Thursday, August 25, 2005

Al-Sadr calls for... peace?

In a shocking turn of events, Muqtada al-Sadr asked that Iraqis stop fighting each other, but concentrate on getting through this 'difficult period' together.
"I call upon all the believers to save the blood of the Muslims and to return to their homes," al-Sadr told reporters in his home in the holy Shiite city of Najaf.
He's starting to sound like a seasoned politician...
"I will not forget this attack on the office ... but Iraq is passing through a critical and difficult period that requires unity," al-Sadr said.
...adding in a little swipe at the opposition:
He also called on Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, leader of the rival Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, to condemn "what his followers have done."
Finally, he did the old "sandwich" trick: Put two nice comments around a bad one, and it softens its effect.
"I urge the believers not to attack innocent civilians and not to fall for American plots that aim to divide us. We are passing through a critical period and a political process," he said, referring to stalled talks over the country's new constitution.
All in all, an impressive performance. Does he mean it? Hard to say. If not, then the fighting will continue, and his own people will distrust him further, and hopefully abandon him faster, making the stabilization of Iraq that much easier and shorter. If yes (and I would hope it's yes, though I am still skeptical), then it is an incredible victory for freedom and democracy; and should make the stabilization of Iraq that much easier and shorter.
I am very curious to see how this plays out. This is possibly the most shocking revelation of everything coming out of Iraq recently. I'm almost more curious to see how the media and the Iraqi and US governments react. This should be interesting...

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