Friday, September 22, 2006

U.S. Moving Against Sadr's Militia

There is speculation that the U.S. intends to deal with Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army before any attack on Iran.

The thought is that this would help mitigate any inevitable Iraqi Shiite retaliation against U.S. interests in Iraq.

Today's news would seem to fit into the plan.

U.S. and Iraqi forces arrested top aides to anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in pre-dawn raids Thursday, according to Sadr officials who called the move a provocation designed to trigger a full-blown battle between the groups.

"It is obvious they want to draw the Sadr movement into a military confrontation," said Abdul Razzak al-Nedawi, a leader of the Sadr movement in Diwaniyah, south of Baghdad. "But we are trying our best to avoid such confrontation and find alternative ways to armed confrontation."

Although the U.S. military and Sadr forces have fought some of the fiercest battles here since the 2003 American-led invasion, the relationship between the two sides has become even more convoluted since Sadr's political party became one of the largest blocs in parliament. Now, U.S. military and Iraqi officials are grappling with how to handle the Shiite Muslim cleric as he evolves from guerrilla fighter to political kingmaker.

The raids, which took place in Baghdad and Najaf, included the arrest in Najaf of a top spokesman for the group, Salah al-Obaidy, Sadr officials said. In response, Sadr's militia, the Mahdi Army, was deployed throughout the Shiite holy city to protect the movement's offices and the personal residence of its leader.

Lt. Col. Barry Johnson, a U.S. military spokesman, said he had no information about the raids.

No statement about a "limited" effort against a few dead enders?



Blogger Meatball One said...

Nice post. Slick indeed

9/22/2006 9:19 PM  
Blogger Effwit said...



9/23/2006 8:31 AM  

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