Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Militia split over Sadr City cease-fire

BAGHDAD — An angry Shiite militia commander complained Wednesday that "we were duped" into accepting a cease-fire in Sadr City — remarks that point to a potentially damaging rift within the movement of radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

The May 11 truce ended seven weeks of fierce fighting in Baghdad between U.S. and Iraqi forces and al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia, which held nearly complete control of the Sadr City district.

Iraqi soldiers now have moved into most parts of Sadr City with little resistance. But the objections raised by the commander highlight apparent dissent by some Mahdi Army leaders.

A split among Sadr's followers — between those favoring a more militant path and others seeking compromise with Iraq's government — could threaten the relative calm in Baghdad and re-ignite Shiite-on-Shiite violence across Iraq's oil-rich south.

The commander, speaking to tribal sheiks and lawmakers loyal to Sadr, said that "we were duped and deceived" by the truce. "They are arresting many of us now."

The group had gathered in Sadr's main Baghdad office to discuss how to respond to what they consider cease-fire "violations" by Iraqi troops, such as arrests and house searches.

Some in the audience, however, took issue with the views of the commander, whose name was not made public for security reasons.

"You can be the winner without a military victory," said Falah Hassan Shanshal, a prominent Sadrist and one of two lawmakers who attended the meeting in Sadr City, home to about 2.5-million Shiites.

"We had to bow before the storm because it was uprooting everything and everyone standing in its path," he said.

Shanshal was referring to the punishing attacks by U.S. and Iraqi forces that killed and wounded hundreds and left parts of Sadr City in ruins.

Sadr, who has been in Iran for at least a year, supported the Sadr City cease-fire. But signs of opposition have been growing within the militia ranks.

Last week, two Mahdi Army commanders said militiamen were divided over whether the cease-fire was in their interest.

Militia split over Sadr City cease-fire 05/28/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 3:16pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Lightning edges Red Wings on road

    Lightning Strikes

    DETROIT — The digs were different, the Lightning seeing the masterfully-done new Little Caesar's Arena for the first time.

    Lightning center/Red Wings’ killer Tyler Johnson gets past defenseman Trevor Daley on his way to the first goal of the game.
  2. Armwood pulls away to defeat Plant 27-7, remain undefeated

    Footballpreps

    SEFFNER — First-year Armwood coach Evan Davis pulled out all the stops to get his team psyched for Monday's annual grudge match against Plant.

    Armwood defensive end Malcolm Lamar (97) gets fired up before the start of the game between Plant High School Panthers and the Armwood High School Hawks in Suffer, Fla. on Monday, Oct. 16, 2017.
  3. Clearwater police: Car thief dead after owner fires gun

    Crime

    CLEARWATER — One man is dead after the owner of a car fired shots at the thieves who were stealing it Monday night, police said.

  4. Iraqi forces sweep into Kirkuk, checking Kurdish independence drive

    World

    KIRKUK, Iraq — After weeks of threats and posturing, the Iraqi government began a military assault Monday to curb the independence drive by the nation's Kurdish minority, wresting oil fields and a contested city from separatists pushing to break away from Iraq.

    Iraqi security forces patrol Monday in Tuz Khormato, about 45 miles south of Kirkuk, a disputed city that the government seized in response to last month’s Kurdish vote for independence.
  5. Trump and McConnell strive for unity amid rising tensions

    National

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump and Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, tried to convey a sense of harmony Monday after months of private feuding that threatened to undermine their party's legislative push in the coming weeks to enact a sweeping tax cut.

    President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell field questions Monday in the Rose Garden of the White House. “We have been friends for a long time,” Trump said.