The office of Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada Sadr signaled today that he was leaning toward lifting his militia's cease-fire when it expires at the end of the month, a move that could bring a renewal of sectarian and anti-U.S. violence.
Sadr called on his Mahdi Army to lay down its arms last August and said the freeze in military activities would last six months. U.S. military officials credit the move with helping bring about a major decrease in violence in Iraq.
But in comments today, Sadr representatives said the movement felt that its gesture had not been reciprocated, either by the U.S. military or by the Iraqi government.
Nassar Rubaie, the chief of the political bloc in the Iraqi parliament loyal to Sadr, said the cleric's opponents had "exploited" the cease-fire to persecute and detain his loyalists.
I wouldn't blame Sadr one little bit. His stand-down is a big reason why the 'surge' is 'working', along with the U.S. paying off and supporting his Sunni enemies, and he knows damn good and well that an uptick in American deaths will make the papers in the U.S. and reduce what little chance McCain has to become Bush's third term avatar. Sadr doesn't want us to stay in Iraq for 100 years on permanent bases. He wants us out so he's got a better shot at runnin' the joint.