November 15, 2008

Muqtada al-Sadr - Address the Threat

Once again, radical Shi'a cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has threatened to restart his armed resistance to the presence of American forces in Iraq. For the last year, his band of thugs has observed what he calls a "truce," which has partially been responsible for lower levels of violence in the country. In reality, he had little choice but to order his loyalists to stand down or face the newly deployed combat troops that made up the American "surge." Each time the Sadrists take on the Americans, they suffer badly.

This time the threat is an attempt to stop the Iraqi government from signing an agreement with the United States that provides a legal framework for American forces to remain in Iraq beyond December 31, 2008. That agreement has been completed and will soon be submitted to the Iraqi national assembly for approval.

Al-Sadr now threatens to order his followers to attack American forces if there is any agreement that provides for the continued presence of the troops in Iraq, or allows them to retain any bases in the country. Note that al-Sadr makes these threats from the safety of Iran, where he claims to be furthering his Islamic education. Maybe he is, of maybe he is just hiding.

Muqtada al-Sadr poses a clear and immediate threat to American forces. That threat should be addressed - this radical ne'er-do-well has been a problem since he was involved in the murder of Shi'a cleric 'Abd al-Majid al-Khu'i in April 2003. Although a warrant was issued for his arrest, he has never been charged for complicity in the crime. His followers - and thus him - have American blood on their hands.

American forces should neutralize this threat. That's a polite way of sending a special forces team to kill him. I have said this before - it is long overdue.