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Mahdi Army under siege in Baghdad.

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posted on Jan, 18 2007 @ 03:59 PM

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Mahdi Army fighters said Thursday they were under siege in their Sadr City stronghold as U.S. and Iraqi troops killed or seized key commanders in pinpoint nighttime raids. Two commanders of the Shiite militia said Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has stopped protecting the group under pressure from Washington and threats from Sunni Muslim Arab governments.

The two commanders' account of a growing siege mentality inside the organization could represent a tactical and propaganda feint, but there was mounting evidence the militia was increasingly off balance and had ordered its gunmen to melt back into the population. To avoid capture, commanders report no longer using cell phones and fighters are removing their black uniforms and hiding their weapons during the day.

During much of his nearly eight months in office, al-Maliki has blocked or ordered an end to many U.S.-led operations against the Mahdi Army, which is run by radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, the prime minister's key political backer.

As recently as Oct. 31, al-Maliki, trying to capitalize on American voter discontent with the war and White House reluctance to open a public fight with the Iraqi leader just before the election, won U.S. agreement to lift military blockades on Sadr City and another Shiite enclave where an American soldier was abducted.

But al-Maliki reportedly had a change of heart in late November while going into a meeting in Jordan with President Bush. It has since been disclosed that the Iraqi leader's vision for a new security plan for Baghdad, to which Bush has committed 17,500 additional U.S. troops, was outlined in that meeting.

Al-Maliki is said by aides to have told Bush that he wanted the Iraqi army and police to be in the lead, but he would no longer interfere to prevent U.S. attempts to roll up the Mahdi Army.

Its about time. Being leaving the Mahdi Army alone a little too much, especially by a govt. led by Shiites. But they pretty much realize having militias going around targeting people because of their religious affiliation is only making it worse and also the pressure by the U.S. in dealing with such force like the Shiite death squads.

posted on Jan, 18 2007 @ 04:08 PM
After seeing the 'possible' involvment of al sadre in the saddam hanging, and other criminal ctivities of the group, i say right on - crack down on them hard as can be, and then you might see a slowing of the killing around bahgdad.

Their only doing the bidding of iran any whats the worry opf killing a few thousand of them?

posted on Jan, 18 2007 @ 10:43 PM
The thing is -- The Mahdi Army is more fanatical in combat than the damn Sunni Insurgents!

Remember the Imam Ali Mosque Siege in Najaf? When American forces were fighting an all out battle against the Mahdi Army in and around Najaf and the holy shrine of Imam Ali, whilst Sadr was pent up inside. He was very lucky to make it out of that alive and a free man, i'll add, because while watching it unfold on media outlets I was sure that he was a dead man. But no, hes too influential to the majority, especially at that time.

Remember they were making threats to blow up their own holy shrine if US troops entered inside? Was that not the situation and the threat? Eventually Kurdish soldiers were sent into the Mosque at the end of the standoff, but it lasted over a week and those Mahdi Army fighters were dying in droves, fanatical as can be; it seemed they were putting up a fierce fight, more fierce than say those Sunni who tried to defend Fallujah. But im sure they knew they were headed to their own personal martyrdom right..

posted on Jan, 18 2007 @ 10:56 PM
The less conflict between the U.S and Iraq Governments/Armies will lead to a resolvement of several issues including the Mahdi Army and their torment towards the soldiers out there.

posted on Jan, 18 2007 @ 11:59 PM
This is silly. If the US wants to get ride of the Mahdi Army, they should start with al-Sadr. They aren't. They clearly have no real interest in bringing that group down, or even weakening it.

He was very lucky to make it out of that alive and a free man

Luck had little to do with it, the US decided not to neutralize his milita, and to not kill or arrest, or even depose, him. They want him in power.

posted on Jan, 19 2007 @ 06:34 PM
In this case Nygdan is correct although the Iraqi government seems to have taken tokin measures against Al-Sadr. I don't understand why the US didn't take this guy out with an air strike he clearly didn't want to be a part of the political process. Guys that Sadr seem to enforce my view that a political solution wont solve Iraq's problems.

The June settlement was broken after Iraqi policemen and U.S. troops surrounded al-Sadr's home on 3 August, resulting in heavy gunfire, mortar shelling and grenade blasts. The apparent aim was to arrest al-Sadr and destroy his movement.[7][8][9] The decision to extend a firefight into extended combat is reported to have been made by U.S. Marines, without the approval of the Pentagon or the Allawi government.[citation needed]

On August 5, via his spokesman Ahmed al-Shaibany, al-Sadr reaffirmed his commitment to the truce and called on U.S. forces to honor the truce. He announced that if the restoration of the ceasefire failed "then the firing and igniting of the revolution will continue."[10] The offer was rejected by the governor of Najaf, Adnan al-Zurufi ("There is no compromise or room for another truce") and U.S. officials ("This is one battle we really do feel we can win")


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