Saturday, March 29, 2008

Odd Events in Iraq

One of the many problems with taking sides in the Iraqi power struggles is sorting out the loyalties of various groups of Iraqi people. Take this incident:

It appears that Prime Minister Nouri Maliki's ultimatum to Shiite Muslim militiamen to surrender to the Iraqi government might not be working precisely as he had intended.

When nobody had turned up by Friday, Maliki gave members of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada Sadr's Mahdi Army militia 10 more days to turn in their weapons and renounce violence.

Instead, about 40 members of the Shiite-dominated Iraqi army and National Police offered to surrender their AK-47s and other weapons this morning to Sadr's representatives in the cleric's east Baghdad stronghold of Sadr City.

One of the police officers told journalists assembled at Sadr's office that he was heeding a call by an Iraqi cleric based in Iran, Ayatollah Fadhil Maliki, to stop fighting fellow Muslims.

"We came here to tell our brothers, the followers of Sadr, that we will not be against you," said the officer, who was dressed in civilian clothes and had his face covered with a scarf and dark sunglasses.

Sadr's representatives refused to take the men's weapons, saying they belong to the government. Instead, the representatives offered the men olive branches and copies of the Koran.

(my bolds)

Part of the army and police are more loyal to Moqtada al-Sadr than they are to Nouri al-Maliki. This is a problem that American soldiers are stuck in the middle of, thanks to the idiocy of our shrub.

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