Saturday, September 01, 2007
The recent declaration by Muqtada al-Sadr calling on all members of Jaysh al-Mahdi to end their violence is encouraging. It is particularly notable that Sadr gave his word of honor that Jaysh al-Mahdi will stop attacks.
The Multi-National Force-Iraq joins the Government of Iraq in welcoming Sadr's commitment to peace.
If implemented, Sadr's order holds the prospect of allowing Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces to intensify their focus on al-Qaeda-Iraq and on protecting the Iraqi population, as well as on helping Iraq rebuild its damaged infrastructure and improve basic services, all without distraction from Jaysh al-Mahdi attacks.
An end to Jaysh al-Mahdi violence would also be an important step in helping Iraqi authorities focus greater attention on achieving the political and economic solutions necessary for progress and less on dealing with criminal activity, sectarian violence, kidnappings, assassinations, and attacks on Iraqi and Coalition Forces. We call on all parties and all elements to support and enforce this new initiative.
To build on the additional security that Sadr's order could bring, the Coalition will continue to support Iraqi Security Forces in their enforcement of the law against those individuals who commit acts of violence.
Muqtada al-Sadr's declaration holds the potential to reduce criminal activity and help re-unite Iraqis separated by ethno-sectarian violence and fear. We look forward to confirming the reduction of violence that will result if those involved fulfill their commitment to following Sadr's direction.