Al-Maliki Vows Crackdown in Baghdad
Nouri al-Maliki is doubling down his bets, vowing a Basra-style crackdown in Baghdad.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Thursday he planned to launch more security crackdowns like the one in Basra against “criminal gangs” in Baghdad. Addressing a news conference, he singled out Sadr City and Shula — two Mahdi Army militia strongholds in Baghdad — as likely targets in the future crackdowns, saying they were under the sway of “criminal gangs.”
Al-Maliki did not mention by name the Mahdi Army militia, which is led by radical Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr. Sadr City and Shula are militia strongholds and any attack by government troops there is likely to trigger a backlash by the militia like what happened in Basra last week.
Because it worked so well before?
I understand the desire to crack down on dissidents and time is certainly running out on Maliki’s ability to hold onto power. But unless this is much better planned and successful than the Basra episode, this will have precisely the opposite of its intended effect.