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February 13, 2007

Al-Sadr Likely To Have Fled Iraq For Iran

Topics: Iraq

Mookie.jpgABC News (along with virtually all media and a sizable portion of the right side of the blogosphere) reports that Moqtada al Sadr and members of his Mahdi army have boogied out of Iraq for sanctuary in Iran.

According to senior military officials, al Sadr left Baghdad two to three weeks ago and fled to Tehran, Iran, where he has family.

... Sources believe al Sadr is worried about an increase of 20,000 U.S. troops in the Iraqi capital. One official told ABC News' Martha Raddatz, "He is scared he will get a JDAM [bomb] dropped on his house."

Sources say some of the Mahdi army leadership went with al Sadr.

Though he is gone for now, many believe al Sadr is not gone for good. In Tehran he is trying to keep the Mahdi militia together.

AJStrada has it as Sadr Runs [Home?] To Iran and suggests reasons Sadr had to run to his puppetmasters in Tehran.

Via the AP:

Anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr fled Iraq for Iran ahead of a security crackdown in Baghdad and the arrival of 21,500 U.S. troops sent by President Bush to quell sectarian violence, a senior U.S. official said Tuesday.

Al-Sadr left his Baghdad stronghold some weeks ago, the official said, and is believed to be in Tehran, where he has family. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss U.S. monitoring activities, said fractures in al-Sadr's political and militia operations may be part of the reason for his departure. The move is not believed to be permanent, the official said.

Via Hot Air: "Crack Bush-hating news commentator Jack Cafferty wondered a few minutes ago on CNN how Sadr could have slipped out of Baghdad with so many American soldiers around as part of the surge. Answer: Because he wasn't there. He lives in Najaf, not Baghdad, jerky.

Blue Crab Boulevard
has a message for some of our politicians:
If (some of) our politicians would stop posturing for a moment, they'd understand that the best thing they could do right now is not try to cut the legs out from under out troops and the new commander they just unanimously sent in there to do the job. (And politicians who vote against the surge and are wrong will be in desperately bad shape politically).

But that would be asking many of them to stop pandering. To much for some of them, I guess. Physical cowards like al Sadr are very big on sending other to heaven. Doing so themselves, not so much. In fact not at all, as the dust trails leading to the Iranian border testify. And our media should be shouting the outright cowardice of "Mookie" from the rooftops right now rather than undermining their fellow citizens at every turn.

Ed Morrissey chides Mookie with: "... So much for the whole 72 virgins thing and the radical Islamist desire to die in martyrdom," and sees this as having come at a good time:

This couldn't have come at a better time. Congress has tied itself in knots trying to opine on what a disaster the surge will be, and before they can vote on a resolution scolding George Bush for wasting resources, he's already chased one of the worst actors out of Baghdad. Nancy Pelosi will be holding a debate to disapprove of a strategy that has already demonstrated success.

And as for Sadr, this will destroy him and his Mahdi Army. ABC reports that Sadr wants to try to run the Mahdis from Teheran, but his credibility as a jihadi just tanked. Who's going to fight for someone who won't stand up for himself?

And the Iranians surely have to be thumping their foreheads over his bug-out. The US had just demonstrated that the Iranians had backed the insurgencies, which the Iranians disputed, and the chief of the Shi'ite militias announces that he's going to become a remote-control general from their turf. It's going to be very difficult for anyone to pretend that Iran has not actively fueled the insurgencies while Moqtada directs his armies by long-distance telephone calls.

This demonstrates that the US forces have seized the initiative in Baghdad, and that the Maliki government has apparently completely abandoned Sadr.

Mookie's departure is a good sign but will mean nothing if we simply allow the Mahdi army to just infiltrate back in to Iraq. The key here is for Congress to support the Commander-in-Chief and keep the pressure on Iran, the insurgents, and the Shiia militias. This looks like the surge has the potential to make the right things happen in Iraq, but it will all be for naught if our politicians lose the war for us at home that our troops are winning in the Iraq.

Posted by Richard at February 13, 2007 10:47 PM

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