Thursday, April 24, 2008

Stepping Up The Pressure On Sadr

The US and Iraqi forces are increasing the pressure on Sadr and his militia while PM Maliki's decision to give the Sadrists a choice between dismantling their militia or being kept out of politics is creating real problems in the Sadr movement. We now know that the murder of Sadr's brother-in-law and senior Mahdi operative in Najaf the other day came shortly after he had written to Sadr recommending that the militia be disbanded.


This from Bill Roggio at the Long War Journal:

The senior-most Iraqi general in charge of the security operation in Basrah has issued an ultimatum for wanted Mahdi Army leaders and fighters to surrender in the next 24 hours as the Iraqi and US military ignore Muqtada al Sadr's threat to conduct a third uprising. US troops killed 15 Mahdi Army fighters in Baghdad yesterday and have killed 56 fighters since Sadr issued his threat last weekend.

In Basrah, General Mohan al Freiji, the chief of the Basrah Operational Commander and leader of the security operation in the province, has given issued warrants "for 81 people, including senior leaders of the Mahdi militia, and they have 24 hours to give up," The Associated Press reported.

Iraqi troops continue to clear Basrah, although the fighting has been sparse since security forces cleared the Mahdi Army-controlled Hayaniyah neighborhood in Basrah last weekend. Iraqi forces "seized a cache containing huge amounts of weapons and ammunition" in the Al Tanuma neighborhood in eastern Basrah, Voices of Iraq reported. "The cache contains more than (1000) mortar rounds of different calibers, explosive equipment, and improvised explosive devices," a source told the Iraqi newspaper.

Iraqi and US forces have not stopped its operations against The Mahdi Army in Baghdad and the South despite Sadr's threat to conduct a third uprising. US forces in Baghdad alone have reported 56 "criminals" killed since Sadr issued his warning. The US military refers to the Mahdi Army as criminals in an effort to marginalize and delegitimize the group.

Twenty-seven Mahdi Army fighters were killed during clashes in Sadr City and Baghdad on April 20. . . .

. . . The Iraqi government's political pressure on the Mahdi Army to disband combined with the Coalition and Iraqi military offensive against the Mahdi Army has appeared to cause some deep rifts within the Sadrist ranks. Sadrist politicians have complained about being politically isolated, and some appear to be working to disband the Mahdi Army and conduct negotiations with the US to end the fighting.

The assassination of Riyad al Nouri, Sadr's brother-in-law and a senior aide in Najaf, continues to spark reports that his death was carried out from within the Sadrist movement. On April 17, The Long War Journal reported that Nouri was pushing for the Sadrist movement to disband the Mahdi Army lest the party be shut out from the political process, and US military officers believe he was killed because of this. . .

Read the entire article.

1 comment:

MK said...

I hope they increase the pressure until he breaks. We should know by now that he needs to be finished, letting up only means he'll be back later, stirring the pot again.