Saturday, March 29, 2008
ain't mean jack till that tool gotta talk:
Scenes from the Second Sadrist Intifada. First, note that, according to Raghavan's piece, Mahdi Army militiamen actually agree with my friend that the Sadrist ceasefire is still on. They just interpret the ceasefire as not applying only to U.S. forces. Is it too early for a drink?
The fighters also said they received neither support nor training from Iran, as U.S. military commanders allege. Their Iranian weapons, they said, were bought from smugglers. They said they had been fighting only American soldiers and had not yet engaged with any Iraqi forces inside Sadr City.

They insisted that they were still obeying Sadr's cease-fire and would stop fighting if he gave the order.

"We are allowed to defend ourselves," said Abu Nargis, another fighter.
Second, here's the AP's summation in Baghdad:
Shiite militiamen are everywhere. Police and Iraqi army checkpoints are nowhere in sight. U.S. soldiers are keeping their distance.

Sadr City _ the Baghdad nerve center for the powerful Mahdi Army _ is suddenly back on edge as the militia leader, Muqtada al-Sadr, and Iraq's government lock in a dangerous confrontation over clout and control among the nation's majority Shiites.[snip]
Al-Sadr's militia forces, estimated at about 60,000, now seem itching for a fight. ...
Third, subscription-only IraqSlogger says the Mahdi Army has driven Sons of Iraq forces out of areas around Sadr City. I don't know whether that means the JAMmies have driven the Sunnis back to the Sunni east-of-the-Tigris enclave of Adhimiya or out of that district, which would be stunning.

And finally, the Los Angeles Times reports that Sadr is rejecting Maliki's call to disarm in Basra.
Shiite cleric Muqtada Sadr sent a defiant signal to Iraq's government today, urging militiamen fighting Iraqi and U.S. forces to reject calls to disarm as American airstrikes continued. ...

Sadr's followers say the offensive was aimed at crippling his movement, and they say they are firing only in self-defense. The Iraqi and U.S. forces deny targeting Sadr's Mahdi Army militia and say they are going after "criminal gangs."
--Spencer Ackerman