Sunday, March 30, 2008

Muqtada Al-Sadr Calls For Cease Fire - Will The Iraq Government Respond?

It seems that Muqtada Al-Sadr wants to end the bloodshed, even though Al-Maliki may not. A little background may be necessary. Muqtada Al-Sadr was part of the Iraq government coalition but pulled out when Prime Minister Al-Maliki refused to set a deadline for US troop withdrawal.

Today Al-Sadr is calling for a cease fire to end the fighting. I suspect he sees no good outcome of the conflict and genuinely wants the killing of his countrymen to stop. I sincerely hope the Iraq government will respond in kind. If not , they will continue the slide into anarchy that began a week ago when the fighting in Basra broke out.

In an interview by Reuters, Joost Hiltermann, of the International Crisis Group think tank said, "The key question now is what the United States is going to do, If it allows (the crackdown) to go forward the ceasefire will unravel and the U.S. will face the Sadr movement in its full power.""This will be bad for both sides. Sadr will lose men and the United States will lose the gains of the surge".

I have to agree. Should the US unleash its power on the militias there would be not just devastation, but a complete end to any good will we might have earned. We would be seen as absolute occupiers and our troops might never get out.

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