Name of leader          Moqtada al-Sadr

 

Nicknames                       Moqtada Atari; Video Game Ayatollah [1]

Organization                    Jaish al-Mahdi (JaM)

 

English translation         al-Mahdi Army    

 

Conflict country              Iraq

 

Gender                              Male   

    

Year of birth                     1974          

 

Place of birth                   an-Najaf, Iraq[2]     

 

Year of death                   N/A

 

 

Deceased

 

No, there is no evidence he has died.

 

Birth order

 

He was the fourth of six children.[3][4]

 

Age at start of rebel leadership

 

In 2003, so age 29.[5]

 

Leader entry method

 

He founded the organization.[6]

 

Powersharing

 

No, there is no evidence of powersharing.

 

Education (also name universities attended, if any); note any relevant experiences while a student

 

“After completing middle school, Ṣadr enrolled in the Shīʿite ḥawzah (religious seminary) in Al-Najaf, but he never finished his studies.”[7]

 

Ever married? If yes, age of first marriage

 

Yes, he married in 1994 at age 20.[8]

 

Children

 

No, he did not have children.[9]

 

Religious identification

 

He is Shia Muslim.[10]

 

Elite family background

 

Yes; “Ṣadr was the son of Grand Ayatollah Muḥammad Ṣādiq al-Ṣadr, one of the most prominent religious figures in the Islamic world.”[11] His cousin was Musa al-Sadr, the founder of the Lebanese Amal movement.

 

Political affiliations and intellectual circles; note any relevant social connections made

 

Yes, “exact details of Muqtada’s biography are contentious because of the adoration and hatred he was to inspire after the fall of Saddam Hussein, but there is no doubt that politically he was highly experienced and well connected by the time his father and brothers were assassinated.”[12]

 

Physical and mental health

 

No; there is no evidence of poor physical or mental health.

 

Pre-militant leader occupation

 

He was the editor in chief of the Sadrist’ Islamic magazine.[13]

 

Experience in a state military, and role; any relevant social ties

 

No; he did not serve in a state military.

 

Experience in a nonstate military, and role; any relevant social ties

 

No; there is no evidence of experience in a nonstate military.

 

Combat experience prior to assuming resistance organization leadership?

 

No; he did not experience combat.

 

Held government position prior to assuming leadership?

 

No; he did not hold a governmental position.

 

Lived in exile?

 

Yes; as of 2011 “Moqtada al-Sadr, the leader of Iraq's Sadrist movement, has returned to the country after three years in exile in Iran and less than a fortnight after his backing helped usher in a new Iraqi government.”[14]

 

Study abroad?

 

No; there is no evidence he studied abroad.

Did the leader receive military training abroad?

No; there is no evidence of military training abroad.

Did the leader have extensive work experience abroad?

No; there is no evidence he had extensive work experience abroad.

Serve time in prison? Social connections during that time?

No; there is no evidence he served time in prison.

Was there an assassination attempt on the leader by the state?

Yes; there have been multiple by the US, and possibly others.[15]

Cause of Death?

 

N/A

 

Primary language, and other languages spoken as adult

 

He speaks Arabic as his primary language, and likely speaks some Persian.

Image Credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a6/Moqtada_Sadr.jpg

[1] Blake Hounshell, "Moqtada al-Sadr, funny guy," Foreign Policy (27 May 2008): accessible at https://foreignpolicy.com/2008/05/27/moqtada-al-sadr-funny-guy.

[2] Louay Bahry, “Muqtadā al-Ṣadr,” Encyclopedia Britannica, Accessed February 12, 2018, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Muqtada-al-Sadr.

[3] Gregg Zoroya, “Why you should know who Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadar is,” USA TODAY, May 2, 2016, Accessed February 12, 2018, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2016/05/02/iraqi-cleric-behind-weekend-protests-re-emerges-anti-corruption-force/83822424/.    

[4] A.B.D.R. Eagle, “Obituary: Ayatollah Sayyid Muhammad al-Sadr,” Independent, February 24, 1999, Accessed February 12, 2018, http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/obituary-ayatollah-sayyid-muhammad-al-sadr-1072841.html.

[5] “Iraq War,” Encyclopedia Britannica, December 6, 2017, Accessed February 12, 2018, https://www.britannica.com/event/Iraq-War#ref916864.

[6] “Iraq War,” Encyclopedia Britannica, December 6, 2017, Accessed February 12, 2018, https://www.britannica.com/event/Iraq-War#ref916864.

[7] Louay Bahry, “Muqtadā al-Ṣadr,” Encyclopedia Britannica, Accessed February 12, 2018, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Muqtada-al-Sadr.

[8] Patirck Cockburn, Muqtada Al-Sadr and the Battle for the Future of Iraq (New York: SCRIBNER, 2008), 112.

[9] Patirck Cockburn, Muqtada Al-Sadr and the Battle for the Future of Iraq (New York: SCRIBNER, 2008), 112.

[10] Augustus Richard Norton, Hezbollah (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2007).

[11] “Profile: Muqtada al-Sadr,” Aljazeera, March 7, 2010, Accessed February 12, 2018, http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2008/04/200861517227277282.html.

[12] Patirck Cockburn, Muqtada Al-Sadr and the Battle for the Future of Iraq (New York: SCRIBNER, 2008), 113.

[13] Patirck Cockburn, Muqtada Al-Sadr and the Battle for the Future of Iraq (New York: SCRIBNER, 2008), 112.

[14] Martin Chulov, The Guardian, January 5, 2011, Accessed February 12, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/jan/05/moqtada-al-sadr-returns-iraq.

[15] Patrick Cockburn, counterpunch, May 21, 2007, Accessed February 12, 2018, https://www.counterpunch.org/2007/05/21/the-secret-us-plot-to-kill-sadr/.