300 Sunni & Shia Tribal Leaders Demand Scheduled Withdrawal of Occupation Forces
Missing Links, March 24, 2008
This is about a meeting that took place in the NW Baghdad district of Kadhamiya. Voices of Iraq says the meeting, organized by the Sadr organization, included 300 tribal leaders, Shia and Sunni, from throughout Iraq, but the meeting also dealt with local issues including a promised re-opening of the “Bridge of the Imams” that links this mainly Shiite neighborhood on the west bank of the Euphrates with its twin district Adhamiya, mainly Sunni, on the east bank. …
Among the main points in the final statement of the meeting: A demand for scheduled withdrawal of the occupation forces from Iraq; and a statement to the effect the foreign forces are responsible for the internal divisions that have plagued Iraq since the invasion. (Go here for the original story and links.)
Meanwhile … Cease-fire Critical to the “Success” of “the Surge” Ends
McClatchy, March 25, 2008
A cease-fire critical to the improved security situation in Iraq appeared to unravel Monday when a militia loyal to radical Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al Sadr began shutting down neighborhoods in west Baghdad and issuing demands of the central government.
Simultaneously, in the strategic southern port city of Basra, where Sadr’s Mahdi militia is in control, the Iraqi government launched a crackdown in the face of warnings by Sadr’s followers that they’ll fight government forces if any Sadrists are detained. By 1 a.m. Arab satellite news channels reported clashes between the Mahdi Army and police in Basra.
The freeze on offensive activity by Sadr’s Mahdi Army has been a major factor behind the recent drop in violence in Iraq, and there were fears that the confrontation that’s erupted in Baghdad and Basra could end the lull in attacks, assassinations, kidnappings and bombings. [For the rest of this article, go here.]