Tag Archives: al Sadr

Iraqi Opposition Demonstrates Against Pact With USA

The Bush administration has pushed for an American presence in Iraq for at least three more years despite the presence of strong opposition to any continued US forces remaining in Iraq. Followers of Shiite cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr, burned an effigy of President Bush to show their anger at the security pact. Thousands of Iraqis protested in a central Baghdad square where they placed the effigy of Bush in the same place where once stood a statue of Saddam Hussein. The Iraqi parliament is expected to approve the pact next week, but there still remains a large number of Iraqis who want a quick exit of American forces. Salah al-Obeidi, a spokesman for al-Sadr, emphasized, “this crown shows that opposition to the agreement is not insignificant and parliament will be making a big mistake if it chooses to ignore it.”

Barack Obama has consistently set an exit date closer to 2011 than to 2012. He might gain support from all sectors of Iraq if he urged the Iraqi government to have US forces leave in 2011. The danger is failure to address opposition feelings adds to the possibility they will resort to violence, an action which could delay and American exit.

Al Sadr Iraqi Militia Ready To Cease Fighting

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Moqtada al-Sadr, one of the most powerful leaders in Iraq’s armed resistance to the government, has agreed to cease any further military action against the government of Prime Minister Maliki and American forces in Iraq. In the future the militia will focus on education, religion, and provision of social services. The alleged document says clearly that any followers of Sadr are “not allowed to use arms at all.” The dissolution of the Mahdi army will make peace a more likely occurrence in Iraq and will enable the Iraqi government to assert its power throughout the nation. Sadr spent several weeks in Iran studying religion and his switch indicates a decision to focus on politically gaining power in Iraq.

the Mahdi army spokesman, Sheikh Salah al-Obeidi told the Wall Street Journal his group would be guided by spirituality rather than battling US forces. Sadr’s mem males numerous references to suppression of vice and acting in morally correct ways. These words could be construed as ensuring women will not have the same rights of equality as they enjoyed under the regime of Saddam Hussein.

Iraq Cleric Al Sadr Urges No Agreement With USA

Iraqi cleric Moqtada Sadr urged Prime Minister Maliki not to sign any agreement with the Untied States concerning continued presence of American troops in their nation. “I call on the Iraqi government,” said the cleric, “not to sign the accord with the United States and I affirm that I am ready to support the government publicly and politically if it does not sign.” He went on to call upon “men of faith and on the clergy to express legally their opinion against the signature of any agreement between the government and the occupier, eve it is is a friendly accord or one concerning another subject.” Sadr called upon the people of Iraq to come together to stand up against the American occupiers.

It is unclear exactly what al Sadr seeks in the way of dealing with the Americans other than not having anything to do with them. How will this non-negotiation play out in enabling the people of Iraq to assume control over their own destiny.

Perhaps, the major import of the Sadr statement is a growing realization among Iraqis that all major political groups are now united in a desire to have the Americans leave as soon as possible.

Is Al-Sadr A Sleeping Time Bomb In Iraq?

In an editorial in Azzaman, the newspaper raises questions as to whether the cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has the potential of being a sleeping time bomb who could explode at any moment and help to destabilize Iraq. Although, the newspaper admits “some semblance of quiet has returned to violent areas where Sunni Arabs form the majority,” al-Sadr supporters are still capable of joining terrorist groups. Azzaman’s editor charges al-Sadr is lying low and waiting for the right moment to challenge the Shiite government which currently governs the nation. “The Sadrists… have not used all their ‘military potential’ and militarily the U.S. and the Iraqi government will have to think twice before waging a full-scale war to disarm them.”

Many analysts believe an American attack on Iran would result in an all-out effort by al-Sadr forces to protect their fellow Muslim nation. The editor emphasizes, “Iraqi resistance groups, the Sadrists, other militias, the sleeping Iranian cells in Iraq and the might of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards will practically hold U.S. troops at gunpoint.” This potentiality should not be ignored in considering policy toward Iran.

Iraq Government Moves To Assert Control

The Iraq government continues its efforts to assert control over areas of southern Iraq by moving its forces into the city of Amara. The conflict between the cleric al-Sadr and the Maliki government at some point may become more violent, but for the present the Muslim cleric is biding his time before revealing what his future endeavor to gain control will entail. Iraq troops found large caches of weapons, which allegedly came from Iranian sources, but no one has been able to provide proof.

Iraq may well be witnessing a shift in tactics by al-Sadr who may decide the political arena will be the focus of his future course of action. Bush administration officials interpret the current lowering of violence as evidence of success of the surge. However, suicide bombers continue to function, and al-Qaida may well be revamping its tactics.

Madness In Iraq Continues With New Suicide Attacks

The Bush administration insists the Iraq situation is improving and cites figures which may or may not reflect a decline in violence. However, to the average Iraqi, the level of violence is measured against what occurs in their daily lives. Yesterday, wedding guests gathered in the streets of Bala Ruz, in the province of Diyala. They were prepared to celebrate some weddings when suddenly two suicide bombers blew themselves up in the midst of the crowd. According to an eye witness, “The first bomber blew himself up amid a crowd of people. Minutesd later another bomber blew himself up as people were trying to rescue the victims of the first attack.” Earlier in the day, a car bomb blew up in central Baghdad as a US patrol passed causing the death of at lelast eight civilians.

In the meantime, Shiite leader Muqatda al-Sadr refused to meet with Iraqi MPs who came to see him in Iran. He insists the legislature must resolve the crisis but has yet to be specific as to his demands. At this point, no one knows how to engage al-Sadr in the political process.

Al-Sadr Forces Clash With US and Iraq Army

American troops kiled at least 12 militants during fighting on Sudany in Sadr City in Baghdad. US Secretary of State Rice arrved in the city to lend support to the Iraq government as fighting raged between the Mahdi army and its opponents. Militant supporters of the radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr attacked a US checkpoint with machine guns and rocket propelled grenades early in the morning. A US spokesperson noted: “There was an uptick in violence in comparisoon tih the past couple of weeks.” Hospital sources reported several civilian deaths including those of children.

Al-Sadr believes the attacks on his Mahdi army is designed to crush him politically and prevent it from winning seats in provincial councils. In his waning posted on Saturday, al-Sadr warned of an all-out war of liberation against the Americans but so far his forces have been either unable or unwilling to present a formidable opposition to Iraq and US forces. Meanwhile, in the north there are reports of new Sunni militant forces organizing to fight the Americans and the Iraq government.

There are too many confusing and unknown factors at this point. Has the al-Sadr Mahdi Army ceased being an effective military force? Is there some overall objective in the mind of the cleric? Time will tell.

Al-Sadr Warns Of New Uprising In Iraq

Muqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shiite cleric who has declared cease fires in the past, is now apparently angry over US/Iraq government attacks on his force. He issued a “finalwarning” to the Mailiki government to end its crackdown on his followers or threatened to initiate an “open war of liberation.” A full blown attack by his forces would dramatically increase the level of fighting in Iraq and prove the “surge” had failed, at least until the war against al-Sadr was won. Last year, al-Sadr attempted to defuse tensions by declaring a unillateral case fire only to witness a response which resulted in closing his offices in Baghdad and harassing his forces. “So,” he said, “I am giving my final warning…. to the Iraqi government to take the path of peace and abandon all violence against its people. If the government does not refrain.. we will declare an open war until liberation.”

Whether by planning or simply a coincidence, the al-Sadr statement came after an al-Qaida announcement of a one month campaign of violence. At present American forces are attempting to seal Sadr City in Baghdad which may prove a costly fight if al-Sadr’s warning is carried out.

From day one of the overthrow of Saddam Hussein the fight in Iraq has been a political one but the American and Iraqi government have mainly focused on military aspects of the situation.

Shiite Cleric Warns About End To Cease Fire

Muqtada al-Sadr, Shiite leader of the Mahdi militia, warned the Iraq government he might end the self imposed cease fire which has held his men away from fighting American and Iraq armed forces. However, his comments did not stop US and Iraq military forces from continuing their efforts to defeat the Mahdi militia in their stronghold in Sadr City. At least 12 American soldiers have died since fierce fighting began on Sunday. Iraq soldiers banned the use of vehicles on the streets of the capital for the coming days. Al-Sadr told a press conference, “I call on the Iraqi government, if it exists, to work to protect the Iraqi people, stop the spilling of blood, and the abuse of its honor.” He wants the Iraq government to join with him in demanding evacuation of American forces from Iraq.

Confusion still reigns in Iraq as its government confronts a host of enemies and with the end of Sadr’s support, there are fewer allies around to be of assistance. One reality that must be faced is the present situation emerges as the surge concludes. There is still civil war in Iraq, Iraqi civilians are dying, and so are American soldiers.

Did Bush Speak Too Quickly On “Defining Moment?”

Rockets fall int he Green Zone, machine gun fire can still be heard in Basra, and the only reason relative calm is found in that war-torn city is due to the decision by Muqtada al-Sadr to issue a cease fire order to his troops. President Bush claimed the fight in Basra was a “defining moment” for the gvernment of Prime Minister Maliki. Maliki promised to crush criminal elements in Basra, but the real person calling the shots is al-Sadr. John McCain, who met with Maliki during his recent visit to Iraq, expressed “surprise” at the attempt to crush al-Sadr in Basra. According to latest figures about 1,247 Iraqis died in recent fighting including civilians as well as militants.

Where does Maliki go from here? The military approach which is favored so strongly by Bush is not working in Iraq. Al-Sadr will have to be recognized as an important force in Iraq politics. Maliki can boast his troops are in Basra, but he can not claim to have complete control of the city. If al-Sadr ends the cease fire, the chaos which has characterized Iraq will continue. The only defining moment is when all political parties in Iraq work together for peace.