10 years, 1 month ago
There have been additional deployments to the Diyala Province due to the flight of AQI and other insurgents from Baghdad just prior to the increase in U.S. force size. But there currently appears to be two foci – two points of importance in the counterinsurgency campaign – that are shaping up. The first is Baghdad, where radical Shi’a are running out of patience even at the beginning of the security plan. The second is Fallujah where radical Sunni, being squeezed in Ramadi and other parts of the Anbar Province, are wreaking violence and causing intimidation.
Al Sadr, believed to be in Iran, recently issued a statement explaining exactly where he and his leadership stood regarding the security plan for Baghdad.
“The occupiers want to harm this beloved (Sadr City) and tarnish its name by spreading false rumors and allegations that negotiations and cooperation are ongoing between you and them,” the statement said. “I am confident that you will not make concessions to them and will remain above them. Raise your voices in love and brotherhood and unity against your enemy and shout ‘No, No America!”
In tempo, a Sadr City official who has cooperated with the U.S. security plan was attacked, the attack wounding him and killing his two body guards.
An attack against the top Sadr City official has created tension in the ranks of Shiite militiamen with some blaming a faction unhappy about cooperation with Americans, a local commander said Friday.
Gunmen opened fire on the convoy carrying Rahim al-Darraji Thursday in eastern Baghdad, seriously wounding him and killing two of his bodyguards on Thursday, police and a local official said.
Al-Darraji was the principal negotiator in talks with U.S. officials that led to an agreement to pull fighters off the streets in Sadr City, a stronghold of the feared Mahdi Army, and a local commander said suspicion fell on a group of disaffected militiamen who are angry about the deal.
‘This is a faction that enjoys some weight,’ the Mahdi Army commander said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.
He said the attack has created tension within the ranks of the militia and renewed a debate on the merits of allowing the Americans to operate in Sadr City without resistance during a security sweep aimed at ending the sectarian violence that has raged since a Feb. 22, 2006, bombing of a Shiite shrine in Samarra.
Some Mahdi army members have splintered off from al Sadr, and notwithstanding this splintering the Mahdi army is a loose knit organization anyway. But it is clear now that al Sadr has given marching orders to his loyal followers, and his orders do not include participating with any security plan for Baghdad. Not missing an opportunity to spin the events in a positive light, the Multi-National Force said:
“We’re very encouraged by what we’re seeing on the ground right now in Sadr City,” said Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell, the U.S. military’s chief spokesman in Baghdad. “There is a tremendous amount of cooperation and dialogue ongoing. It’s proven to be very beneficial to both sides.”
Some reports have even gone so far as to suggest that Sadr is losing his grip on the Mahdi army. We do not believe that this is so, any more than we believe that there is a “tremendous amount of cooperation” between the hard line Sadrists and the Multi-National Force. What we believe concerning Sadr is summed up previously in Intelligence Bulletin #3.
General David Petraeus said that discussions are ongoing with Sadr’s organization, adding that “over time the Mahdi Army, as with all the militias, has to be disarmed, demobilized and reintegrated into society in some fashion. The militia will not be allowed to join the Iraqi security forces as an organization.