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Maliki Orders Halt To Attacks On Sadr Militia

From a relieved Associated Press:

Iraqi PM freezes raids targeting militia

By HAMID AHMED, Associated Press Writer Fri Apr 4

BAGHDAD – Iraq’s prime minister on Friday ordered a nationwide freeze on raids against suspected Shiite militants after the leader of the biggest militia complained that arrests were continuing even after he ordered fighters off the streets.

The announcement was a major shift from comments Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki made a day earlier. It came after Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr, whose Mahdi Army militia fought government troops last week, hinted at retaliation if arrests of his followers did not stop…

Friday, military and police officials in Basra said a number of Iraqi soldiers and police were reported to have mutinied or refused to engage al-Sadr’s militants during last week’s fighting.

The officials said the mutiny involved a full infantry battalion belonging to the 4th Iraqi Division numbering about 500 men and some 400 policemen. The deserters also turned over to the Mahdi militia some of their weapons and vehicles, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.

The desertions cast new doubt on the effectiveness of U.S.-trained Iraqi security forces…

Al-Maliki’s statement did not mention the Mahdi Army by name or give a timeframe for the freeze, saying only that the move is designed to give a "chance to those who repented and want to lay down their arms." …

Last week, Al-Maliki said that gunmen in Basra had until April 8 to surrender their heavy weapons, but Friday’s statement made no mention of that deadline…

This is not good news.

Except for the friends of terrorism and the enemies of representative government in Iraq.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, April 4th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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