Apr 21 2008

Sadr Balks Again – Not Sure When He Will Decide On Open War

Published by at 8:16 am under All General Discussions,Iraq,Sadr/Mahdi Army

Muqtada al-Sadr has to be losing it, since all his threats are empty ones which are followed by embarrassing caveats and waffling. He threatened a million man march in Najaf, then cancelled it when it was clear he did not have the following to fill the streets. And this weekend he threatened “open” war (as opposed to the open barrage of hundreds rockets aimed at the Green Zone of Baghdad for a month prior to the crackdown beginning), but now he is waffling on when he will decide to unleash what little force he has left:

The hostility seems likely to become even worse after Hojatoleslam al-Sadr issued an ultimatum at the weekend giving warning of “open war” unless Iraqi and US forces halted their attacks against his fighters in Sadr City, the southern oil hub of Basra and elsewhere across the Shia-dominated south of Iraq.

Hojatoleslam al-Sadr’s spokesman in the holy city of Najaf said yesterday that no deadline had been set for Mr al-Maliki to respond to the threat of war. “[Hojatoleslam al-Sadr] has hit the ball into the Government’s court,” said Sheikh Salah al-Obeidi. Al-Mahdi Army fighters in Sadr City, which has 2.5 million people, are ready to make a stand. “We need a big reaction to prove that we are here,” Abd al-Zaha-ra’a, a local commander, said.

As his fighters are decimated Sadr’s mouthpiece speaks of tennis. Sadr is a joke and it is amazing the SurrenderMedia take his blustering bravado seriously. Well here is what the US and Iraqi forces have sent back into Sadr’s court – and it is not a wimpy threat or a tennis ball:

US warplanes bombed the east Baghdad district of Sadr City overnight, where Shiite militiamen are battling security forces, residents said on Monday, as the American military reported another five people killed in the embattled township.

Residents said low flying jets dropped bombs in sectors 22 and 24 of Sadr City, stronghold of the Mahdi Army militia of Shiite radical leader Moqtada al-Sadr, around midnight (2100 GMT Sunday).

About two hours later, according to witnesses, helicopters fired missiles at four targets in Sadr City, where hundreds of people have died since Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki ordered a crackdown on militias across Iraq in late March.

And Condi Rice came out with a slap across Sadr’s face with a brutal comment:

“I know he’s living in Iran. I guess it’s all-out war for everybody but him. His followers can go to their deaths and he will still be living in Iran. I don’t know how seriously to take him or not.”

I don’t think Sadr’s militia is brimming with people willing to die as Sadr opposes Sistani and the other Shiite clerics who have sided with Maliki (see here for Sistani’s Fatwa against Sadr). Maybe against Americans, but Sadr is actually rebelling against the Shiite council of clerics, and I am not sure the Shiites are in the mood for a bloody Shiia civil war after coming out of three decades of oppression under Saddam Hussein. It is highly unlikely Sadr can peel off other Shiite sects now openly opposed to him and his thugs

And what was Maliki’s response to Sadr’s silly threat? Here we come:

Iraq’s government will confront armed militias and will not allow all-out war as threatened by populist Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari said on Monday.

“Of course nobody will accept open warfare in Iraq or allow the rule of militias to be established,” Zebari told Reuters in Bahrain, where he will attend a regional meeting.

“The Iraq government will be very firm to confront all outlaw militias as was proven in Basra and other places.”

Asked if the Iraqi government was capable of confronting Sadr, who led two uprisings against U.S. forces in 2004, Zebari said: “Of course, anybody who challenges the authority of the state, the government has to move.”

Sadr has lost Basra and his fighters took a beating in the southern city of Nasiriyah. But this will only end once the Mahdi militia is beaten because it has refused to disband and therefore is, in reality, already in open war with the democratically elected government of Iraq.

Al-Sadr’s followers, who control 30 of the 275 parliament seats, rejected that demand Sunday and instead called for an end to U.S.-Iraqi military operations in Sadr City, the Baghdad stronghold of the Mahdi Army, and Shula, another Shiite district of the capital.

“All must know that disbanding the Mahdi Army means the end of al-Maliki’s government,” Sadrist lawmaker Fawzi Akram told reporters.

He called the government campaign against the Mahdi Army a “filthy military and media campaign” planned and supported by the Americans. He urged the United Nations, non-governmental organizations and human rights groups to intervene.

“Random airstrikes, killings and bloodletting will not help but rather will increase hatred and enmity,” he said, adding that if operations continue “all options are open for us.”

Actually, there is no ‘option open to them’ to win this thing. It is clear Iraqi forces are trimming the Mahdi Army down in carefully planned operations. It seems close to having pruned Sadr’s forces to two strongholds in Baghdad, which are surrounded and under siege. The US and Iraqis said this effort would take a few months to complete and that looks to be about right. And after that there will be a completely different Iraq, one reconciled and unified across the major sects.

13 responses so far

13 Responses to “Sadr Balks Again – Not Sure When He Will Decide On Open War”

  1. domanana says:

    You think it’s a good thing that we’re bombing an Iraqi city, killing many Iraqis? So much for the idea that there will be a “bloodbath” if we leave Iraq; we’re killing more Iraqis by staying.

    As for the idea that everything is awesome in Iraq, please look at this piece by one of the most conservative, pro-war reporters in the world, Judith Miller, who actually helped get us into the war in the first place:


    Now tell us again how we’re building a new Iraq by helping Maliki slaughter his political opponents in Iraq. We’re not. We’re just helping him kill Iraqis, which, of course, was the purpose of the surge all along (since nearly all the people doing violence in Iraq are Iraqis, and Bush would rather fight Iraqis than fight Al Qaeda).

    But hey, if you want to support Maliki, and thereby support Iran, that’s fine. Those of us who don’t hate America will continue to push for an American withdrawal, which will deal a blow to Iran and Al-Qaeda (since we can’t fight Bin Laden’s organization while we’re in Iraq, we can only fight Iraqis).

    You’re also mistaken about Sistani taking sides against Sadr. What happened was that Sadr said he’d disband his militia if Sistani told him to, which is what Sadr always says. Sistani replied that it’s up to Sadr to decide whether to disband, but he opposes violence and armed militias, which is what he’s been saying for years. But Sadr didn’t directly ask Sistani, and Sistani didn’t order Sadr to disband, so things are the same in Iraq as they’ve always been: there’s a civil war and America is making it worse, and Sadr remains more popular than the “government” that’s murdering its political opponents.

  2. AJStrata says:


    We are targeting terrorist thugs. If all we wanted to do was kill Iraqis we could be doing much more – we have the bombs. It is naive to lump terrorists into ‘Iraqis’ just as it is wrong to lump Saudis in with terrorists just because of 9-11. Simpleton thinking there.

    And Judith Miller is only conservative to those so far out on the leftward fringes that just about everyone is right of them. Which means you are out there – way out there!

  3. VA Voter says:

    Having Sadr declare all out war against Maliki’s government is the best we could hope for. It will return us to the days in March of hundreds of Mahdi Army militia being killed instead of only the current dozens.

    This will do more to ending the war sooner than Sadr dragging this out for months and months.

  4. ivehadit says:

    Iran used Sadr. Now they want to take him out. He went to far…on his own.

    Ya just neveh know who’s doing what to whom in this Global War on Terror!

    Go George! Thank you, thank you, thank you! We owe you lifetimes of gratitude.

  5. WWS says:

    I love this part – “He urged the United Nations, non-governmental organizations and human rights groups to intervene.”

    Oh yeah, the groups that have been shrieking “run away!” and who haven’t wanted to have anything to do with Iraq all these years – NOW you want their help? And think you’ll get it?? LOL.

    And by the way, “Domanana” – can you say “William Lind is a preening wannabee never-was who hasn’t had an original thought in 20 years?” I’ll bet you can’t!!!

  6. 75 says:

    Ivehad it has it right yet again. Kudos to you my friend.

  7. truthhard2take says:

    Didn’t take our brilliant analyst long to modulate from “what little force he has left” to alarmist threats against Sadr City and Iran, above, after one li’l strike.

  8. AJStrata says:

    LOL H2T missed the point of the Mahdi Hitting fellow shiites. The poor fella thinks Sadr got stronger after striking his one time allies?

    Dude – my point was his isolation is complete and now he is a true Benedict Arnold – who also failed in his efforts to beat America.

  9. 75 says:

    Nothing gets by Truthy, does it AJ?


  10. ivehadit says:

    Thanks, 75…The feeling is mutual!

  11. preachingpatriot says:

    Isolation “complete” for a million man militia? That’s some

  12. 75 says:

    I assume the “million man militia” has more members than the “million man march”, correct?