April 10, 2008

HE NEEDS MOOKIE MORE THAN HE NEEDS MALIKI:

Petraeus Says Breakaway Shi'ite Militias Must Be Dealt With, But Sensitively (Al Pessin, 10 April 2008, VOA News)

[G]eneral Petraeus urged the Iraqi government to be careful how it deals with the militant Shiites, in order not to make the problem worse.

"I think there has to be a very, very sensitive approach, if you will, as this goes forward, to make that sure folks don't feel like they're backed into a corner from which there's no alternative," he said.

At the news conference, the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, said the Iraqi government is doing that by providing development funds for Shiite areas, at the same time it fights the Shiite militants in Basra.

General Petraeus said the Iraqi government must ensure that its military operation in Basra does not bring an end to the ceasefire declared by the leader of Iraq's largest Shiite militia, Moqtada al-Sadr.

"Clearly, we are concerned that the ceasefire could fray," he said. "That's in no one's interest."

General Petraeus said the ceasefire has been one of the three key elements of the security improvements in Iraq during the past year, along with the U.S. and Iraqi troop increases and the shift of allegiance by Sunni tribes in western Iraq. The general said it is important to differentiate between Sadr, his political party and his militia, on the one hand; and other groups, including some former militia members, who use his name to try to legitimize continuing their attacks.

"I think the way, the best way to characterize Moqtada al-Sadr is that he is the face and the leadership of a very important and legitimate political movement in Iraq," he said.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 10, 2008 6:41 PM
Comments

Agreed as to the last point. Provided Tater continues to lay his cards shrewdly.

Posted by: ghostcat at April 10, 2008 7:32 PM
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