The leader of the Sadrist movement in Iraq, Muqtada al-Sadr, has renewed his rejection of any regional or international interference in Iraqi affairs, especially regarding the formation of the new federal government.
In a post on his official Twitter account, the Shia cleric and militia leader laid out his approach to dealing with neighboring countries.
It came after his party won the largest share of seats – a total of 73 out of 329 in the legislature – in the October 10 Iraqi parliamentary election, and thus the ability to form the next government.
"We will seek to consolidate relations with neighboring countries that have not interfered in Iraq's internal affairs,” al-Sadr wrote. “We are working to find joint projects in the security, economic, cultural, health, educational and industrial arenas, and at all levels.”
In addition, he said, "We will open high-level dialogue with neighboring countries that have clearly intervened in Iraqi affairs, in order to prevent all forms of interference. If they cooperate, this is welcome. Otherwise, we will resort to diplomatic and international methods to prevent this.”
He concluded the message with a warning, stating that Iraq’s new leadership would impose “strict measures” to curb foreign meddling in Iraq’s internal affairs.
Earlier on Saturday, October 23, al-Sadr had stressed again that it was “disgraceful” for Iraqis to cast doubt on the outcome of the vote announced the previous week.
“Dragging the country into chaos and disturbing the peace on the pretext of dissatisfaction with the election results,” he wrote, “is a disgraceful act that merely serves to complicate the political and security situation. It also reflects badly on the sceptics.”
The statement came after the Fatah Alliance, the electoral arm of Iran-allied Shia militias in the country, saw its share of seats in parliament drop from 48 to 17. Supporters of the bloc took to the streets near the Green Zone in Baghdad to protest, rejecting the results and demanding a recount.
The Iraqi Electoral Commission announced the preliminary results on October 17, pending their confirmation by the federal court. The UN has welcomed initial reports that indicate the electoral process was conducted smoothly, noting significant technical improvements compared to previous elections.
After the Sadrist movement, the next biggest winner was a Sunni coalition led by Speaker of Parliament Mohamed al-Halbousi, with 37 seats, and the State of Law coalition, led by former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, with 34 seats. The Kurdistan Democratic Party ranked fourth with 32 seats.