Theodore's World: Sadr Raises Pressure For US To Withdraw

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April 17, 2007

Sadr Raises Pressure For US To Withdraw

Sadr raises pressure for US to withdraw

The United States faced a fresh challenge to its presence in Iraq yesterday when supporters of Moqtada al-Sadr's radical Shia Muslim movement quit the Baghdad government to demand a deadline for withdrawal of its troops.

By pulling out of the ruling Shia Alliance coalition, Sadr has moved a step closer to outright confrontation with the American-led military effort to stabilise Iraq.

A Shia militiaman wears an identity card with a picture of Moqtada al-Sadr on the back

The loss of Sadr's followers, including six cabinet ministers, does not deprive Nouri al-Maliki, the prime minister, of an overall majority but does reduce his scope for horse trading between competing factions.

Sadr triggered the crisis in a letter to supporters that demanded a timetable for withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq. It said:

"I pray for God Almighty to bestow on the Iraqi people a government that is independent from occupation and one that works hard in the service of its people."

The movement holds one quarter of parliamentary seats in the Alliance which governs in coalition with Kurdish parties. The bloc's parliamentary representative, Nassar al-Rubaie, said the decision was taken after Mr Maliki rejected an ultimatum to confront the Americans.

Behind the scenes, the split has been on the cards for months. Mr Maliki issued a statement yesterday thanking Sadr for instructing his ministers to resign, so that competent "independents" could be appointed.

The White House welcomed the development, reinforcing its support for Mr Maliki as he launches a much postponed government reshuffle.

Sadrists were until yesterday in control of key ministries including health, transport and tourism.

There were widespread accusations that these ministries had become sectarian enforcement operations under the influence of their political leaders.

In parallel Sadr has sought to distance his movement from an unpopular government. Mr Rubaie said:

"The prime minister has to express the will of the Iraqi people. They went out in a demonstration in their millions asking for a timetable for withdrawal. We noticed the prime minister's response did not express the will of the people"

Mr Maliki managed to persuade the Madhi army, the armed wing of Mr Sadr's movement, to reduce attacks on coalition forces but recently Sadr has resumed aggressive activities and his supporters have taken to the streets to challenge the authorities.

Wild Thing's comment........

Don't you just love how this reject has been playing both sides of the fence. He has representation in a legitimate government, but expects that government to look the other way when his followers intimidate and murder those who “see” things differently then he does. Its time for Maliki to step up to the plate and say “Thanks, but we dont need you anymore.”

He has called for the killing of American troops. That makes him the enemy, not opposition political party.Take him out and take out his followers when they protest in the street.

Problem solved, we win.

Posted by Wild Thing at April 17, 2007 12:47 AM


We still might get lucky and get him his vitamin B(arrett) pill.

Posted by: Jack at April 17, 2007 02:25 AM

It is time for the Iraqi people to take control of their own freedoms. We need to tell them, we aren't leaving, but we are going to the rear and you are going out front. Just like a parent trying to get a child off of training wheels or from a bottle to a cup or out of diapers into underpants. It's not easy, but they have to be weened.
What will it take to get them to jump off the diving board and into the water?

Posted by: Lynn at April 17, 2007 06:33 AM

"What will it take to get them to jump off the diving board and into the water?"

Sometimes a good push.

Posted by: Mark at April 17, 2007 08:52 AM

Jack now that is one powerful vitamin. LOL good one.

Posted by: Wild Thing at April 17, 2007 11:47 PM

Lynn, it is time and they better know it too. I am tired of our guys being sacrificed for the slowness of the Iraqi's leaders to get their act together.

Posted by: Wild Thing at April 17, 2007 11:52 PM

Mark, your right, sometimes a good push is needed.

Posted by: Wild Thing at April 17, 2007 11:52 PM