Theodore's World: Muqtada Al-Sadr Update

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November 14, 2006

Muqtada Al-Sadr Update

Cleric al-Sadr may hold Iraq's future in his hands

BAGHDAD — Muqtada al-Sadr, the anti-American cleric has emerged as one of the most powerful forces in Iraq, commanding a large militia and a growing political organization.

"I believe that the Mahdi Army continues to pose a threat," Sen. John McCain said in Arizona last week. "I believe al-Sadr has to be taken out."

That may not be realistic. "There are no good options in dealing with al-Sadr," says Wayne White, who formerly headed the State Department's Iraq intelligence team and is now at the Middle East Institute. "He has grown too powerful to be addressed in any reasonable way."

As President Bush and the Democrats in charge of a new Congress plot a new direction in Iraq, al-Sadr remains a huge obstacle unless the Iraqi government does what it has been unwilling or unable to do so far: neutralize him through political negotiations or a military confrontation.

His political group, for example, controls the Health Ministry and has used it to harbor death squads, infiltrate hospitals and punish al-Sadr's enemies, says Ayad al-Samarrai, the deputy chairman of the Iraqi Islamic Party, a Sunni group.

The U.S. military estimates the Mahdi Army has between 6,000 and 10,000 militants in Baghdad. Al-Sadr's militia and al-Qaeda in Iraq are among the groups most responsible for religious warfare, according to the latest Defense Department report to Congress.

The Bush administration has urged the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to confront Shiite militias, including al-Sadr's Mahdi Army. Al-Maliki, who relies on al-Sadr for political support, has been slow to act, saying it may not be until next year before militias are disarmed. Al-Sadr's support was instrumental in putting al-Maliki in power.

Because of al-Sadr, "Al-Maliki was able to become prime minister despite the fact that other political parties had gained more seats in parliament," says Vali Nasr, author of The Shia Revival. "He is al-Sadr's prime minister."

U.S. troops say a two-story complex linked to the al-Sadr organization in a nearby neighborhood also is being used as an illegal detention center. "Torturing, killing, everything under the sun happens there," says 2nd Lt. David Michael Stroud, a platoon leader with the 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry. "It's the heart of darkness."

The complex is considered a "no-touch" zone, since it's aligned with al-Sadr, Stroud says. U.S. and Iraqi army units often need Iraqi government permission before raiding government offices. The Shiite-dominated government sometimes is reluctant to allow raids of al-Sadr associates. "It makes it difficult if someone is sponsoring or being complicit with criminal activity who's in a government position," Smiley says. "It disrupts the essentials to making progress."

Al-Maliki's government has targeted some Mahdi Army officials, and Iraqi security forces have clashed with the militants several times this year. In August, U.S. and Iraqi troops, working on a tip about a kidnapping ring, raided the Health Ministry offices and arrested five of al-Shemari's bodyguards.

Wild Thing's comment......

I sure hope our troops will be told to take this guy out and soon. Not sure how that works if they have to have the OK first with this kind of a hit, or not, or if he could be just sort of an oops we got him too. But I vote to take him out and not as a prisoner. Just get rid of this jerk. He is nothing but trouble and if our troops do get pulled out of Iraq, to leave this horrible person alive will escalate the worst possible situation immediately.

Posted by Wild Thing at November 14, 2006 01:55 AM


Iraq is full of horrible people like Sadr. It's like swatting flies. You get one and another 10 take there place. The best that the US can hope for is to get the Iraq governmnt strong enough to deal with their own bad eggs. The way things are shaping up Iraq could even be annexed into three separate regions. The sunni and shier hate each others guts and the Kurds don't really want anything to do with either of them. They have been working along democratic lines for some time and their economy is in much better shape too.

Posted by: Lyn in Australia at November 14, 2006 10:06 AM

Lyn is right. I saw a short film on the Kurd territory in Iraq. They had modern conviences, a booming economy, no internal strife and a pro Western attitude. Our Army Special Forces work closely with the Kurds to successfully block infiltration through their territory by foreign terrorists headed for other parts of Iraq.

Posted by: TomR at November 14, 2006 11:29 AM

Cleric al-Sadr may hold Iraq's future in his hands,Well if the SOB is dead he can't hold a
hell of a lot...If you cut the head of Snake
off the body may still wiggle but that just makes
it easy to chop up and bury the whole mess...

Posted by: Tincan Sailor at November 14, 2006 05:28 PM

a bit off the current topic, but I thought you might be interested in reading this, if you haven't already. - Rick Santorum article, oct 30, 06

Posted by: gregor at November 14, 2006 07:15 PM

Yep--the Iraqis really need to get ahold of their own government and begin fixing their own problems within their own country and those countries nearby. We'll help, but we can't do it alone. They have to take some responsibilities now and we need to start weening them.

Posted by: Lynn at November 14, 2006 07:40 PM

They had him dead to rights and let him go. Should have put a bullet in his head when they had the chance.

Posted by: raz0r at November 14, 2006 10:18 PM

Damn. Since that ugly mug showed up on my monitor, I've had to degrease the keypad and spray the thing with Lysol. The last time this happened, it was a picture of Terry MacAuliffe. It took a month to get Terry slime off the equipment.

Posted by: Rhod at November 15, 2006 07:40 AM

Mookie should have been taken out two years ago, when they took Fallujah but somehow he escaped.

This is what happens when you wage a limited war, one hand tied behind your back. Where the Rules of Engagement favor the enemy, where the overall objective is not to win but one of containment. At this point our troops are engaged in police action,(does Korea sound familar) where non-combatant casualties are more important than achieving the objective, and that is to rid the country of the terrorists.

Isn't it strange that the enemy has no constraints, no Rules of Engagement, and could care less how many civilian casualties result there objective is to creat as many casualties and chaos as possible civilian and U.S. Military.

The writing was on the wall when U.S. Troops tried to raise the American Flag and then they were quickly told to take it down: Reason, we don't want to give the impression that we are conquering this nation...Isn't that how wars are won ? Conquer then re-build the country. At least it used to be.

Posted by: Mark at November 15, 2006 09:04 AM

Isn't it strange that the enemy has no constraints, no Rules of Engagement, and could care less how many civilian casualties result there objective is to creat as many casualties and chaos as possible civilian and U.S. Military.

They have learned well from their Palestinian brothers...after all they operate the same way in Israel. The alarming part in all this is that this style of Jihad is being exported on a gloabal scale at an alarming rate. Look what is going on in Afghanistan.

Posted by: Lyn in Australia at November 15, 2006 09:45 AM


Afghanistan ? For sure but that is no surprise, more alarming is Europe. France is being burnt to the ground and the French can't even bring themselves to say who is really doing the 'Torching'. Islamo-fascists, youth gangs, Germany is being overrun by these radicals along with England. And no one wants to face the problem for what it is.

This past election has been America's 'Spanish moment'. The jihadi's are not stupid, they knew full well if they pulled a pre-election bombing in the U.S. like they did in Spain, the opposite result would have occured, the Republicans would have been re-elected overwhelmingly, so they stepped up the violence in Baghdad , plumes of black smoke over Baghdad a constant reminder of the violence and killing going on day after day being reported night, after night to a misinformed American public. The response from the public gave the desired results, the appeasers are now in power and they think they are now running the place. Which in effect they are.

They believe they are smarter than anyone else, and think they can bribe the terrorists like the Clinton administration tried to bribe the North Koreans. What they will get back for their effort will be lies and deceit and the American People will pay this time a huge price.

My point was, America has not been allowed to win a war since the end of the second world war. It started with the Korean Conflict, 'its just a police action it isn't a war', the UN got us into that one and since that time we have lost almost 100,000 troops in 'Police Actions' and no victory.

Our enemies now know this and if we cut and run now, the next battlefield will be in the Liberal mecca of New York City.

Posted by: Mark at November 15, 2006 10:57 AM

Gregor, thank you so much for the link.

Posted by: Wild Thing at November 16, 2006 02:57 AM

Rhod, Hahahaha good one! (Barf-0h-la) thinking of Terry MacAuliffe!

Posted by: Wild Thing at November 16, 2006 02:59 AM

Mark you are absolutely right, thanks.

Posted by: Wild Thing at November 16, 2006 03:00 AM

What is the US waiting to get ride off this S>O>B musquata Sdar impersonification of one of Satan high ranking foes. Get rid of him is the best solution to bring peace to this region. Hope the Dems will understand this as well.

Posted by: freedom fight at November 28, 2006 10:51 AM