So, after losing control of Basra and the port of Umm Qasr to the Iraqi Army, after having his fighters beaten in central Iraq, and after seeing his stronghold of Sadr City in Baghdad gradually reduced by the Iraqi and American armies, Muqtada al Sadr has decided to give the Iraqi government one last chance: stop hitting us or we’ll bite your legs off!
Less than one week after threatening to conduct an uprising against the Iraqi government and US forces, Muqtada al Sadr, the leader of the Mahdi Army, has called for his fighters to maintain the self-imposed cease-fire. The US and Iraqi military continue to strike at Sadr’s Mahdi Army in Baghdad. Ten “criminals” were killed in strikes in Sadr City, making 82 Mahdi fighters killed in the six days since Sadr threatened renewed violence.
In a statement read during the Friday prayers at the Al Hikma mosque in Sadr City, Sadr called for his militia to halt the fighting. “You have been patiently committed to the freeze decision and magnificently obeyed your leader,” Sadr statement read, according to Voices of Iraq. “I hope you retain your patience and faith.”
Sadr also said he did not threaten the Iraqi government with “open war” last weekend, but was directing his threat against Coalition forces. “The open war we threaten is meant against the occupiers,” Sadr said. “There is no war between us and our Iraqi brothers regardless of their sect or ethnicity.”
But Sadr then seemingly contradicted himself when he demanded the government “rein in the militias infiltrated” into the security forces. “I give the Iraqi government the last warning that we would wage an open war until liberation if it failed to rein in the militias infiltrated into it,” Sadr said.
Anyone else reminded of "Daffy" Gaddafi’s "line of death?"
I think Monty Python, as they did so often, captured the essence of the situation best:
LINK: Ed Morrissey relates how life is returning to Basra after the defeat of the Mahdi Army there, and points out that the Iraqi Army did something the British couldn’t do. Pros and Cons asks "give war a chance." I’m down with that; the only way a thug like al Sadr sees the light is when it comes shining through bullet holes.