al-Sadr Truce

I watched the Democratic debate on Saturday night. There was a question about how things are going better in Iraq now, perhaps thanks to the surge, and what that meant to the candidates Iraq plans. There were some good answers, but I was surprised by an omission.

Moktada al-Sadr, the head of the Mahdi army, declared a unilateral six month cease-fire back in August (I found this article about it in a quick search). It seems to me that al-Sadr has been one of the major destabilizing forces in Iraq, the other being Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia. When al-Sadr deliberately stopped the attacks of the Mahdi army, naturally things got somewhat better.

The questions are: did al-Sadr declare the cease-fire because of the surge, and will he hold to it after the six months are up? I don’t know the answers; I don’t know of any evidence either way. But I’m surprised that the candidates didn’t mention it. Naturally when one of the major destabilizing forces stops fighting, things get better. It’s not obvious that the surge is making things better, although I hope that it is.

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