Day By Day

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Mookie Bugs Out

Time reports:

WASHINGTON — Anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr fled Iraq for Iran ahead of a security crackdown in Baghdad and the arrival of 21,500 U.S. troops sent by President Bush to quell sectarian violence, a senior U.S. official said Tuesday.

Al-Sadr left his Baghdad stronghold some weeks ago, the official said, and is believed to be in Tehran, where he has family. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss U.S. monitoring activities, said fractures in al-Sadr's political and militia operations may be part of the reason for his departure. The move is not believed to be permanent, the official said.

Now that's interesting. Mookie decides he wants to spend more time with his family and leaves the building. This is a very good thing.

al-Sadr set up the Mahdi Army militia in 2003. It is suspected of being behind the abduction and murder of thousands of Sunnis in what are known as death squad killings.
The implication in most broadcasts has been that al-Sadr is fleeing in advance of the American/Iraqi surge to impose order on Baghdad, but that's not necessarily the case.

Two key members of al-Sadr's political and military organization were gunned down last week, the latest of as many as seven key figures in the al-Sadr organization killed or captured in the past two months.

The deaths and captures came after al-Maliki, also a Shiite, dropped his protection for the organization.

And that is verrrry interesting. Maliki is finally showing some guts. Is this due to American pressure? Congresscritters will say that it is the threat to cut off funds that has made him act, but there is this.

Shiite leaders insist that the Shiite militias flourished because the U.S. and its allies could not protect civilians. They say if the Sunni insurgents were crushed, the threat from Shiite hard-liners would go away.
And in one of the under-reported stories of the past few months -- that is just what has happened.

There have been consistent reports out of Iraq for several months now that the Sunni insurgency has collapsed and its leaders are frantically trying to make deals for American protection. The collapse of the Sunni terror campaign has removed the justification for al-Sadr's organization and has freed more established Shiite leaders to take reprisals against it.

Mookie is wise to seek the protection of his Iranian overlords. He doesn't have much of a future in Iraq.

Read the story here.

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