Iraqi militia veteran sniper Ali Jayad al-salhi was killed in a shootout with the islamic state group earlier this year. Then he jumped into legend and actually became the new saint of the shia community.
Al-salhi posters decorate stores, homes and Windows in his hometown of basra and other Shiite areas. A bakery even sells cakes on his face. Poetry extolled his bravery and devotion. His rifle IS said to have killed nearly 400 IS militants and IS now in a museum in the holiest Shiite city of karbala.
The passion around him points out that the messianic mystique that grew up around Iraq’s shia militias has strengthened its political and military power as they helped defeat the islamic state group. Known as “mass mobilization forces” or “hash” Arabic, many of which are militias supported by Iran, have to stand out from the war, Iraq’s shia majority of an image is actually a divine power. The popular halo further supports Mr Hashid, as it is ready to play a major role in the post-iraq war.
This contrasts sharply with the views of sunni Muslim minorities on fighters. Mr Haheed is accused of being mistreated in the sunni population, where sunnis see the militias as a tool for Iraq, the shia power.
Many shias preach Mr Hashed, taking their communities out of centuries of oppression, reflecting a core belief in shia Islam that victory will come from martyrdom. Militia is seen as heir to one of the most respected figures of the faith, imam hussein is the prophet Mohammed’s grandson, he was in the south of Iraq in the 7th century rival Muslim karbala killed, to the sunni shia split.
Some people even in the end of the world’s words hash, them and islamic religious leaders who, mehdi (Imam Mahdi), he said that islamic religious leader is said to have disappeared in 1100 years ago, and expect to lead an army defeated the forces of evil in the world. Hashing, supporters say, will be the army.
Hamad infusion, head of Mr Bader jose barca (Sajad al – Mubarkaa) office in Baghdad told the Associated Press said, “when he’s mahdi once again, we will be ready and is a great pleasure to be his soldiers.
He denied that such remarks emphasized sectarian criticism. “What harm would it do to call an imam mahdi?” He said. “What would be the harm if we were sacrificed to imam hussein?”
After haheed appeared, the leading Iraqi shia cleric, grand ayatollah ali sistani, called for volunteers to join the jihad against islamist militants in June 2014. Thousands of people have heard the call and joined a number of militia factions.
After the victory, the combination of religious traditions and popular culture, poetry and songs became more passionate.
The singer Muhanad al-mowali intoned that, since the martyrdom of hussein, centuries of oppression of the shia, “we will not be speechless”. Another Mahdi al-aboodi said he wanted him to fight in the battle of karbala. Recently in karbala hundreds of Shiite Muslim party, a poet recite a verse, tell the imam mahdi, because he sid is ready, so he doesn’t bother him goes out.
Supernatural stories have been circulating among hashing supporters on social media. A video appears to show Imam Mahdi himself supporting the militias that defend Shiite shrines in Samarra. In another story, a husk fighter says an m washed his wounds and saved his life, telling him: “I’m here for you.
Haheed vehemently preached the death of his commanding officer and declared that they were martyred in the huge street posters.
Al-salhi has long been seen as a devout Shiite utopia. To commemorate his poetry has been read into the sad crowd. Hundreds of thousands of people attended his funeral in the holy city of najaf, where he was buried in a vast Shiite cemetery near the shiah’s most revered Shiite shrine, the imam ali shrine.
He graduated from sniper school in belarus in the early 1970s. During his military career in Iraq, he fought against Israel with the Syrian army in the golan heights during the 1973 Middle East war. Anti-kurdish separatists in northern Iraq; And against Iran during the 1980-1988 war. He lost a brother to saddam hussein’s execution in the 1991 Shiite uprising in southern Iraq.
His family and comrade hashi spoke of his intense piety. They said to him, he suffered a hike Shiite pilgrimage to the holy land in the extreme tradition: when other pilgrims to rest at night, he walk all day and night, only rest on his final destination.
In 2014, al-salhi responded to the call by al-sistani for the fight against IS, continuing to participate in the biggest battle of Hashed. “We are fighting for freedom for the people of Iraq and for humanity,” he said, in a television interview many times, as his reputation grew.
He is proud of his skill. He described how a bird placed a sniper on a date palm tree. He often duels with a female IS sniper. After an hour of filming, “I finally killed her, and when I tricked her into thinking I was dead, she got up from her hiding place.” He then said, then he killed two soldiers trying to retrieve her body.
According to he in ali akbar brigade commander Haidar, Mukhtar’s (Haidar Mukhtar) said that in the day of his death, al Salhi chose four islamic countries fighter, made him of killing the theoretical value to 384. But then he and two other snipers were surrounded by militants and killed.
Mukhtar recovered the last of al-salhi’s remains: the last bullet he shot. “I’ll take it as a souvenir.”
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Hendawi reports from Cairo.