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January 22, 2007

Maliki 'Turn Around' Good Sign For Iraq - Maybe

A few days ago we posted on an AP report on what we said just might be a 'for real' offensive against Moqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army when we learned U.S. and Iraqi forces had arrested Sheik Abdul-Hadi al-Darraji, Muqtada al-Sadr's media director in Baghdad. On Sunday we learned from the AP that Iraq's prime minister has now done more than allowed an offensive against the Mahdi Army and has supposedly dropped his protection of al-Sadr's Shiite militia after "U.S. intelligence convinced him the group was infiltrated by death squads."

As promising as these events are, as suggested by Powerline - it's inconceivable that Maliki was ignorant of either the Mahdis' role in sectarian violence or the fact that Iraq's Sunni neighbors were unhappy with his protection of that Shia group, and it's safe to assume that the very real threat that the U.S. might abandon its support for his government clarified Maliki's thinking.

However, even if Maliki has become suddenly 'enlightened' to the existence of al-Sadr's death squads or has come to 'clarity' that he should be concerned over the U.S. abandoning its support of his government, the real 'tale of the tape' is going to be whether Maliki is also going to should down command and control centers for the Mahdi Army militia - operating in Iraqi Hospitals and elsewhere, and whether or not his previous policy of protecting al-Sadr's Shiite militia has in fact been dropped. In the culture of the ME, being told what we want to hear is more often al-taqiyya then truth.

Posted by Richard at January 22, 2007 11:32 AM

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