Iraq PM Abadi Uses his Shiite Sadr Death Squads to Send a Message to Parliament: Accept IMF Technocrats or Else

by Scott Creighton

Followers of Moqtada al-Sadr are seen in the parliament building 30 April

Followers of Moqtada al-Sadr are seen in the parliament building 30 April

Yesterday I wrote that the flash “protest” in Baghdad looked like a color revolution. I was partially correct. It was staged, but not for the purpose of sending a message to Iraq Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi but rather, now on further inspection, it looks like it was staged by al-Abadi himself. Well, Abadi and the usual suspects here in the States who do anything and everything in support of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Neighbourhoods riven by past sectarian bloodshed on edge as Shia militias mount shows of force

Iraqi Shiite tribal fighters (death squads) in Baghdad’s Sadr City Photo: AP Photo/Karim Kadim

Staged chocolate photo-ops aside, this “protest” by the Shiites who are currently serving Western interests as roving death squads in Iraq, is not about fairness or equality or making the lives of average Iraqis any better than they are right now. Quite the contrary: they are there to push for the implementation of various IMF austerity measure structural reforms which the masters of the universe are demanding from an already impoverished nation.

IMF Leaders want to see more economic and social reforms, such as reducing subsidies to energy and terminating the government-run food ration program. These are difficult to implement not only because they are politically unsustainable, but also socially unsupportable in a state where poverty rate is at 30 percent high.

Proposed measures also include reforming the state-owned companies (privatization) and public sector employment.” Banking Information Center, April 28, 2016

Prime Minister Abadi supports these measures and is trying his best to install a few more pro-austerity technocrats in key ministry positions but the members of parliament are dragging their feet on the appointments.

Protesters slip through blast walls near parliament in Baghdad, 30 April

Death Squad crisis actors make their way to parliament to stage a little street theater in support of new IMF structural reforms

Negotiations for the new 15 billion dollar IMF loan began back in November of 2015 and it is supposed to be handed out by June of this year. There was even a meeting in Washington D.C. earlier this month where IMF officials and Iraqis got together and worked out what needed to happen before the masters of the universe would shell out the money they got from US taxpayers.


Osama Helfi and his son Ibrahim, a member of the Mahdi Army’s youth wing

Along comes Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr, a man who was a large part of the bloody rampage of the Salvador Option back in 2006 and 2007, saying he wants the reforms passed by parliament, most notably, the speedy approval of the pro-IMF technocrats.

Supporters of Mr Sadr want MPs to push through plans to replace ministers with political affiliations with non-partisan technocrats.” BBC

“On Saturday, Iraqi security forces were deployed in Baghdad in preparation for a “million-man” march expected to take place later in the day, called by firebrand Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who has been pressuring Abadi to announce a government of technocrats.” Rudaw

If you take a look at the make-up of the “protesters” who stormed parliament on Saturday, you’ll notice they are all men of fighting age. It’s Mr. Sadr’s death squads coming to town to send a little not-so-subtle message to the MPs. Even the New York Times had to take note of the obvious connection between the “protesters” and the IMF-backed prime minister:

“The protesters were mostly supporters of the powerful Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr. Rather than pushing for the ouster of Mr. Abadi, they have largely supported the prime minister as he has sought to make good on promises, still unfulfilled, to improve how the government works.

The ease with which they penetrated the rim of the Green Zone suggested that security forces — and perhaps Mr. Abadi himself, as some hinted — were supportive of the protesters. There were no reports of shots fired, and Mr. Sadr’s own militiamen were said to have taken charge of security near Parliament…

One protester inside Parliament, speaking to the Kurdish news channel Rudaw, pointed to chocolates on the desks of lawmakers and said: “People have nothing to eat. The lawmakers are sitting here eating chocolates and mocking our pain.”…

Parliament was stormed after a session that had been scheduled for Saturday was postponed for lack of a quorum. Mr. Abadi had been expected to introduce several new ministers as part of a promise to overhaul his cabinet and fill it with technocrats instead of politicians beholden to a party or sect.” New York Times

After their little photo-op invasion, the Sadr death squad “protesters” retired to a little encampment in the middle of the Green Zone as Abadi looked over the carnage of the day and said on national TV that they would arrest anyone involved in wrecking the parliament building. In spite of the fact that the perpetrators were located just a mile from the building…

“Despite Mr Abadi’s order – made after he visited the damaged parliament building – there are no indications that any arrests have taken place…” BBC

Local broadcasts didn’t dare mention that part of the story while Sadr laughs all the way to the IMF-backed bank.

Sadr holds press conference on Saturday

Sadr’s other big issue, aside from wanting the IMF technocrats installed as soon as possible, is “corruption”. He’s apparently very angry about all that “corruption” from parliament members who refuse to hand over complete control of Iraq to the IMF.

“The protesters are supporters of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who has called for wide-ranging political reforms to combat the corruption and mismanagement that has bedeviled Iraq since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.” Virginian Pilot

“Supporters of the outspoken Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr stormed the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad on Saturday, rushing into the Parliament building while chanting slogans against government corruption, various news outlets reported. ” IBT

Kind of makes you wonder where they get that “anti-corruption” angle from doesn’t it? I thought it was all about installing pro-IMF technocrats in positions of power so they can impose harsh austerity measures on Iraqis who are far poorer than al-Sadr and his band of mercenary death squad members?

Oh wait.. now I remember:

IMF leaders also want the government to tackle corruption, which is one of the topics discussed on the sides of IMF/World Bank 2016 Annual Spring Meeting between Iraqi civil society activists and senior IMF officials, who noted institutional corruption as one of the real obstacles to economic recovery.” Banking Information Center, April 28, 2016

If you recall, the Spring Meeting was held here in the states in D.C.

What a lovely little theatrical production the State Department, the Pentagon and PM Abadi have put on for the people of Iraq. It kind of reminds me of that tearing down of the Saddam statue they staged a decade or so ago.

The people of Iraq are suffering immensely under our neoliberal “free market” ideology that we installed after we illegally invaded and occupied the country. Poverty is at a 30% all-time high in the country and that is what they are officially reporting. God knows what it really is. People depend on the food and energy subsidies just to survive. So what these technocrats aim to install on behalf of the IMF and global businesses that want to swoop in and strip-mine even more from the country will have catastrophic effects on the general population. And that is too say nothing of the endless debt cycle they will be burdened with in the future.

The coup dry-run that was yesterday’s “protest”, supported by the prime minister and the Iraqi military, is obviously a message being sent to parliament. They had better approve all the technocrats and IMF demands as soon as possible or Abadi’s Sadr death squads will return, once again unhindered by security forces, to finish the job.

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9 Responses

  1. Hey Willy

    The protests were definitely part show/part pressure tactic
    I can’t conclusively say Abadi was in on it.
    It’s possible he was, but, also possible he wasn’t.

    • Abadi was in the Green Zone when this went down. He was in a secured location and only came out after it happened. Hard too say for sure, but the fact is, Abadi didn’t have a soul actually arrested and Sadr’s objectives are exactly the same as those of Abadi, so that kinda leads to to think it’s all part of the same program. The ones who aren’t on board with handing over complete control of the country to the IMF technocrats appear to be some of the MPs in parliament… the same ones I guess who will be accused of “corruption” in the very near future.

      • Hey Willy:
        to my knowledge all politicians were/are in the green zone, but, interestingly the Kurdish and Sunni politicians fled to Iraqis Kurdish territory and that’s curious.

        I’ll be posting about this today:

        “About 60 lawmakers, mostly from the minority Kurdish and Sunni parties, flew out of the capital for Irbil and Suleymania, in the northern autonomous Kurdish region”

        As you know Kurds are Sunnis and the sunni Arabs of iraq have been as thick as thieves with the sunni kurds of Iraq, including PKK who have been holed up in the mountainous region for years.

        All politicians are expendable anyway- Or interchangeable?

  2. willy, you may want to read the information posted here?

    Sadr supporters has been having weekly protests, in and outside of the greenzone, since March of 2016- I can’t even attribute what we were shown yesterday to yesterday’s date.

    • yes. they have been staging a little color revolution pressure on parliament in order to get them to support the IMF conditions for the loan. In reality, a lot of OTHER Iraqis have been protesting the current austerity measures for a lot longer. In fact, it was these measures that the General Military Council for Iraqi Revolutionaries started their resistance back in 2013. Well actually, it was because so many regular Iraqis were attacked and killed while protesting in 2012 and 2013 that got the GMCIR started. Then the Shiite death squads, run by folks like Sadr, started running around slaughtering people that supported the uprising.

  3. […] Iraq PM Abadi Uses his Shiite Sadr Death Squads to Send a Message to Parliament: Accept IMF Technocr… […]

  4. FYI the IMF doesn’t get $ from taxpayers. Despite being called a fund the IMF operates like a bank and creates its own money in the form of SDRs.

    It, or the borrowing country, then buys the currency needed with those SDRs.

    • Most resources for IMF loans are provided by member countries, primarily through their payment of quotas. Borrowing provides a temporary supplement to quota resources and has played a critical role in enabling the Fund to meet members’ needs for financial support during the global economic crisis. Concessional lending and debt relief for low-income countries are financed through separate contribution-based trust funds.”

      Each member of the IMF is assigned a quota, based broadly on its relative size in the world economy, which determines its maximum contribution to the IMF’s financial resources. Upon joining the IMF, a country normally pays up to one-quarter of its quota in the form of widely accepted foreign currencies (such as the U.S. dollar, euro, yen, or pound sterling) or Special Drawing Rights (SDRs). The remaining three-quarters are paid in the country’s own currency.”


      Once again, you’re not quite accurate jag. SDRs are not the primary currency of the IMF, but rather they use SDRs to SUPPLEMENT national currencies when quotas haven’t been met.

      “The SDR is an international reserve asset, created by the IMF in 1969 to supplement its member countries’ official reserves. As of March 2016, 204.1 billion SDRs (equivalent to about $285 billion) had been created and allocated to members. SDRs can be exchanged for freely usable currencies. The value of the SDR is currently based on a basket of four major currencies: the U.S. dollar, euro, the Japanese yen, and pound sterling. The basket will be expanded to include the Chinese renminbi (RMB) as the fifth currency, effective October 1, 2016.”

      “The SDR is neither a currency, nor a claim on the IMF. Rather, it is a potential claim on the freely usable currencies of IMF members. Holders of SDRs can obtain these currencies in exchange for their SDRs in two ways”

      Based on the IMF fact sheet, we currently contribute roughly 82 billion annually in SDRs to the IMF. But again, that’s just the SDR ratio. Back in 2014, congress made headlines by refusing to further fund the IMF in it’s various funds and allocations for other projects. It was at the time an amount of about 63 billion.

      “For nearly a year, the Obama administration has been pushing Congress to approve a shift of some $63 billion from an IMF crisis fund to its general accounts in order to maintain Washington’s power at the global lender, and to make good on an international commitment made in 2010.”

      “The IMF gets its money through funds committed by its members, either directly or through credit lines. The fund already has resources in its emergency account (a kitty called New Arrangements to Borrow). But that pool of resources requires special approval and extreme circumstances to access. The IMF changes would shift those funds from the emergency account to the IMF’s regular lending account.”


      • As in most things economic and banking the WSJ is plain wrong. The sequence must logically begin with the creation of the SDRs which only the IMF can issue.

        The neoclassicals just don’t understand exogenous money. And they’re filling the general public’s heads with stuff and nonsense.

        Taxes pay for nothing. Money has to be issued before it can be paid in tax (destroyed).

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