Jan 19 2007

More Pressure On Muqtada al Sadr

Published by at 8:29 am under All General Discussions,Iraq

Iraqis rounded up an aid to Muqtada al Sadr in a further demonstration that they are beginning to take some real actions against the Shiia Militias:

US and Iraqi troops seized an aide to Shia cleric Moqtada Al Sadr on Friday, confronting a movement that is a key element in the ruling coalition.

The raid near Baghdad’s Sadr City district came as Defence Secretary Robert Gates flew in to the southern city of Basra to meet the US commander in Iraq, General George Casey.

The US military said in a statement that Iraqi special forces backed by American advisers seized an unnamed man they described as a death squad leader wanted for kidnap, torture and murder and linked to fugitive Shia warlord Abu Deraa.

Aides to Sadr said the man held was Abdul-Hadi Al Darraji, a prominent media spokesman for their movement. An official in Sadr’s political office branded his detention a deliberate ”provocation” but said they would not respond with violence.

“He was arrested at midnight (2100 GMT) with two cousins,” Abdul-Mehdi Al Matiri told Reuters, adding that a guard was shot dead during the arrest and that he believed the two others detained had since been released.

Next they need to put this man on public trial, to expose his crimes against Iraq’s people and to use him (and as many others as need be) as an example of what will not be tolerated. Clearly these people have been trying to set up vigilante justice in Baghdad:

The US military said: “In an Iraqi-led operation, special Iraqi army forces captured a high-level, illegal armed group leader during operations with Coalition advisers.”

It said he was suspected of leading “punishment” activities — an apparent reference to informal courts meting out rough justice according strict interpretations of Islamic law. These included “kidnapping, torture and murder”.

Vigilantes cannot be tolerated in any society. At the brave al Sadr is pretending he has nothing to do with this of course:

Sadr himself has publicly distanced himself from violence blamed on his Mehdi Army supporters, whom the United States has called the biggest threat to the security of Iraq.

Fellow Shia leaders say they are negotiating to keep Sadr and his political movement inside the main Shia bloc while at the same time they hope to disarm his militia followers.

In other words, Sadr is trying to save his own hide. Or maybe pretending to try. But his followers will wonder why they are doing the fighting and dying and he doesn’t lift a finger.

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