Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Iraqi PM al-Maliki Orders Shiite Militias to Disarm

In a move that has everything to do with President Bush's talk this evening, Iraqi Prime Minister has told Shiite militiamen to surrender their arms or face an all-out assault by U.S.-backed Iraqi forces, senior Iraqi officials said Wednesday, according to an AP report. The AP story continues:
Under pressure from the U.S., Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has agreed to crack down on fighters controlled by his most powerful political ally, Muqtada al-Sadr, a radical Shiite cleric, according to officials. Previously, al-Maliki had resisted the move.?

This is the second time this week that an Arab leader has found the backbone to demand the disarming of private militias. [See "Abbas Bans Hamas Militia; 6 Palestinian Gangs Threaten to Ban Abbas," The Hedgehog Blog, Jan. 9, 2007.] This last incident is most impressive and courageous, because al-Maliki is himself a Shia and al-Sadr's Mahdi Army has been a foundation of his power base. Could this be a trend?

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