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Politics And Military

* Resurfacing Shock and Awe, why is this different?  Ali Behrooz

* Mr President, Barack Obama,  Ali Behrooz

* Iran’s Conservatives Are Deceiving Themselves  Tariq Alhomayed

* Just When it Ends in Basra, it Begins in Mosul!  Huda al Husseini

* Putin promises Iran continuity in relations: RIA  News Report

* New U.S. carrier in Gulf a 'reminder' to Iran: Gates  News Report

* Iran displays 1800 km-range missile  News Report

* U.S., Iraqi Forces Continue to Battle in Sadr City  News Report

* Iran Top Threat To Iraq, U.S. Says  News Report

* Sadr not U.S. enemy if he sticks to politics: Gates  News Report

* British fear US commander is beating the drum for Iran strikes  News Report

* Pakistan Mulls Talking with Terrorists  News Report

* Shia leader tries to contain militia  News Report

* Bush to maintain Iraq troop numbers  News Report

* McCain doesn't rule out preemptive war  News Report

* Winds of Change  Pablo Ouziel

* Obama Adviser Calls for Troops To Stay in Iraq Through 2010  News Report

* Iran helped end Iraq fighting: Iraq party adviser  News Report

* McCain's "war on terror" remix  News Report

* Saudi Arabia's justice minister departs for Tehran  News Report

* Deployment of Foreign Troops an Insult to Regional States  News Report

* Gun-shy America is losing the best chance to stop Iran  News Report

* Khatami rallies Iran reformists  News Report

* Iran says will soon hold talks with U.S. on Iraq  News Report

* Iran says has built new long-range missile  News Report

* U.S. military in Iraq says to release 9 Iranians  News Report

* U.S. sees decline in Iran-linked bombs found in Iraq  News Report

* Russia and China fall in line on Iran  News Report

* Iran letter sparks new fight between Clinton, Obama  News Report

* Bombing Iran will ensure world peace  News Report

* King Abdullah flies in to lecture us on terrorism  Robert Fisk

* Ahmadinejad to Visit S. Arabia mid Nov.  News Report

* Iranian Guard 'ready to defend revolution'  News Report

* Iran to give crushing response to possible attacks: minister  News Report

* Bush: Missile shield is meant to deter Iran  News Report

* Iran Accuses US of Manufacturing Genetic Weapons  News Report

* Blair: Terror threat like fascism  Tony Blair

* US arrogant attitudes pave way for 'World War III': Cleric  News Report

* Russia’s Putin hunts diplomatic solution in Iran  News Report

* Clinton says she would negotiate with Iran if elected president  News Report

* Britain 'on board' for US strikes on Iran  News Report

* Iran, sanctions and the rumours of war  News Report

* No Iran strike plans, says Blair  Tony Blair

* Gates: Diplomatic efforts to counter Iranian nuclear program are working  News Report

* McCain Jokes About Bombing Iran  Liz Sidoti

* Tehran expects update on cases of two Iranians murdered in France: MP  News Report

* Iran is not a safe haven for terrorists  News Report

* Iran at threat?  News Report

* Iran trying to recruit Israeli spies  News Report

* Iran: Signals on 5 Diplomats  News Report


Shia leader tries to contain militia
[ News Report]  [2008-04-10 18:33:53]
[Source: FT - 10/04/08]


By Steve Negus, Iraq correspondent, and Demetri Sevastopulo in Washington

Violence in Baghdad claimed the lives of more than 20 people on Wednesday as fighting between Iraqi troops and Shia militias threatened to undermine efforts by Moqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shia cleric, to contain the conflict.

The clashes occurred in Sadr city, a Baghdad slum, as the capital was placed under a vehicle curfew to mark the fifth anniversary of the fall of the regime of Saddam Hussein.

Iraqi leaders are trying to contain the fallout from a failed government offensive against militias in Basra in which members of the Madhi army, a militia loyal to Mr Sadr, outfought Iraqi forces.

General David Petraeus, the US commander in Iraq, this week told the US Congress that the Basra offensive, which sparked the recent violence in Baghdad, was poorly planned. He said Nouri al-Maliki, Iraq’s prime minister, had ignored his military advice.

George W. Bush, US president, is on Thursday expected to endorse the recommendation by Gen Petraeus this week that the Pentagon should pause troop reductions this summer after the departure of the five combat brigades that made up the US military “surge”.

Ike Skelton, the Democratic chairman of the armed services committee, on Wednesday told Gen Petraeus at another congressional hearing that the conflict in Iraq was taking resources away from Afghanistan and other potential conflicts.

“When looking at the needs in Afghanistan, the effort in Iraq, however important, is putting at risk our ability to decisively defeat those most likely to attack us,” said Mr Skelton. “Iraq is also ­preventing us from effectively preparing for the next conflict.”

Meanwhile, the US military said on Wednesday that an unmanned drone had fired a Hellfire missile at gunmen attacking Iraqi forces and troops of the US-led coalition in the region of Sadr City, killing two.

Such incidents have been frequent in the week since Mr Maliki called off his “Charge of the Knights” offensive in Basra that was aimed at disarming “lawless” gunmen.

Mr Sadr initially co-operated with the government by calling his followers off the streets, but the aftermath appears to have placed him in an awkward position.

He is caught between a militant core of his movement that appears anxious to respond to what it considers government provocations and a general public which seems weary of the proliferation of armed groups.

He seems determined to transform his militia from a fairly loose coalition into a more disciplined political organisation, but appearing too conciliatory would risk losing his already strained authority over his more radical followers.

Officials in Baghdad say Mr Sadr might be outside Iraq, probably in Iran, which would make him cautious about judging trends within his movement and within Iraqi internal politics.

Whatever the cause, Mr Sadr’s statements since the end of the offensive have contained notes of both militancy and pliancy.

Mr Maliki, on the other hand, has been surprisingly confident for a leader who presided over a military operation widely viewed as a fiasco, and he has kept up the political pressure on Mr Sadr even as he called off military operations.

In a recent interview, Mr Maliki suggested that the Sadrists would be banned from taking part in elections unless the Mahdi Army was disbanded.

Additional reporting by agencies





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