By watching the video below, you can begin to understand the history and significance that the Sadr family has in Iraq. Ayatollah al-Sadr directly opposed Saddam Hussein’s regime and was ultimately killed because of it. His death and the deaths of his older sons left a young Muqtada al-Sadr to pick up and carry on with the Sadr movement. The U.S. invasion of Iraq and fall of the Hussein regime afforded the perfect opportunity for Muqtada al-Sadr to be groomed to take a prominent role like his father. The war in Iraq also gave him experience fighting U.S. forces, which helped provide him even more legitimacy in the eyes of his countrymen. Following the U.S. withdrawal, he fell back into the shadows and presumably traveled to Iran for more religious training, as he is not yet an ayatollah.

Presently, Muqtada al-Sadr is once again active in Iraq and has organized political protests against the current Iraqi government, making allegations of corruption. This week, his supporters breeched of the Green Zone and Iraqi government buildings. The protest left four dead and several injured as Iraqi police fired on them with live ammo. Muqtada al-Sadr was shunned and ignored while the U.S. was in Iraq, but he has proven that he cannot be ignored any longer. Expect him to play a larger role in Iraq in the future.