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1979–1980 Shia uprising in Iraq

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The 1979–1980 Shia uprising in Iraq, also known as the First Sadr Uprising, took place as a followup to the Iranian Revolution (1978–1979) in neighbouring Iran, as the Shia Iraqi clerics vowed to overthrow Ba'athist Iraq, dominated by (secular) Sunni Muslims - specifically the Saddam Hussein family. Saddam and his deputies believed that the riots had been inspired by the Iranian Revolution and instigated by Iran's government.[1] The riots erupted in May 1979 and escalated in June - leading to thousands tortured and killed in Najaf. The uprising subsided with the April 1980 arrest of the leader of Shia Iraqis Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr and his subsequent execution.


Al-Sadr's works attracted the ire of the Baath Party leading to repeated imprisonment where he was often tortured. Despite this, he continued his work after being released.[2] When the Baathists arrested Ayatollah Al-Sadr in 1977, his sister Amina Sadr bint al-Huda made a speech in the Imam Ali mosque in Najaf inviting the people to demonstrate. Many demonstrations were held, forcing the Baathists to release Al-Sadr who was placed under house arrest.

In 1979–1980, anti-Ba'ath riots arose in the Iraq's Shia areas by groups, who were working toward an Islamic revolution in their country.[3] Saddam and his deputies believed that the riots had been inspired by the Iranian Revolution and instigated by Iran's government.[1] In the aftermath of Iran’s revolution, Iraq’s Shiite community called on Mohammad Baqir al-Sadr to be their “Iraqi Ayatollah Khomeini”, leading a revolt against the Ba'ath regime.[4][better source needed] Community leaders, tribal heads, and hundreds of ordinary members of the public paid their allegiance to al-Sadr.[4] Protests then erupted in Baghdad and the predominantly Shiite provinces of the south in May 1979.[4] For nine days, protests against the regime unfolded, but were suppressed by the regime.[4] The cleric’s imprisonment led to another wave of protests in June after a seminal, powerful appeal from al-Sadr’s sister, Bint al-Huda. Further clashes unfolded between the security forces and protestors. Najaf was put under siege and thousands were tortured and executed.[4]

Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr was finally arrested on 5 April 1980 with his sister, Sayedah Bint al-Huda.[5] They had formed a powerful militant movement in opposition to Saddam Hussein's regime.[6]

On 9 April 1980, Al-Sadr and his sister were killed after being severely tortured by their Baathist captors.[2] Signs of torture could be seen on the bodies.[6][7][8] The Baathists raped Bint Houda in front of her brother.[8] An iron nail was hammered into Al-Sadr's head and he was then set on fire in Najaf.[2][5] It has been reported that Saddam himself killed them.[6] The Baathists delivered the bodies of Baqir Al-Sadr and Bintul Huda to their cousin Sayyid Muhammad al-Sadr.[6] They were buried in the Wadi-us-Salaam graveyard in the holy city of Najaf the same night.[5] His execution raised no criticism from Western countries because Al-Sadr had openly supported Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran.[7]


The 1999 Shia uprising in Iraq (or Second Sadr Uprising[9]) took place in Iraq in early 1999 following the killing of Mohammad Mohammad Sadeq al-Sadr by the then Ba'athist government of Iraq.[10] The protests and ensuing violence were strongest in the heavily Shia neighborhoods of Baghdad, as well as southern majority Shiite cities such as Karbala, Nasiriyah, Kufa, Najaf, and Basra.[11]

See also


  1. ^ a b Farrokh, Kaveh. Iran at War: 1500–1988. Oxford: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-78096-221-4.
  2. ^ a b c Al Asaad, Sondoss (9 April 2018). "38 Years After Saddam's Heinous Execution of the Phenomenal Philosopher Ayatollah Al-Sadr and his Sister". Modern Diplomacy. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  3. ^ Karsh, Efraim (25 April 2002). The Iran–Iraq War: 1980–1988. Osprey Publishing. pp. 1–8, 12–16, 19–82. ISBN 978-1841763712.
  4. ^ a b c d e [1]
  5. ^ a b c Al Asaad, Sondoss (10 April 2018). "The ninth of April, the martyrdom of the Sadrs". Tehran Times. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d Ramadani, Sami (24 August 2004). "There's more to Sadr than meets the eye". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  7. ^ a b Aziz, T.M (1 May 1993). "The Role of Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr in Shii Political Activism in Iraq from 1958 to 1980". International Journal of Middle East Studies. 25 (2): 207–222. doi:10.1017/S0020743800058499. JSTOR 164663.
  8. ^ a b Marlowe, Lara (6 January 2007). "Sectarianism laid bare". The Irish Times. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  9. ^ Esomba, Steve, Wall Streets Infected By Arab Spring, p. 5
  10. ^ Dan Murphy (27 April 2004). "Sadr the agitator: like father, like son". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 1 February 2013.
  11. ^ Human Rights Watch, III. The al-Sadr Intifada of 1999, February 2005
This page was last edited on 17 January 2021, at 08:39
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