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View Diary: Maliki blinks (164 comments)

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  •  To Be Fair (0+ / 0-)

    Sadrists have agreed to withdraw; there will be no withdrawal from Basra by Iraqi forces nor cessation of American (and British) air strikes in pursuit of other than Sadraist militias and "criminal gangs."

    In return for Moqtada al-Sadr's promise to take his men off the streets of Basra, the Iraqi gov't has agreed not to pursue them unless it has a warrant for someone's arrest.

    The past six days was, effectively, a violent protest following the arrests of hundreds of al-Sadr supporters  for what US commanders say are ties to Iran and attacks on American soldiers.  As we see, the Iraqi government has not agreed to cease making arrests.

    Admittedly, the Sadrist perspective is a bit different.  Al-Sadr's followers accused rival Shia parties in the government of trying to crush their movement before provincial elections this fall.

    The fighting was not in response to any major offensive by the Mahdi Army to oust the British from Basra.  It did not represent an escalation of hostilities to levels of two years ago.

    As of now, it's a return to the status quo, a condition which the Iraqi government apparently has no real quarrel with.

    They burn our children in their wars and grow rich beyond the dreams of avarice.

    by Limelite on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 11:31:31 AM PDT

    •  Not sure what you mean (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Losty

      An essential part of the deal is that Iraqi and US forces withdraw from Basra.

      Wasat Online...says that among the points is the withdrawal of the Iraqi and American forces from Basra, stop the raids against the Sadrists, Maliki to return to Baghdad in 48 hour followed by the ministers [Defense and Interior].

      It looks as if Maliki is pretending that he hasn't agreed to withdraw, but without that there's no deal apparently. An aide to Sadr told reporters...

      "We confirm that there were guarantees taken from the Iraqi government to fulfill all the points in this [nine-point] statement."

      •  Since Maliki Insists Arrests Will Continue (0+ / 0-)

        I assumed that the "withdrawal" is a myth.  The only guarantee seems to be the agreement not to conduct warfare on members of the Mahdi Army in a concerted effort with the Coalition of Who's Left.

        They burn our children in their wars and grow rich beyond the dreams of avarice.

        by Limelite on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 07:01:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Does he say "arrests will continue"? (0+ / 0-)

          The Reuters report I saw had the vague statement that the operation would continue, tied to the falsehood that Maliki wasn't after Sadr's supporters in the first place. But it said nothing about making further arrests, or indeed anything specific.

          So the situation could be any number of things. Maliki could pretend to continue the operation, then quietly wind it down and declare victory against the "lawless" whoevers, and slink away from Basra.

          Or it could be that Sadr's spokesman was lying when he said that the government had promised to abide by all nine-points. It's unclear, though, why he would state unequivocally that Maliki would stop arresting Sadr's followers. That would just set up his followers to be arrested one by one.

          Or it could be that there was never any agreement. Except it's unclear why Sadr would unilaterally disarm, and why Maliki's government seemed so ready (at first) to make nice to Sadr.

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