Iraq: October 10, 2003


Moqtada al-Sadr, a 32-year-old Shia religious student,  inherited a network of mosques and charities established and run by his father, prominent cleric Mohammed al-Sadr. The father was killed by Saddam and fled into exile in Iran. He has returned and is trying to establish himself as a major political leader. He's having a problem, as religious leaders in Iraq are supposed to be over fifty. Young al-Sadr is trying to make up for this by being militantly against the American occupation. Al-Sadr's base of operation is in a large slum neighborhood of Baghdad. It used to be called Saddam City, but has been renamed as Sadr City. Al Sadr doesn't care if he triggers a lot of violence, as long as he increases his political power. Al-Sadr has organized an armed militia which has had confrontations with American troops. But so far, he has used his armed men mostly to threaten and attack other Shia groups that do not agree with him.    


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