Maliki To Mahdi Army: Disarm Or Face American Onslaught
BAGHDAD (AP) - Iraq's prime minister has told Mahdi Army militiamen they must surrender their arms or face an all-out assault by U.S.-backed Iraqi forces, senior Iraqi officials said Wednesday, revealing a pledge Washington wanted to hear as American and Iraqi troops prepared a fresh operation to end the bloody sectarian war gripping Baghdad.
The blunt message was particularly significant given that Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi leader, previously had blocked several U.S. attempts to crack down on the military wing of radical anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, now one of the most powerful players in Iraq.
"Prime Minister al-Maliki has told everyone that there will be no escape from attack. The government has told the Sadrists (the political movement that supports the Mahdi Army), if we want to build a state we have no other choice but to attack armed groups," a senior Shiite legislator and close al-Maliki adviser said.
While the militia has been noticeably less active since the Dec. 30 hanging of Saddam Hussein, there was no assurance the threatened offensive would intimidate the fighters who have only grown stronger in numbers, arms and sophistication since they battled U.S. forces to a standstill in the Shiite holy city of Najaf and in Baghdad's Sadr City in 2004.
I have to wonder at the way Maliki chose to word this warning. Because it is a translation, we don't really know quite what he said, but it seems to me there is a bit of bullshit going on here.
Is this an "American onslaught"? Or, is it an onslaught of "American-backed" Iraqi troops?
Either way, it seems to me the message is, "This is America's idea, not mine."
What do you guys think?
Also, note that last paragraph. Let us be honest, the Mahdi army did not fight American troops to a standstill. We fucking backed down because they were holed up in a Mosque, and we're too politically correct to hit them in their place of "worship."
That was one of the biggest mistakes of the war.