This is good news. I believe that al-Sadyr’s recent suspension of militia activity against coalition forces in Iraq, is a direct dividend of the US military surge currently in force in and around the Iraqi capital of Baghdad. That al-Sadyr openly admits that he “needs the six month period to regroup his forces, shows the marginalization of his mighty “Mahdi army”.
Nothing is concrete at this point, but there are hopeful signs that al-Sadyr’s thugs continue to NOT ENJOY wide spread support from the majority of Iraqis, though he still reamins a force to be reckoned with. Only time will tell just how successful the US surge is working, but if this sentiment is widespread as I think it is al-Sadyr’s influence doesn’t stand a chance:
“When you came and liberated this country,” he continued, “Iraq had 25 million Saddams. America is turning us back into human beings. That soccer field is not for a specific person. It is for everybody. We appreciate that. We believe that if Americans have something that is ours, they will return it to us. If the Iraqi government has something that is ours, we forget it.”
Our host for the evening nodded in agreement.
“We support you,” the man continued. “You support our back, we support your back. But you must understand: If you pull back, we will pull back. I will have no choice but to pull back if I can’t depend on you. It will be much harder for us to stand together. But as long as you stand firmly behind us we will support you against Moqtada al Sadr and the other bastards in the area.”
“Are they Sunnis?” I said to Lieutenant Pitts. Moqtada al Sadr leads the radical Shia Mahdi Army militia.
“No,” he said. “They are Shias. But they don’t like any of the idiot groups, regardless of sect. They want peace.”
I truly hope so, and with al-Sadyr’s Mahdi army enjoying the same level of hate and revulsion by Iraqis across the country, perhaps there is some light and the end of the tunnel afterall. *L* KGS