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Ameri Urges Iraqi Govt. to Heed Badr Organization’s Demands

Ameri Urges Iraqi Govt. to Heed Badr Organization’s Demands

Tuesday, 16 April, 2019 - 06:45
Badr Organization leader Hadi al-Ameri. (AP)
Baghdad – Fadhel al-Nashmi
The Badr Organization in Iraq has so far refused to comment on the protests that were recently staged by its former members against its Secretary General and leading commander of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) Hadi al-Ameri.

The silence is an apparent attempt to contain the internal crisis within the organization, said sources close to the group.

Dozens of former Badr members had staged last week angry protests in front of the group’s headquarters in Baghdad’s al-Jadriya neighborhood, accusing Ameri of forfeiting their rights. Videos circulated on social media showed demonstrators threatening to take up arms and making death threats against Ameri.

Some protesters said that Badr officials have called on the PMF to intervene to disperse the rally and that Ameri had called for an arrest warrant to be issued against the protest organizers. The claims could not be independently verified.

One protester appealed to Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi and the Interior Ministry, saying: “What right does Ameri have to call for arrest warrants against figures who organized a peaceful rally?”

Ameri on Sunday threw the ball in Abdul Mahdi’s court, urging him to “right the wrongs” committed against the Badr Organization.

“We will not abandon their rights and it is unfortunate that all of our efforts had fallen on deaf ears by previous governments,” he said in a statement, which did not address the protests. He did however, call for the need to distinguish between those “who have legitimate demands and those who want to create problems.”

Informed sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the protesters are divided between those who have not completed their education, but seek high military ranks, others who only came to Iraq after 2003 and others who enjoyed good ties with the regime of late ruler Saddam Hussein.

Sources that support the mounting demonstrations said that some Badr protesters have accused the organization’s command of discriminating between its members in that some have been given their full rights and privileges and others have not.

The organization that was formed in Iran in the early 1980s. It served as the military wing of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq before breaking away from it. It allied itself with the State of Law coalition in Iraq in 2012.

The group came to prominence in wake of the ISIS terrorist organization’s capture of large swathes of Iraq in 2014. It was among the most prominent factions operating within the PMF. Ameri emerged as one of the PMF’s main leaders.

Political science professor at the University of Kufa Eyad al-Anbar told Asharq Al-Awsat that divisions withing political parties in Iraq are always part of the equation.

The organization’s silence over the recent protests, however, is aimed at preserving the gains it made during its battle against ISIS, he explained.

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