A very powerful Shia cleric in Iraq, Maqtada al-Sadr, with a very powerful following has proclaimed that his militia’s ceasefire against rivals and the USÂ will be extended for another six months. He will be a crucial figure in the future of Iraq.
Moqtada’s father was a very powerful and respected Shia cleric throughout the Muslim world. He was murdered along with Moqtada’s two brothers, supposedly on the orders of Saddam Hussein. In 2003 Sadr’s creation of the Mahdi army gained much support in Sadr City, a neighborhood of Baghdad, and beyond.Â It has a reported following of thousands of Iraqis. This is the force that recognizes the ceasefire.
Since theÂ new Irarqi governmnet has been formed al-Sadr has not lent to its credibility, denouncing it’s legitimacy and refusing to get involved. He invisions aÂ cleric run state (a la Iran).Â He says the purpose of this new ceasefire is so that his group might further an ideological stance within the Iraqi system.Â
One thing that both candidates left out of the debate last night when talkingÂ about the sucess of teh US military surge in Iraq is that it has coincided with this ceasefire. This has been a huge reason why there has been such successful surge results.Â al-Sadr knows that the longer he holds out of taking his own action, the more he can contribute to temporary stability and, hopefully, the withdrawl of foreign troops.Â