[Ed. – Many readers will remember “Mookie” (Moqtada al-Sadr), the 20-something ayatollah, from the 2003 invasion period. These are his followers. Al-Sadr is not an agent of Iran; it’s more complicated than that. But what’s happening today is a continuation of the Battle of Baghdad. The coalition government has failed to stop the series of ISIS bombings in Baghdad that target Shia neighborhoods — the main way ISIS has been waging the battle inside the city for the last 18 months or so. Sooner rather than later, all pretense of a Shia-Sunni coalition governing Iraq will fall apart. This didn’t have to happen; Obama pulling out in 2011 is the main factor in guaranteeing that it would.]
Anti-government protesters tore down walls and poured into the Iraqi capital’s heavily fortified Green Zone on Saturday, where they stormed parliament in a major escalation of a political crisis that has simmered for months.
Supporters of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr have been holding demonstrations and sit-ins for months to demand an overhaul of Iraq’s corrupt and ineffective political system, but Saturday was the first time they broke into the Green Zone, home to most government ministries and foreign embassies.
Iraqi security forces fired tear gas at one entrance of the zone but appeared to be largely standing down as protesters marched through the area, chanting and waving Iraqi flags. Hundreds were still pouring into the Green Zone as night fell.