August 18, 2004

Sadr Quits Najaf (Updated)

Moqtada al-Sadr has quit his Iraq insurgency (for the second time):

Aug. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Iraqi Shiite Muslim cleric Moqtada al- Sadr agreed that his militia should lay down their arms and quit Najaf's Imam Ali Mosque, acceding to demands from an Iraqi delegation to end an uprising in the city, Reuters reported.

A letter from the cleric's office was read out to delegates at the government-backed Iraqi National Conference in Baghdad, saying that al-Sadr had agreed to their demands to join the country's political process, Reuters said. A spokesman for al- Sadr, Sheikh Mahmoud al-Sudani confirmed the accord to Reuters.

This could be interpreted as a victory for both sides.

The U.S. and Iraqi governments were able to coax some kind of surrender out of him without having to storm the Imam Ali Mosque.

And Al-Sadr is alive, out of prison, and has a political career ahead of him if he wants it. (He should not expect a life-long career as an insurgent leader unless he expects a short life.)

Something about all this seems strangely familiar. Oh yeah. That's right. On June 16 of this year I wrote the following:

He's damn lucky he's breathing.

So it looks like he's decided to become a "mainstream" Religious Right figure now. He'll be Iraq's Pat Robertson instead of Iraq's Ayatollah Khomeini, unless he just can't resist the temptation to bring the gun back into politics, in which case he won't be just toast he'll be burnt toast. If he's smart he'll get a TV show where he can rail against Godless heathens, raise money for kooky causes, and call it good.

I guess that still stands.

I have an idea. Let's not make me post that again.


UPDATE: Okay, so that was a brief little "peace." He's fighting again. He cannot be reasoned with, bargained with, or trusted. Kill the bastard, and do it right now.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at August 18, 2004 6:55 PM
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