems. Added to this is the fact that U.S. forces used the main gun of the Bradley fighting vehicle in fairly confined residential neighborhoods while confronting the Mahdi militia. This evidently led to pressure on Sadr from residents of the area to bring the hostilities to a halt. Whatever one may think of the American tactics or the degree to which they showed good faith in dealing with Sadr, it's very hard to escape the conclusion that the Mahdi militia could not stand up under the level of military pressure that was applied to them. This is undoubtedly what has led to Sadr's recent adoption of a much less confrontational posture. I have refrained from going this far in the text however. --Wtmgeo 10:44, 18 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Prefixed-Style of Formal Address[edit]

Per current Wikipedia policy, as claimed by jguk to have been adopted by a prior consensus, I am prefixing the formal style Hojatoleslam to the present biographical entry. Do not revert this edit unless you can dispute the existing Wikipedia:Manual of Style (biographies) policy regarding Honorific Prefixes, and the entry on Style (manner of address) containing examples.

Please note that it is my preference that the prefixed style not be used, however if it is used in some cases (such as for Pope Benedict XVI) but not for others (such as Muqtada al-Sadr) then this may constitute improper POV by the Wikipedia community. Because of the existing division of opinion regarding the appropriateness of this policy, a survey is currently being conducted at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (biographies)/Survey on Style-Prefixed Honorary Titles in which I encourage you to participate. Whig 04:51, 4 May 2005 (UTC)


Shouldn't this be named "Muqtada as-Sadr? I believe "al-Sadr" is technically not correct (even though it may be more popular on google). csloat 01:15, 24 May 2005 (UTC)

It's very common in English-language scholarship on the Iraq Shii over the last 20 years. I've dug through a number of indexes looking for al-Sadr and have yet to find as-Sadr instead. --Vector4F 18:09, 2 January 2006 (UTC)
this is one of the cases where poor translation is used and not corrected due to popularity. In Arabic, any 'Al' (means the) followed by a 'shamsi' letter the L in AL is pronounced as that 'shamsi' letter. S is a 'shamsi' letter, hence 'al-sadr' should be prononced as 'as-sadr'. Maybe we should mention that both spellings are correct. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 09:08, 24 February 2007 (UTC).

Date of Birth?[edit]

Coolhunter, you added al-Sadr's DOB as August 13, 1973. I would be very interested to know your source, as I was under the impression this fact was generally unknown. Thanks. --Vector4F 18:38, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

I too would like to know the source of this information. I will tag it as "citation needed" in the meantime, but without proper documentation in a timely manner, I will be forced to change the date to unknown. Many USG officials and Iraq experts (from academia and the private sector) explicitly state that his age is unknown.Montblanc2000 08:10, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

PBP, I see that you added the DOB again, noting that you can Google it. I have, but none of the sources substantiate the claim. Please find a legitimate source to cite. Also, please discuss changes on this page before making them.Montblanc2000 03:48, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

I found what I think is a good enough source for his birth date of August 12, 1973. Unfortunately, I'm not knowledgeable about editing Wikipedia, and in particular infoboxes; every time I tried to add this source as a citation for the date of birth given in the infobox at the top, it messed up the infobox. Can somebody please do this however it needs to be done? Thanks! Kier07 (talk) 03:37, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

Muqtada al-Sadr infiltrated the security detail for Saddam Hussein's execution?[edit]

Where is the citation for the claim that: "On December 30, 2006 people loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr infiltrated the security detail for Saddam Hussein's execution, chanted 'Muqtada' and taunted Saddam, and got it all on film, which then circulated on Arab television and the internet." All of the media, both Western and Middle Eastern, reported that the execution was performed by the Iraqi Government. IMHO, absent a citation to a credible source to support the dissenting view that al-Sadr infiltrated the security detail for Saddam Hussein's execution, this claim should be removed.

sounds completely reasonable to remove it. Murderbike 09:27, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

You can hear this on PBS' Bush's War (Part Two), chapter 11, 4 min in. --Adoniscik(t, c) 16:39, 11 January 2009 (UTC)


Here is the link to the story stating al-Sadr has fled to Iran. [10]MichaelLinnear 01:44, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

This is a debated subject. Many claim that he didn't flee, many claim that he did. It should be said in the article: "It is believed that he fled to Iran, but it is debated" or something like that. Armyrifle 15:56, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

Is the debate about whether he fled (vs. left without coercion) or is it about whether/where he actually went? The AJ article cited elsewhere on the page also says "Al-Sadr left Iraq at the end of 2006, according to his movement, and had reportedly been pursuing religious studies in the Iranian holy city of Qom." --Jhfrontz (talk) 19:23, 1 February 2013 (UTC)


In islamic understanding there exists no "cleric". This is a christian approach and shows a severe misunderstanding of Islam. All islamic "cleric" reputation and formal shia ranks (like "Hojatolislam") depends on studies and abilities to speech about islam. 12:25, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

There are no clerics on Sunni Islam, but there is a kind of clerical system in Shia Islam. However, it's not clerical like, for example, Catholicism. It's "clerical" as in there being different "ranks" that a person may achieve based on his/her knowledge of Islamic Jurisprudence (Fiqh). Armyrifle 15:56, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

Nothing about assassination attempt against al-Sadr?[edit]

I'm a little surprised there's nothing here about the attempt on al-Sadr's life in 2004, described here. I'm not suggesting using this as the sole source, although Cockburn's reporting is some of the best coming out of Iraq. I'm sure lots of other sources for this can be found. Anyone want to do this? +ILike2BeAnonymous 18:35, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

Intro paragraph[edit]

Shouldn't the intro paragraph say that he's the leader of the Mahdi Army and maybe that his political party has a good number of seats in the Parliament? I think the focus on who he's related to now is a bit odd. 20:31, 19 October 2007 (UTC)

Yes and no. His political/militant status is very important, but so is the fact that he was related to an Ayatollah. Cream10152 (talk) 02:09, 9 April 2008 (UTC)


Considering that even Muqtada himself does not regard himself as a mujtahid, how can it be appropriate to describe him in the opening as a "theologian"? Wouldn't it be more accurate to describe him as a "religious and political leader" and leave it at that? Winterbadger (talk) 19:13, 11 May 2009 (UTC)

That is certainly my opinion. The man is no theologian, although he is working to become one. (talk) 11:42, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

Clarification needed[edit]

Where we see "In his sermons and public interviews al-Sadr has repeatedly demanded an immediate withdrawal of all US led coalition forces, all foreign troops under United Nations control, and the establishment of a new central Iraqi government, not connected to the Ba'ath party or the current Allawi government" -- does this mean "demanded withdrawal of all foreign troops under U.N. Control" or "demanded that all foreign troops be under U.N. Control"? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jo3sampl (talkcontribs) 21:31, 27 December 2010 (UTC)

What, no photograph?[edit]

"Please enter a comment below." You got it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ignacio.Agulló (talkcontribs) 00:23, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

Glad to see there's a photograph now. I might delete this section in the future because if the photograph stays, there will be no need for the section. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ignacio.Agulló (talkcontribs) 17:38, 18 June 2012 (UTC)

Post-U.S Withdraw[edit]

Why isn't there any information of him after the United States Army left Iraq? The war is still technically going on and he is partly responsible. -- (talk) 12:20, 5 June 2012 (UTC)

 Done --Cerebellum (talk) 01:56, 24 October 2013 (UTC)

Thanks.-- (talk) 09:40, 16 February 2014 (UTC)


>> Iraqi cleric Sadr announces retirement (Lihaas (talk) 13:16, 16 February 2014 (UTC)).

Need Peer Review[edit]

Hello, I'm a new user, but I served in Iraq from 2005 and 2007-2008. Also have an associate in Political Science. I erased two "citations needed" as they were pro-Mahdi...if you will. Sadr means "back" in Arabic....also added the link above to the 2004 year, and erased Bio template. I like it how it is(concerning Prose), please make sure I wrote citation 11 fine, or if you can make it better, please do.Wnicholas70 (talk) 20:13, 25 March 2014 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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2004 changes[edit]

I changed the line that said the 1st Cavalry Division broke the back of the militia to the 1st Armor Division breaking their back. I was in Baghdad when all this happened. The 1st Cavalry Division replaced the 1st Armor Division and the Generals used the 1st Armor Division to go after the militia, instead of sending us home. We had already been in Iraq for a year when this happened. HEre are some sources to back this up: — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:03, 4 May 2016 (UTC)