Baghdad’s Green Zone Is Under Siege Again

Supporters of Moqtada al-Sadr, the Shia cleric, stormed the secure part of the Iraqi capital for the second time in less than a month.

Supporters of Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr chant slogans on May 1 calling for governmental reforms inside Baghdad's highly fortified Green Zone. (Karim Kadim / AP)

Updated on May 20 at 1:07 p.m.

Authorities in Baghdad have declared a curfew after Sadr’s supporters stormed Baghdad’s Green Zone.

Sadr built his reputation in the years following the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq as an anti-American firebrand that fought both the Americans and Sunnis. But since those years, much has changed. Sadr’s political bloc is part of Iraq’s ruling coalition, and his Shiite militia is engaged in the fight against ISIS. He has now positioned himself as an anti-corruption campaigner. It is in this role that he demanded that Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, the U.S.-backed prime minister, name a Cabinet of technocrats, a move that, in effect, would imperil the quota system upon which the Iraqi political establishment is built.

11:55 a.m.

Supporters of Moqtada al-Sadr, the Shia cleric, stormed Baghdad’s Green Zone for the second time in less than a month, raising questions not only about security in the Iraqi capital, but also the strength of the Iraqi government of which Sadr is a part.

As we previously reported, Sadr’s supporters stormed the Green Zone earlier this month, took over Parliament, demanded improved public services, and an end to corruption. They left a day later Sunday, on Sadr’s orders, after ISIS attacked an Iraqi city.