More Real Big Problems For Dems ...
BAGHDAD (AP)- Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has ordered a six-month suspension of activities by his Mahdi Army militia in order to reorganize the force, and it will no longer attack U.S. and coalition troops, aides said Wednesday.Just a guess here, but perhaps al-Sadr has come to realize that the wholesale killing of other Muslims in the name of Allah, and attacks against our troops who are trying to stop wholesale killing of Muslims in the name of Allah, does not really conform with his ideological image for his organization.
The aide, Sheik Hazim al-Araji, said on Iraqi state television that the goal was to "rehabilitate" the organization, which has reportedly broken into factions, some of which the U.S. maintains are trained and supplied by Iran.
"We declare the freezing of the Mahdi Army without exception in order to rehabilitate it in a way that will safeguard its ideological image within a maximum period of six months starting from the day this statement is issued," al-Araji said, reading from a statement by al-Sadr.
In Najaf, al-Sadr's spokesman said the order also means the Mahdi Army will no longer launch attacks against U.S. and other coalition forces.
"It also includes suspending the taking up of arms against occupiers as well as others," Ahmed al-Shaibani told reporters.
The Mahdi Army was blamed for the killings in Karbala during a Shi'ite holy festival. Fifty-two Muslims, including mostly pilgrims going to a shrine on a holy day, died during the fighting between, get this, the Sadrs and the Badrs. (The Badr Brigade was guarding the temple.) The count of injured surpasses 300.
Shi'ite vs. Shi'ite fighting is just one of many components of Iraq's instability. Sadr's move today will help to stabilize that -- and it doesn't hurt that the announcement comes just before Gen. Patraeus' update.