Monday, April 07, 2008

Iraq: On Ground Updates - Monday, April 07, 2008

Iraq: On Ground Updates
Radical Shiite Cleric Muqtada al-Sadr said Monday he would disband his Militia if Top Religious Leaders Order it
, April 07, 2008
. brings us this story today and it starts off like this... Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr offered on Monday to disband his militia if the highest Shi'ite religious authority demands it, a shock announcement at a time when the group is the focus of an upsurge in fighting...The news came after Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who launched a crackdown on Sadr's Mehdi Army late last month, ordered the cleric to disband his militia or face exclusion from the Iraqi political process.. It was the first time Sadr has evoked dissolving the Mehdi Army, whose black-masked fighters have been principle actors throughout Iraq's five-year-old war and the main foes of U.S. and Iraqi forces in widespread battles over recent weeks... Senior Sadr aide Hassan Zargani said Sadr would seek rulings from Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq's most senior Shi'ite cleric, as well as senior Shi'ite clergy based in Iran, on whether to dissolve the Mehdi Army, and would obey their orders... "If they order the Mehdi Army to disband, Moqtada al-Sadr and the Sadr movement will obey the orders of the religious leaders," Zargani told Reuters from neighboring Iran, where U.S. officials say Sadr has spent most of the past year... That puts the spotlight on the reclusive Sistani, 77, a cleric revered by all of Iraq's Shi'ite factions and whose edicts carry the force of Islamic law... Read the rest at link below...
Iraq's Sadr to disband Mehdi Army if clerics order

* has this report... Iraq's largest and most dangerous militia, the Mahdi Army, will disband voluntarily if leading Shia scholars advise its leader to do so, officials said today, in a dramatic move that could quell much of the fighting in the country... Aides to Hojetoleslam Moqtada al-Sadr, who is under mounting political and military pressure, said that the militia chief would send delegations to Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, a moderate religious leader in Najaf, and to senior clerics in Qom in Iran to consult on whether he should stand down his 60,000-strong militia... The sudden announcement came as Lieutenant-General David Petraeus, Commander of US Forces in Iraq, starts two days of testimony to Congress on the success of America's troop “surge”... Read the full report at link below...
Iraq: Al-Mahdi army offers to lay down its arms

* has this take on the news out of Iraq today... Nine Iraqis were killed and 65 wounded in clashes lasting into Monday between U.S. backed Iraqi forces and Shiite militias in Baghdad's Sadr City that already killed 20 people Sunday, an Interior Ministry spokesman said... Read the rest at link below...

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