Moqtada al-Sadr and Iran have always had a difficult relationship. The two have used each other when it suited them, and then parted ways over and over again. Currently the two are at odds with each other over Sadr’s protests and support of Prime Minister Haidar Abadi.

In 2016 Sadr was able to co-opt the anti-government protests in Iraq. Those demonstrations started the year before demanding reforms in Baghdad. In August2015 Sadr first called on his followers to join in, and eventually subsumed the secular protest leaders and imposed his agenda upon them by the start of this year.

That culminated in taking over the Green Zone from April 30-May 1. During those two days Sadrists chanted anti-Iranian and anti-General Qasim Suleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Quds Force, slogans. Sadr meant to use the demonstrations to push Prime Minister Abadi to follow through with his remaking of the cabinet with non-partisan technocrats.

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