what the hell is moqtada sadr really doing? and what does it matter…….A LOT

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Sadr set to ‘rebuild’ Mehdi Army

Wed Aug 29 12:50:34 UTC 2007

Sadr ‘freezes’ militia activities

Wed Aug 29 14:20:26 UTC 2007

The radical Iraqi Shia cleric, Moqtada Sadr, has announced the “rebuilding” of his Mehdi Army militia over a maximum period of six months. Radical Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr says he is freezing the activities of his Mehdi Army militia for up to six months in order to re-organise it.
He called on all its offices to co-operate with the security forces and exercise “self-control”, in a statement issued by his office in Najaf. He also called on all its offices to co-operate with the security forces and exercise “self-control”, in a statement issued by his office in Najaf.
The order was read out at a conference in Karbala, where fierce fighting on Tuesday killed more than 50 people. The order was read out at a conference in Karbala, where fierce fighting on Tuesday killed more than 50 people.
Police blamed the Mehdi Army for the violence, but it denied involvement. Police blamed the Mehdi Army for the violence, but it denied involvement.
The militia is strongly opposed to the US presence in Iraq and took part in two uprisings against US-led forces in 2004. A curfew is now in force in the holy city, where the situation is said to be calm.
It has also been linked to many sectarian attacks on Iraq’s Sunni Arabs and on UK forces in the south of the country. ‘Rehabilitation’
At a news conference in Karbala on Wednesday, one of Moqtada Sadr’s aides read out a statement announcing that the Mehdi Army had suspended all its activities.
[The order] also includes suspending the taking up of arms against occupiers as well as others
Ahmed al-Shaibani
Spokesman for Moqtada Sadr
What is the Mehdi Army?
“We declare the freezing of the Mehdi Army without exception in order to rehabilitate it in a way that will safeguard its ideological image within a maximum period of six months starting from the day this statement is issued,” Sheikh Hazim al-Araji said.
In Najaf, another spokesman said the order included “suspending the taking up of arms against occupiers, as well as others”.
Reports say the move is part of an attempt by Moqtada Sadr to regain control over his militia, which has split in recent months into increasingly autonomous factions, some of which the US says are trained and armed by Iran.
However, the BBC’s Mike Wooldridge in Baghdad says past experience of attempted purges of rogue elements in the militia will doubtless lead US and UK commanders to be wary and watch for the effect of the order on the ground.
‘Dangerous accelerant’
The Mehdi Army was created by Moqtada Sadr in the summer of 2003 to protect the Shia religious authorities in the holy city of Najaf.
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