Saturday, August 07, 2004

Rocking in Najaf 

The next installment of "Good news from Iraq" is some nine days away, but I can't help myself in the meantime - this is surely a huge victory for both the Coalition army and the Iraqi security forces:

"More than 1200 militiamen loyal to radical Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr surrendered today following fierce clashes with US and Iraqi forces in Najaf, the police general directorate said.

" 'Over 1200 criminals have surrendered to Iraqi forces,' it said, adding that the holy city of Najaf had been 'secured'. It said most of the captured militiamen were criminals who were released from Iraqi prisons by ousted president Saddam Hussein before last year's US-led invasion.

The statement accused Sadr's Mehdi Army of wanting to 'destabilize the country', and vowed that 'this operation will continue until this illegal and cruel violence has been quelled."
The Mehdi Army was always estimated at only several thousand fighters, and has been much degraded over the months of fighting. If true, taking out 1,500 guerrillas out of action in a space of only few days is a considerable victory for Iraq's internal stability. Personally I loved the next paragraph in the story:

"No-one in Sadr's Najaf office was immediately available for comment on the statement."
As it should be.

As Mohammed wrote at
Iraq the Model two says ago, "These militant groups have betrayed Iraq by their collaboration with other countries to destabilize the situation in Iraq while the true sons of Iraq are working to build their country. We need discipline and order now more than ever and I believe that who commits a simple traffic violation on purpose is really harming Iraq at this stage, let alone those who carry arms to fight us. Those should not be left free to do more damage." It looks like al Sadr is finally getting some parking tickets.


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