Just Another Guy with Opinions

Where is Al-Sadr?

Posted by shadmia on February 20, 2007


Where is Muqtada al-Sadr? The US thinks he’s in Iran but they are not sure anymore. His supporters say he is still in Iraq. The Iranians say he is not in Iran. Muqtada Al-Sadr has not appeared in public and has issued no statements. He is in hiding. He is fearful that he has become a target for the Americans to hunt down and capture or kill. Many of his top advisers have been captured or killed. The Mahdi Army has gone underground. Is this the beginning of the end of the sectarian violence in Iraq?

Mohammad Ali Hoseini, spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry denied reports that Al-Sadr is in Iran and accused the US of waging “psychological warfare“:
“Basically, the report is baseless and a kind of psychological warfare against Iran by the US to put more pressure on Iran,” Hoseini said in the first Iranian comment on US and Iraqi statements last week.

White House Spokesman Tony Snow backed away from statements by the Bush Administration that Al-Sadr was in Iran:
“It is unclear,” Snow told CNN’s “Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer.” “It’s pretty clear he’s not holding press conferences and making his whereabouts known.”The most important thing about Muqtada al-Sadr, or for that matter anybody involved in the Mehdi Army, they have to make some choices.”

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said he was not sure where Al-Sadr is, but he said members of al-Sadr’s Mehdi militia had been told to leave the country.
I think that there are many senior members of the Mehdi army (that) had received orders to leave Iraq to ease the security forces’ mission to implement their plan,” the Iraqi president said.

It is unclear whether the US would go after Al-Sadr. He has had a rocky relationship with the Americans. Since Sept. 2003 there have been hostilities between the two. In 2004 Al-Sadr battled the US army but was eventually cornered in Najaf. He survived the confrontation thanks to Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. A truce was brokered and Al-Sadr eventually went on to participate in the Iraqi national elections. His Mahdi army has been blamed for causing much of the sectarian violence rocking Iraq and he is still a “wanted man” by the US because of outstanding warrants for his arrest.

However it looks like Al-Sadr is taking no chances with the US. A prominent member of the Iraqi parliament thinks that Al-Sadr feels his life is in danger“:

Al-Bayena al-Jadida newspaper quoted MP Haydar al-Obaidy and a prominent Dawa Islamic Party leader as saying, ‘Al-Sadr has a feeling he might be chased by the Americans and that there is no problem for him leaving Iraq.’ ‘It’s a justifiable feeling as the US side had conducted similar operations before.’

Al-Obaidy believes the US want to overthrow al-Sadr and ‘if he doesn’t appear, they will tell the public al-Sadr escaped because he was afraid.’


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