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Re: Sadr statement

Released on 2012-08-05 16:00 GMT

Email-ID 87759
Date 2011-07-11 16:38:04
Sadrite MPs and certainly other MPs from the Sunnis and Shia parties, Badr
Org who have 19 MPs, I believe.


From: "Yerevan Saeed"
To: "Analyst List"
Sent: Monday, July 11, 2011 5:32:19 PM
Subject: Re: Sadr statement

true, but PM is in charge when the post is vacant.


From: "Reva Bhalla"
To: "Analyst List"
Sent: Monday, July 11, 2011 5:30:42 PM
Subject: Re: Sadr statement

but a defense minister hasn't been appointed yet, right? could this be a
bilateral agreement with the PM? who are they going to avoid the
parliament vote?


From: "Yerevan Saeed"
To: "Analyst List"
Sent: Monday, July 11, 2011 9:29:06 AM
Subject: Re: Sadr statement

I am in the processing of getting some insight about the whole pic. I
believe we will seen extension of the US troops in Iraq, but a limited
number though.
The deal could be between Iraqi defense minister and the Pentagon and such
deals dont require to go through parliament voting.


From: "Michael Wilson"
To: "Analyst List"
Sent: Monday, July 11, 2011 5:19:59 PM
Subject: Re: Sadr statement

In April (below) he threatened to re-activate Mahdi army so this (not
reactivating Mahdi army, just keeping PDB) would be new. I also pasted the
article that spoke about splits and low morale in Mahdi army below
(thought it had been Yerevan isight but was an article)

Iraqi cleric issues new warning against U.S. troops
Sat Apr 9, 2011 -

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq's fiery anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr will
"escalate military resistance" and unleash his Mehdi Army militia if U.S.
troops fail to leave Iraq, the cleric was quoted as saying on Saturday.

On the 8th anniversary of the day U.S. forces toppled Saddam Hussein's
statue in Baghdad, spokesman Salah al-Ubaidi read a speech from the
influential Shi'ite cleric to tens of thousands of followers.

Some carried signs reading "Occupiers Out" and "No to America." Others
burned U.S., Israeli and British flags.

"We say to the Black House (White House), 'we are all time bombs and the
detonators are at the hands of Moqtada al-Sadr.' American troops must
definitely leave our lands," senior Sadr aide Hazem al-Araji told the Sadr

To a wildly cheering crowd in Baghdad's Mustansiriya Square, Ubaidi,
reading Sadr's speech, said an extension of the U.S. "occupation" would
have two consequences.

"First, the escalation of military resistance work and the withdrawal of
the order freezing the Mehdi Army, in a new statement issued later.
Second, escalation of peaceful and public resistance through sit-ins and
protests, to say that the people want the exit of the occupation," he

Sadr is currently in Iran, a source close to the cleric said.

The warning came after U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, on a visit to
Iraq, pressed the Iraqi government for a decision on whether it wanted
U.S. troops to extend their stay to help fend off a still-lethal


Some 47,000 remaining forces are scheduled to leave by year's end under a
security agreement between the two countries.

Sadr's Mehdi Army militia fought U.S. troops during the height of Iraq's
sectarian bloodshed in 2006-07, when tens of thousands of Iraqis were
killed. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki sent government troops to crush the
militia in 2008.

U.S. officials and Sunni Arab leaders accused the Mehdi Army of being
behind many of the sectarian killings in Iraq after the 2003 U.S. invasion
that deposed Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein.

Sadr disavowed violence against fellow Iraqis and in 2008 ordered his
militia to become a humanitarian group. The black-clad fighters have
maintained a relatively low profile since but U.S. officials still regard
them with suspicion.

Sadr's political movement won strong support in elections last year and
overcame animosity toward Maliki to join his coalition government, formed
in December after nine months of tense negotiations between Shi'ite, Sunni
and Kurdish factions.

Sadr, who fled Iraq in 2006 or 2007 after an arrest warrant was issued for
him, has lived and studied in neighboring Iran in recent years. He
returned in early January but did not stay long before heading back to

Iraq's Mehdi Army faces splits, wary of return to war
Thu Jun 16, 2011 10:44am EDT
(Reuters) - Iraq's anti-U.S. cleric Moqtada al-Sadr is reviving fears of
sectarian violence with a warning he will unleash his Shi'ite Mehdi Army
militia again if U.S. forces stay in the country beyond a year-end

But for Mehdi Army veterans like Ahmed, who once battled U.S. troops on
Baghdad's streets, the fighting days are over as Sadr's militia enters
mainstream politics, struggles with splinter groups, and ex-combatants
resist a return to war.

"All I need to do is stay away from any trouble for another three years,"
said Ahmed, who wants to put his guerrilla days behind him to focus on
college exams and becoming a lawyer. He asked that his surname not be used
because of his militant past.

At the height of Iraq's 2006-2007 sectarian slaughter, the Mehdi Army was
seen by Washington as one of the biggest threats to Iraqi security with
its young fighters toting rocket launchers and battling U.S. and Iraqi
troops in the streets.

Sadr disarmed his militia after Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's
troops -- backed by American forces -- defeated them in Baghdad and
southern cities in 2008. His movement has since become a potent force in
mainstream politics.

Sadr's anti-U.S. rhetoric still inspires followers, and U.S. and Iraqi
security officials say Mehdi Army splinter groups still pose a security
risk, emerging in the form of Shi'ite militia that Washington says are
backed by Iran.

But former fighters and security officials say many Mehdi Army veterans
have too much to lose to pick up the gun again.


Iraq's violence has ebbed eight years after the U.S.-led invasion to oust
Saddam Hussein, but Sunni insurgents and Shi'ite militias still carry out
daily attacks.

The United States still has 47,000 troops in Iraq, but their mandate
expires at the end of this year and Iraq's leaders are debating the
divisive question of whether to ask some to stay.

Sadr threatened in April to revive his Mehdi Army if the U.S. troops do
not all leave Iraq by December 31. He has since brought thousands of
Shi'ite supporters onto the streets of Baghdad in a show of strength.

Once a rabble-rousing militant agitator, Sadr is now a powerful member of
Maliki's cross-sectarian coalition. His group controls 39 seats in the
325-member parliament, an important bloc in a body divided among Sunni,
Shi'ite and Kurdish groups.

The scion of a family of revered Shi'ite clerics, he has taken on a more
statesman-like approach even if he has not toned down his anti-U.S.
rhetoric. Last year he acted as the kingmaker whose support allowed Maliki
to form a fragile, cross-sectarian coalition government.

That mainstream political clout and the benefits his supporters enjoy mean
many Mehdi Army veterans may be much less keen to return to arms if Sadr
makes that call, Mehdi leaders and Iraqi security officials say.

"Despite his huge number of supporters, if Moqtada decided to fight now,
only a few would fight," said Abu Sadiq, a senior Mehdi Army leader in
Sadr City, the vast, poor Shi'ite district of east Baghdad named for
Moqtada's slain cleric father.

"The only ones who will fight are those who have not become contractors,
or parliament members or gained salaries, cars, homes or government
posts," he said.


U.S. military commanders and Sunni Arab leaders blamed the Shi'ite Mehdi
Army for much of the bloodshed when thousands of Iraqis were killed during
sectarian slaughter in 2006-2007.

Sadr's threats have fueled Sunni Arab worries of a return to religious

U.S. and Iraqi officials say a small Mehdi Army faction, the Promised Day
Brigade, is still behind attacks on U.S. forces even after Sadr stood down
the majority of his fighters.

"He admitted to attacking us and continuing these attacks, and the
Promised Day Brigade, that is a Sadrist organization and reports to him,
have been making attack claims all along," said U.S. Army Major Gen.
Jeffrey Buchanan, a military spokesman.

Sadr spent much of the most violent period in Iran. His return to Iraq
this year may have been prompted in part by a need to clean house as
rivals within the Sadrist movement were challenging his authority.

Such splits undermine the prospect of a Mehdi Army revival, former
fighters say.

"The danger that Moqtada faces is from his leaders who are competing with
each other for posts, wealth and positions," Abu Moqtada, a former Mehdi
fighter, said.

The biggest splinter group, Asaib al-Haq, is already challenging Sadr,
eroding his militia from within by infiltrating the top echelons of his
organization, Sadrist sources say.

Asaib, or the Leagues of Righteousness, is headed by Qais al-Khazili, who
was a former Sadr spokesman before he broke away. Asaib has its own
television station and websites, and Washington says it is funded by Iran.

"We have some leaders inside Sadr's offices and among Mehdi Army troops
who follow Sadr publicly but they receive orders from Asaib," said one
Sadrist lawmaker who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of
the issue.

One senior Iraqi security official, who declined to be named, said Asaib
had attracted some skilled Mehdi Army fighters but others were less

"They are not as strong as before, we know most of them are not willing to
fight," he said.

But Sadr can still inspire loyal and unquestioning support from young,
impoverished men within Sadr City, where some believe he is a holy Imam or

"For me, Moqtada is a saint," said Mehdi fighter, Abu Karar. "I am ready
to die for him."

On 7/11/11 9:07 AM, Emre Dogru wrote:

i was searching our website before repping this and found out that Sadr
did this before in 2007. so, it seems like a tactical move.
but this doesn't disprove reva's thoughts.

Iraq: Al-Sadr Freezes Mehdi Army Activity

August 29, 2007 | 1402 GMT



Radical Iraqi Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr on Aug. 29 ordered his Mehdi
Army to suspend its activities for six months. Sheikh Hazem al-Araji
said on Iraqi state television that the purpose of the move is to
a**rehabilitatea** the organization. Another official from the
al-Sadrite bloc, Ahmed al-Shaibani, said the suspension means the
militia will not launch attacks against U.S. and coalition forces.


From: "Michael Wilson"
To: "Reva Bhalla" , "Analyst List"

Sent: Monday, July 11, 2011 4:56:27 PM
Subject: Re: Sadr statement

But note he did say they Promised Day Brigade would keep fighting. In
fact I think he has said this similar line before, where Promisde dAy
brigade would stay activiated but Mahdi army would not.

Remember Yerevan's insight about Sadrites not wanting to be a part of it
anymore...part of me wonders if he can still activate that many people
(without a major problem happening first to incite them)

On 7/11/11 8:53 AM, Reva Bhalla wrote:

Sadr's statement on how he will not reactivate the Mahdi militia, said
during Panetta's visit to Iraq, could be Iran's way of trying to
reopen a dialogue with the US. Would make sense if they are making
some progress with the Saudis. Let's keep an eye out for any signs. am
digging into this

Michael Wilson
Director of Watch Officer Group, STRATFOR
Office: (512) 744 4300 ex. 4112

Emre Dogru
Cell: +90.532.465.7514
Fixed: +1.512.279.9468

Michael Wilson
Director of Watch Officer Group, STRATFOR
Office: (512) 744 4300 ex. 4112

Yerevan Saeed
Phone: 009647701574587

Yerevan Saeed
Phone: 009647701574587

Yerevan Saeed
Phone: 009647701574587