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In another indication that the Iraqi government may have less problems with the surge than the New York Times predicts, Nouri al-Maliki has told the Shi'ite militias to disarm now or deal with the Americans by themselves. This includes Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army despite the influence the radical cleric has on the current government:
Iraq's prime minister has told Shiite militiamen to surrender their weapons or face an all-out assault, part of a commitment U.S. President George W. Bush outlined to bring violence under control with a more aggressive Iraqi Army and 21,500 additional American troops.
Senior Iraqi officials said Wednesday that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, under pressure from the U.S., has agreed to crack down on the fighters even though they are loyal to his most powerful political ally, the radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. Previously, al-Maliki had resisted the move.
The Iraqis still want to have overall command of the effort in Baghdad, but they have named a commander with whom the Americans feel comfortable. General Aboud Gambar spent time involuntarily with the American Army in the Gulf War, as a prisoner of war, and the Shi'ite general will report directly to Maliki. He will have operational control over the Iraqi army and the police, removing the latter from the control of the Sadr-influence Ministry of the Interior.
Gambar has already selected the units he will use for the Baghdad: Kurds. The Iraqi Army consists of 80% Shi'ite troops, and the US and Iraq worry that they will hesitate to carry out orders against members of their own sect. Instead, the Kurds will conduct the mission in Baghdad, which again demonstrates a new level of commitment from the Maliki government. The Shi'ites of Baghdad will certainly get that message when they see the Kurds marching through their neighborhoods.
Even with Maliki's acquiescence, it will not be easy to dislodge the militias in Baghdad. The new tactics proposed by Bush and used before by Petraeus envisions a long-term commitment to the "hold" part of clear-and-hold, which may make the difference now. If the strategy has not changed much, the supporting tactics have, perhaps enough to give the Iraqi government enough breathing room to stabilize the rest of the nation.
UPDATE: Michelle Malkin has her first post from her embed mission in Baghdad.Sphere It View blog reactions
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» Do the Iraqi want the Extra Troops? from Hundie Jo dot com
Do they think it will help? Depends on who you ask: Gambar has already selected the units he will use for the Baghdad: Kurds. The Iraqi Army consists of 80% Shi'ite troops, and the US and Iraq worry that they will hesitate to carry out orders again... [Read More]
Tracked on January 11, 2007 9:38 AM
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I’m probably the last kid to write something on the president’s speech last night - had other stuff going on - so I’m going to assume you guys have seen most of the “big fish” reactions. My own? I thought it was a good sp... [Read More]
Tracked on January 11, 2007 12:17 PM
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