Iraq's Shiite cleric promises to dissolve military wing after IS full defeat
BAGHDAD, Sept. 7 (Xinhua) -- Iraq's firebrand Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr on Thursday announced that he will dissolve his military wing after full defeat of the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq.
A statement issued by Sadr urged the militants loyal to the Shiite cleric known as Saraya al-Salam, or Peace Companies militia, to join the government security forces and the government-run paramilitary Hashd Shaabi units.
The statement also said Sadr will block many branches of his private offices across Iraq, and maintain only one of his religious offices in the holy Shiite city of Najaf in central Iraq.
Sadr will also keep his loyal demonstrations committees, which have been leading the protests against the wide-spread government corruption in the country.
Moreover, the Shiite cleric decided to activate peaceful protests before Iraq's general elections in 2018.
Sadr's militia is a reformation of the previous militia Mahdi Army, which he led during the U.S. occupation of Iraq and the subsequent sectarian strife in the years after 2003.
Sadr announced the formation of Peace Companies to protect Shiite shrines from IS militants following the June 10, 2014 blitzkrieg when the group seized large swathes of territories in predominantly Sunni provinces in northern and western Iraq.