Monday :: Aug 11, 2008

The War Thing

by Turkana

So, there's this Olympics thing. And this John Edwards thing. And in local news, someone beat up a pit bull. But I'm guessing you didn't hear this story, as reported last Friday by Agence France-Presse:

Radical Shiite leader Moqtada Sadr has ordered his Mahdi Army militia to lay down its arms if a security pact between Baghdad and Washington provides for a withdrawal from Iraq, his spokesman said on Friday.

"We want to see whether the provisions of the agreement are serious. We will be satisfied if the agreement contains the withdrawal of US forces," Salah al-Obeidi, chief spokesman for the Sadr movement, told AFP.

"If so, we will complete the reorganisation of the Mahdi Army which aims to transform it into a social organisation," he said in the Shiite stronghold of Najaf, about 160 kilometres (99 miles) south of Baghdad.

I'm guessing that the withdrawal of forces doesn't include keeping trainers and strike forces and bases and enough divisions to defend the world's largest and most expensive "embassy."

He announced in June that he would replace the 60,000-strong Mahdi Army with a leaner and meaner fighting force to target the US-led occupation.

And there's that nagging little fact that our military leaders acknowledge, even if our media conveniently don't:

A ceasefire drawn up a year ago has been a key factor in violence levels dropping to four-year lows.

The Mahdi Army is not what it was a year ago, but it doesn't need to be. Particularly if it gets leaner and meaner. But it will disarm if we leave. Which sounds like a good idea. Meanwhile, life under occupation continues apace for the Iraqi people.

Meanwhile, in an indication that violence remains a problem in the north of Iraq, 18 people were killed and more than 50 wounded in a car bomb attack on market in the northern town of Tal Afar, a hospital official said.

And the Los Angeles Times has this, today:

A suicide bomber detonated explosives Sunday amid U.S. and Iraqi troops who were investigating an earlier attack. Iraqi police said nearly 20 people died, and the U.S. military said they included one American soldier.

It was the day's worst attack among several that occurred across Iraq, including one at a crowded bus depot in Baghdad that left four people dead.

I hope that pit bull is okay.

Turkana :: 2:25 PM :: Comments (36) :: Digg It!