No peace in Basra despite Sadr call
HOPES for a ceasefire in Iraq's developing Shia civil war were swiftly undermined yesterday when the Government said it would not stop attacking outlaw militia members, despite an offer from militia leaders to freeze the conflict.While Maliki calls his crackdown a success al-Sadr is not impressed and indicates he is ready to continue fighting.
Fierce fighting went on in areas of Basra loyal to Moqtada al-Sadr, despite the rebel cleric's call to his militiamen to put down their weapons.
Sadr's statement was hammered out in elaborate negotiations over the past few days with senior Iraqi officials, some of whom travelled to Iran to meet the Shia cleric, according to several officials involved in the discussions.
In Baghdad, mortars continued to slam into the Green Zone government compound.
British troops stationed at Basra airport were deployed outside their base at the weekend for the first time, backing up Iraqi forces on the edge of the city.
BAGHDAD -- Prime Minister Nouri Maliki described his crackdown on Shiite militias in southern Iraq as a success Tuesday, even as Britain said the situation had turned too volatile to pull more of its troops from the region as planned.So what will the US do? What will the Iranians do? The really odd thing is they are both betting on the same horse in this race, the ISCI and the Badr brigade. The Bush administration doesn't like al-Sadr because he is anti American occupation and if he should gain legitimate power in October he will demand the occupation end. The Iranians don't like al-Sadr because he is above all an Iraqi nationalist and Iran's interests are not a priority with him.
Representatives of Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada Sadr, who on Sunday ordered his Mahdi Army militia to stop fighting, accused Iraqi forces of violating the cease-fire with new raids Tuesday in Basra and Hillah and warned that such actions could ignite further bloodshed. Iraqi security forces denied the allegations, the latest indication of the ongoing animosity between Sadr and the Iraqi government and the tenuous state of the truce.