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The US has delivered a message to Moqtada al-Sadr in the ongoing struggle to contain the violence in Baghdad and end the sectarian militias. A raid by US and Iraqi Army forces killed a high-ranking aide to Sadr who had supplied IEDs used in attacks against Iraqi forces:
A top deputy of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr was killed Wednesday during a raid by U.S. and Iraqi troops in the southern holy city of Najaf, sparking protests from Sadr's followers and complicating an already tense relationship with the powerful anti-American leader.
Hurling rocks and shouting expletives, thousands of angry Sadr loyalists marched through the streets of Najaf after Sahib al-Amiri was shot and killed by a U.S. soldier during an early morning raid. "Agents and stooges!" protesters shouted at Iraqi soldiers and local authorities.
U.S. military officials declined to confirm that Amiri was a Sadr aide, saying only that he had provided explosives for use against Iraqi and U.S. forces. Sadr officials said Amiri was an aide and a lawyer who ran an educational organization that helped orphans and impoverished children. They said he had no connections to illegal activity.
In a statement, the U.S. military said Iraqi and U.S. forces were trying to detain Amiri and shot him only when he pointed an assault rifle at an Iraqi soldier.
Up to now, the US has deferred to Nouri al-Maliki on the question of Sadr, and predictably Sadr has taken the opportunity to grow more aggressive. However, after walking out of the governing coalition recently, Sadr has reduced the deterrent to act against his militias -- and the US took advantage of that opportunity in kind.
The message? The US has tired of Sadr and his death squads, and we have apparently decided not to defer to Maliki on that issue any longer. Maliki no longer enjoys much confidence with the US at any rate, and earlier this month was the potential victim of a government reorganization that got scotched at the last minute by Ali al-Sistani. That failure seems to have convinced American forces to switch to Plan B in order to marginalize Sadr.
The intent, according to the American military spokesman, was to capture Amiri, not to kill him. Even the Amiri family said that the soldiers told them they wanted him for questioning when they conducted the raid. Amiri tried to run, however, and once on the roof of his house found himself unable to jump to the next house. They shot him when he pointed a weapon at the forces that followed him onto the roof, at least according to the military; his family doesn't have an alternate version but says all the gunshots came from the US/Iraqi forces.
What could the Iraqis and the US have wanted to ask Amiri? Besides his efforts at bomb-building, what else did he know about Sadr that made him interesting enough to conduct a joint operation in the newly-transferred province of Najaf? Whatever the answers, Sadr knows that the US might be knocking on more doors in the future, perhaps even his.Sphere It View blog reactions
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» al Sadr Aide Killed from Hang Right Politics
Captain Ed has an interesting post about the killing of al Sadr aide Sahib al-Amiri. Up to now, the US has deferred to Nouri al-Maliki on the question of Sadr, and predictably Sadr has taken the opportunity to grow more aggressive. However, after walk... [Read More]
Tracked on December 28, 2006 6:49 AM
» http://www.smalltownveteran.net/bills_bites/2006/12/top_alsadr_aide.html from Bill's Bites
Close Adviser to Sadr Dies in U.S.-Iraqi Raid BAGHDAD, Dec. 27 -- A top deputy of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr was killed Wednesday during a raid by U.S. and Iraqi troops in the southern holy city of Najaf, sparking protests [Read More]
Tracked on December 28, 2006 11:41 AM
Tracked on December 28, 2006 2:55 PM
» Knock, Knock, is anyone home? from Wake up America
The old expression about too many cooks in the kitchen fits very well here. There are too many bosses, too many parties that Maliki needs to keep happy and too many militias threatening the families of those that oppose their views. [Read More]
Tracked on December 28, 2006 3:01 PM
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