Muqtada Sadr Office Bombarded
Kuna, the official Kuwaiti news agency, reports:
A joint force of the Iraqi Army and US troops Tuesday bombarded the office of Shiite leader Muqtada Al-Sadr in Al-Shula area, west of Baghdad, a security source told KUNA. The source said some 14 military vehicles are now surrounding the office and Iraqi and US soldiers could be seen confiscating material and documents.
Muqtada Al-Sadr himself is out of the country over fears for his safety.
Via Cernig, who thinks the analysis of this will break along predictable lines.
This could easily backfire, turning Sadrists who have so far hidden from “surge” forces over into attack mode. It could also be a cusp moment for the surge and for the Iraqi government, enabling at long last a beginning of a move towards peace.
My gut feeling says the former, pro-war commentators are sure to say the latter. Time will tell.
Actually, that kind of “backfire” sounds pretty good to me; it’s a hell of a lot easier to kill guerrillas in open attack mode than when they’re biding their time. My main concern is with the precision of the strike and the care taken to avoid civilian casualties. I’m much more worried about creating new militants than stirring up existing ones.
I’m also quite curious what this signals about the Maliki government. Is this a pro forma show of force with Sadr safely out of the country (despite previous denials, by the way)? Or have they actually decided to risk their governing coalition for the sake of actually running an effective government?