Under pressure from Iraqi government troops and the American military, Moktada
al-Sadr called on his followers to stop the bloodshed, unite with all Iraqis and focus their firepower on driving out the “occupation forces,” meaning the United States military and its foreign allies.
The statement, read at Friday prayers, appeared to be part of a carefully calibrated political strategy of reaching out to his “Iraqi brothers” while threatening any Iraqis who work with the occupying forces.
Now, given that it is Iraqi troops that are doing most of the fighting against his troops, this declaration is a clear strategic retreat by Sadr.
While the fighting between his troops and the coalition have caused much bloodshed both in Basra and in Sadr City, it appears more and more as though it will wind up a strategic victory for the good guys.
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