Restoring Medinat al-Salaam : the rise of Muqtada al-Sadr's Jaysh al-Mahdi
Longtin, Leslie C.
Thesis (M.A.L.S.)--Georgetown University, 2010.; Includes bibliographical references.; Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format. Though the United States-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003 aimed to rapidly topple authoritarian leader Saddam Hussein via decisive victory, the unintended consequences of this historical event resulted in full-fledged sectarian warfare. Emerging out of this incident, the captivating populist figure Muqtada al-Sadr moved promptly to capture the spotlight for the Iraqi Shi'a. Muqtada al-Sadr's personal militia ultimately consolidated power under the designation Jaysh al-Mahdi with the sole objective of pushing Coalition Forces out of their cherished homeland.; The central question, and the problem examined in this thesis, is whether Jaysh al-Mahdi's composition is that of violence-charged reactionaries (in other words, irrational actors), or one of rational actors pursuing what they perceive to be their duty and religious obligation in light of the current state of affairs. This thesis investigates the importance of Muqtada al-Sadr's rise to power and the formation of his militia, Jaysh al-Mahdi, in the following manner: a brief historical examination of the role of Muqtada al-Sadr's familial ties; and an assessment of Jaysh al-Mahdi utilizing social movement theory.; Despite its revolutionary disposition and use of violent tactics in the interim, Jaysh al-Mahdi is indeed a mere tool of Muqtada al-Sadr's strategic objectives, one that can be characterized as an Islamic activist movement striving to restore order to Iraq. After the Iraq invasion, Muqtada al-Sadr likely recognized the unfolding situation as the ideal opportunity to assume authority, in a lack thereof, in order to pursue his family's political goals for the Iraqi Shi'a. Militia members are fighting to win control of Iraq to install a Sadrist strain of governance, which would ensure their safety and protection from other elements of Iraqi society thereafter.
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