Al Sadr May Have Fled Iraq, Fearing U.S. Bombs

ABC News reports that Moqtada al Sadr and several leaders of his Mahdi army fled to Tehran two to three weeks ago, fearing for his safety on the eve of the “surge.” The report is attributed to “senior military officials.” These reports are being denied by the Iraqi and Iranian governments and by Mahdi army officials, who claim he is laying low in Najaf. Reuters and AP have details.

Granting that Iraq is a big place and the border with Iran is 1458 kilometers, one would think our human intelligence in a country where we’ve had substantial numbers of troops over four years would be solid enough to keep track of our number one adversary.

Perhaps this is a psyop to goad him into showing his face?

FILED UNDER: Intelligence, Iraq War, , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. ken says:

    Sadr… “our number one adversary”

    He is? Since when?

    He has never harmed any innocent American. What would put him in the number one spot ahead of Osama bin Laden?

    I think most Americans would rather we bring those to justice who actually engaged in criminal activity against American people. I think most Americans couldn’t care less about Sadr.

  2. Boyd says:

    …as a result of most Americans not being military leaders in Iraq.

    And Ken, I hadn’t heard that Osama bin Laden had moved to Iraq. Y’know, the country that James’s post was about?

    And while I wonder if al Sadr is really “our number one adversary” in Iraq, no other, single name comes to mind that would arguably hold that title.

  3. LJD says:

    He has never harmed any innocent American.

    I guess troops deployed overseas don’t qualify as “innocent Americans”???

    Clueless.

  4. Dave Schuler says:

    This was reported a couple of weeks ago in some Arabic language papers. It’s beginning to sound legit.

    One additional point. It provides evidence for something that some Sunni Arab Iraqis (and even some Shi’ite Arab Iraqis) have been claiming: that al-Sadr and his militia are just a front for an Iranian takeover of Iraq.

  5. Jim Henley says:

    It provides evidence for something that some Sunni Arab Iraqis (and even some Shi’ite Arab Iraqis) have been claiming: that al-Sadr and his militia are just a front for an Iranian takeover of Iraq.

    How?

  6. anjin-san says:

    LJD,

    I am not sure how you could define our troops in Iraq as “Innocents”.

    They are armed combatants. They are occupying a country where a lot of the folks who actually live there do not want them to be.

    Some members of our forces have committed crimes against the people of Iraq. I am not trying to paint our troops as being evil or oppressors, but the nature of war is such that atrocities happen. American forces are not immune from this.

    The fact is our troops in that country are not “innocents”, and you are just as wrong as those who would portray our troops as a fascist army.

    As for the “clueless” label, actually, you wear it well…

  7. anjin-san says:

    >Perhaps this is a psyop to goad him into showing his face?

    Now lets see, if a Democrat said this, what would he be? A terrorist symp revealing our methods? A useful idiot? We have heard them all…