Al-Sadr Tells Mahdi Army To Stand Down

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Good news for al-Maliki’s credibility, but this could be a brief pause if there’s not agreement on the elections in the Fall.


BAGHDAD – Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr on Sunday ordered his fighters off the streets nationwide and called on the government to stop raids against his followers and free them from prison.

The Iraqi government quickly welcomed al-Sadr’s apparent move to resolve a widening conflict with his movement, sparked Tuesday by operations against his backers in the oil-rich southern city of Basra. […]

“Because of the religious responsibility, and to stop Iraqi blood being shed … we call for an end to armed appearances in Basra and all other provinces,” Sadr said in a statement. “Anyone carrying a weapon and targeting government institutions will not be one of us.”

I still don’t think the U.S. should have been involved in what was basically a political power struggle. Seems like a bad strategic move on our part.