‘Al-Sistani is behind stopping the fight at Baghdad’s green zone’: Reuters
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) - Reuters has revealed a letter from Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani to Muqtada al-Sadr, leader of the Sadrist Movement, revealing the secret behind stopping the clashes in Baghdad’s green zone.
On Saturday, Reuters published a report titled "How did a 92-year-old cleric prevent Iraq from slipping into bloody war again?"
“When a statement by Iraqi cleric Kazem Hairi in Iran brought the situation in Iraq to the brink of war, there was only one person who could stop it, a 92-year-old Shiite cleric who once again proved to be the strongest man in his country,” read Reuters’ report.
Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has not commented publicly on the recent tensions in Iraq, but government officials told Reuters that his position prevented the situation from getting out of hand.
Reuters said it spoke to about 20 officials from the Iraqi government, the Sadr movement, and Shiite groups, many of whom spoke on condition of anonymity, referring to "Sistani's decisive intervention in the situation.”
"Sistani sent a letter to Sadr saying he would issue a statement calling for an end to the violence if it did not stop. This would have made Sadr look weak, and it seemed that Sadr had started the bloodshed in Iraq," a government official told Reuters.
Although three Shiite figures in Najaf close to Sistani did not confirm the letter to Reuters, they said it was clear to Sadr that Sistani would have a say if the fighting did not stop.
"If it weren't for Sistani's office, Sadr wouldn't have held the press conference to stop the fighting," an Iraqi official close to Iran told the news agency.
Early last week, Kazem Hairi, one of the Iraqi Shiite religious leaders based in Iran’s Qum, announced that he could not continue as the leader due to illness and old age. He called on his supporters to follow Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
Hairi's statement prompted Sadr to resign from politics and close most of his movement's offices and headquarters, sparking anger among supporters who attacked some government offices in the Green Zone, and armed clashes broke out.