Govt. has to handle Sadr statement with kid gloves – analysts
4/10/2011 10:15 PM
BAGHDAD / Aswat al-Iraq: Political analysts agreed that the Iraqi government has to deal cautiously with the statement issued by Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr who threatened to end the freeze on his armed wing Mahdi Army if U.S.
forces did not pull out of Iraq as scheduled.
A spokesman for Sadr, Salah al-Obaidi, in a statement by the Sadrist Movement leader he read out in a massive rally of Sadr supporters who gathered to demand the exit of U.S.
forces from Iraq on Saturday, had said that if the U.S.
troops did not depart Iraq, the Mahdi Army will return to escalate military as well as peaceful resistance.
Analyst Rebin Rassoul termed Sadr’s move as a “political outbidding” in a bid to bring Nouri al-Maliki and his government in hot water
“It’s high time the status of forces agreement is implemented.
forces will go out of Iraq in accordance with the agreement, not upon a request from the Iraqi side, but rather because the U.S.
administration wants that,” Rassoul told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.
combat troops have withdrawn from Iraq by the end of August 2009 in light of the SOFA deal signed between Baghdad and Washington in late 2008, provided that the remaining force, 50,000 troops, would pull out of Iraq at the end of this year.
“This political outbidding is tickling the popular sentiments on the street, now that the 100-day deadline is beginning to expire.
Perhaps Sadr, a patriotic who leads a patriotic movement that has been resisting the occupation since the beginning, is trying to win the Iraq’s street’s confidence on the long run,” Rassoul added.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had set on February 28, 2011, a deadline of 100 days for ministries and service departments to offer better services for Iraqi citizens, to be followed by a comprehensive assessment of the ministries’ work.
Maliki’s move followed mass demonstrations in most Iraqi cities protesting deteriorating services, corruption in government departments and unemployment.
Sadr had announced in 2007 freezing all activities of the military wing of his movement, Jaysh al-Mahdi, or the Mahdi Army, for a period of six months.
He later announced in February 2008 that the freeze would be extended for six months more.
Another political analyst, Ibrahim al-Samaydaie, said the Sadrist Movement and Sayyid Muqtada al-Sadr were expected to return to the political arena away from any military wings.
“The threat to use violence and return to resistance are very serious.
Accordingly, I call on the Sadrist Movement to reverse its position for I expect an extension of the SOFA deal between the Iraq and the U.S.
side,” Samaydaie said.
He pointed out that Iraq needs another agreement providing clearly for its protection as long as Iraq’s military preparedness is incomplete.
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