Al-Sadr, who has made no public appearances and has galvanized supporters and intimidated opponents, has previously quit politics only to return. Some close to the mercurial clergy expect the retreat to be temporary.
“As soon as there is a sign of a new election, Sadr will sign up,” said a person close to Sadr.
Sadr, who has closed several offices since retiring from politics, could not be reached for comment.
A representative of the clergy in Karbala said: “Sadr is closely following the political development and performance of the Sudanese government, and he (Sadr) does not think this will last long.”
A 2022 survey by the British think tank Chatham House found that supporters of Sadr were more likely to vote than other groups.
But, aside from losing some support in the streets, his hand may now have weakened — when he had the chance — to show more pragmatism in forming a government with those backed by Tehran, which some see as the Allies of Iran against the Islamic State (ISIS) extremist group.
“Sadr’s failure to form such a government and the collapse of his coalition in the face of resistance from Iran and its allies in Iraq affected Muqtada’s political standing and forced him to And his movement took a backseat.” Jassim Bahadli.
For the first time since 2005, Sadr has no clearly defined political role, leaving him at his weakest in Iraqi politics, according to clerics, former lawmakers and analysts who support him.
In August, Ayatollah Kadhim al-Haeri, an Iranian religious scholar appointed by Sadr’s father as a spiritual adviser, angered Sadr’s supporters by saying that Sadr had split the Shiite faction.
Sadr officials, pro-Sadr Shia clerics and religious figures in the Iraqi holy city of Najaf said they believed Tehran was behind the statement.
Khali told Sadr’s followers to seek future guidance on religious matters from Iran’s supreme leader and scholar Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Sadr himself suggested that Khali speak under pressure, but did not name who was to blame. “I don’t believe he did this of his own volition,” Sadr tweeted.
Ghazi Faisal, president of the Center for Strategic Studies in Iraq think tank, said the sea “has provided impetus to Iran’s efforts to consolidate the power of its allies in Iraqi politics”.
Asked for comment, a representative for Haeri said the academic does not comment on politics.
Many Shia Iraqis still see Sadr as a hero to the oppressed. He inherited a lot of early legitimacy from his father, a respected cleric who was killed by Saddam Hussein, before establishing his own power base and leading hundreds of thousands of followers protesting everything from corruption to inflation. Assassinated by Hussein’s agents.
Human rights groups have accused al-Sadr militias of abducting and killing Sunnis at the height of Iraq’s civil war. Sadr said his fighters were hunting Sunni extremists, not civilians.