8 years ago
In Ending Iran’s Influence Inside Iraq we outlined a series of actions Maliki could take that would set Iran on its heels in Iraq. Feigning sensible agreement with the partial crackdown on the Sadrists in Basra, Iran has finally weighed in negatively on the battle in Sadr City. So much for Iran’s supposed lack of interest in Iraqi Shi’ites.
The US military said on Sunday it supported a ceasefire in Baghdad’s Sadr City where the militia of firebrand Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr cut a deal with the Iraqi authorities to end the bloodshed.
“We support political solutions in Sadr City as well as all of Iraq. We would welcome an end to violence by the criminal elements who continue to endanger the lives of innocent Iraqi citizens,” US military spokesman Colonel Jerry O’Hara told AFP.
The Iraqi government and Sadr’s movement said on Saturday they had agreed on a deal to end weeks of fighting which has killed hundreds of people in Baghdad.
In clashes on Saturday afternoon, American troops killed four militiamen, the US military said in a separate statement, adding that a tank was used to return fire after soldiers came under attack in Sadr City.
“If we see illegal activity, rocket or mortar teams, those carrying rocket-propelled grenades or improvised-explosive device emplacers, we will engage them with precision fire,” the statement said.
At least in Anbar, the “criminal elements” (i.e., indigenous Sunni fighters) were battled to a point of exhaustion and then paired up with U.S. forces upon their turning on al Qaeda, then having to prove their intent to rid Anbar of al Qaeda while working peaceably in alliance with U.S. forces. There is no such evidence required of the Sadrists (i.e.. proving loyalty to the Iraqi regime rather than the Iranian regime). Further, this has not been required of Badr either. Imagine the picture of the Sadrists working with the U.S. to hunt down Quds, Iranian weapons and Iranian intelligence assets inside of Iraq.
So these same criminals whom we will engage in precison fire if they continue, we wish fully to incorporate into the government and political process. At least the Sunnis proved that they weren’t incorrigible. The Sadrists haven’t even shown that they are interested in rehabilitation. Criminals. Sometimes a slip of the tongue can say more than the balance of the speech.