Thousands of supporters of prominent Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr urged political leaders and tribal leaders in Iraq on Friday to stay away from any conflict between Iran and the United States,.
Protesters from Sadr’s supporters, who had previously led insurgents against US forces and publicly criticized Iran’s influence in Iraq, chanted anti-war slogans in central Baghdad and in the southern city of Basra.
Iraqis fear their country’s involvement in any escalation of tension between the United States and Iran, which intensified this month when the administration of US President Donald Trump said it would send additional troops to the Middle East to counter what it calls threats to its interests in the region by parties including armed groups backed by Iran in Iraq.
Politicians and leaders of Shi’ite militant groups called for calm and the Iraqi government tried to position itself as mediator between the two sides.
“We are still recovering from the Islamic state,” said one of the protesters, Abu Ali Darraji, “Iraq should not use a base to try to attack any country.” He said.