Mar 30 2008
Radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has called off his militia in southern Iraq and submitted his terms for his forces to stop fighting (terms for their surrender):
Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr has ordered his fighters off the streets of Basra and other cities in an effort to end clashes with security forces.
He said in a statement that his movement wanted the Iraqi people to stop the bloodshed and maintain the nation’s independence and stability.
The cleric also demanded that the government apply the general amnesty law, release detainees and stop what he called illegal raids.
Moqtada Sadr also told his followers to “work with Iraqi government offices to achieve security and to file charges against those who have committed crimes”.
Sadr must be a democrat at heart for the way he tries to spin a loss into a position from which he can dictate any terms. The fact is his forces were taken a beating and he had no broad support, so he capitulated and all we are discussing how to give him some face saving for the surrender. This is a huge success for Iraq, who has now defeated both al-Qaeda and al-Sadr, the two largest threats to their nation. Now onto the October elections.
Update: If any one is wondering why al-Sadr has decided to surrender Bill Roggio has some news that can explain his actions:
With the fifth day of fighting in Baghdad, Basrah and the South completed, the Mahdi Army has suffered major losses over the past 36 hours. The Mahdi Army has not faired well over the past five days of fighting, losing an estimated two percent of its combat power, using the best case estimate for the size of the militia.
A look at the open source press reports from the US and Iraqi military and the established newspapers indicates 145 Mahdi Army fighters were killed, 81 were wounded, 98 were captured, and 30 surrendered during the past 36 hours.
Since the fighting began on Tuesday 358 Mahdi Army fighters were killed, 531 were wounded, 343 were captured, and 30 surrendered. The US and Iraqi security forces have killed 125 Mahdi Army fighters in Baghdad alone, while Iraqi security forces have killed 140 Mahdi fighters in Basra.
While the size of the Mahdi Army is a constant source of debate, media accounts often put the Mahdi Army at anywhere from 40,000 to 60,000 fighters. With an estimated 1,000 Mahdi fighters killed, captured, wounded and surrendered, the Mahdi Army has taken an attrition rate of 1.5 to 2.5 percent over the past five days.
Maliki called the Shia terrorists “worse than al Qaeda” and vowed to remain in Basrah until the operation is completed. “Our determination is strong … those who break the law are punished, and those who draw their weapons in the face of the state are punished,” Maliki said on Iraqi state television.
Assuming the Mahdi force is exaggerated (which is not unreasonable) and whatever the number is it would be the premier forces in the fight and taking the hits (others would run and hide) I would say the decimation of Sadr’s forces is why he decided he needs to pull back before he is left with nothing. Iraq is going to be an interesting place to watch this year with both the Shiite Militia’s and al-Qaeda vanquished and defeated.