Tag Archives: Mahdi Army

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.

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.

Iraq Cleric Warns Of Civil Revolt

Radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who has imposed his own cease fire, has become furious at recent events in the city of Basra where Iraq army units attacked members of his Mahdi army. He is now calling for a “civil revolt” after the crackdown on his army resulted in the loss of 22 lives. Al-Sadr told the Iraq people: “We call upon all Iraqis to stage sit-ins all over as a first step. And, if the people’s demands are not respcted,by the Iraqi government, the second step will be to declare a civil revolt in Baghdad and all other provinces.” There was mention of a “third step” but not details were forthcoming as to what it would entail. Iraq General Ali Zaidan said his forces were engaged in dealing with “outlaw” and TV footage revealed firing in Basra and people getting killed. British forces which have been in Basra from the initial days of the Iraq war are not getting involved in the fighting.

Basra is being contested by several rival groups including al-Sadr’s Mahdi army, the Supreme Iraq Council and the smaller Fadhila party. If al-Sadr ends his truce there is no telling how it will impact the war in Iraq except to deepen divisions within the nation and escalate fighting. Fighting and killing in Iraq has begun to rise during the past few weeks after the decline that resulted from the surge. Perhaps, the Bush administration was too quick to claim a victory and the future is still clouded as to what will happen.

Surge Also Leads To Surge In Iraq Problems

The American media is reporting dramatic success as a result of the Bush Surge, but there are indications while the city of Baghdad is quieter, serious problems remain in the nation. Most of northern Iraq is without light because its plants are idle due to lack of gasoline. The Kurdish government is engaged in a clash over oil in regions of northern Iraq it claims belong to the Kurdish authority. Supporters of al Sadr’s Mahdi army claim the United States is taking sides in a dispute between two rival Shiite groups and is backing their enemy, the Badr Corps. In the meantime, the weekend was interrupted by new bombings in Baghdad.

A factor in making difficult ascertaining the success or failure of the Surge is the lack of criteria by which to gauge what really has happened in Iraq. There is no question fighting has died down in Baghdad, but is it the result of a temporary movement away from directly responding to American attacks by insurgent groups or have they really been crushed? It is yet to early to reach any definitive analysis as to what had taken place in terms of violence. However, it is clear the government of Iraq is divided, confused, and hostile to other elements.