(FILES) A picture taken on April 26, 2012 shows Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr speaking during a press conference in the northern Iraqi Kurdish city of Arbil during a visit to Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region. AFP PHOTO/SAFIN HAMED
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Powerful Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, leader of a major political movement and a key figure in post-Saddam Iraq, has announced his exit from politics two months before elections.Ahead of legislative elections in April, Sadr's movement currently holds six cabinet posts as well as 40 seats in the 325-member parliament.Sadr's political career began with his fierce opposition to the presence of foreign troops in Iraq after the 2003 US-led invasion of the country that toppled Saddam.Sadr suspended the militia's activities in 2008 following fierce battles with Iraqi and US security forces.US military commanders said Sadr's action had been instrumental in helping bring about a significant decrease in Iraq violence.
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