The situation is still tense in Baghdad today and you can still hear sounds of explosions coming from Sadr city’s direction every now and then. People reacted differently to the recent clashes with Sadr’s militia. Some were mainly concerned about the large causality and they fear that there maybe many innocents among them despite that they don’t support Sadr. Others thought that the government should show more determination in dealing with the thugs and were unhappy with the performance of the IP and ING because they still see Sadr’s militia on many parts of Sadr city.
The roads to Sadr city are almost blocked by the American army and the ING and many people said that they couldn’t go there and others who lived there had extreme difficulty in getting to their works.
A cap driver who was there today told me that he was stopped inside Sadr city by men dressing in black and covering their faces and carrying RPGs. Sadr followers force the driver to go back from where he came and the guy was very upset to see those criminals still controls the main roads inside the city. This driver was a She’at and one of those who thought that the government should take more serious actions including declaring martial laws. I didn’t agree with him on martial laws as I think that law enforcement alone is enough if carried effectively and I was happy to hear Allawi dismissing this possibility in his last press confrence.
There are many rumors about Sistani’s trip to London. Some people believe it’s part of a conspiracy aimed at isolating Sadr from Sistani and depriving him of any possible support although it’s a well known fact that Sistani doesn’t support Sadr at all and that Sadr had surrounded Sistani’s house soon after the war and asked him to leave Iraq. Other people say that Sadr deputies had visited Sistani lately and had asked him to declare Jihad but Sistani, as expected refuse strongly which lead to those men threatining to kill him! So they think that the government arranged for his departure for a while to protect him until dealing with Sadr permanently.
To sum things up most people think that Sadr militia will soon be history and most of them think this is a good thing since they know that a large number of people who joint Sadr militia were originally thieves and looters who want chaos to spread so that they can repeat what they did after the war. This was confirmed today by Ayad Allawi in the press conference I mentione above when he said that out of the 1200 Sadr’s militia members who where arrested or surrendered there were 400 convicts who were released by Saddam just prior to the war and we all know that Saddam let no political prisoner out, just ordinary criminals.
Allawi seemed so determined in this conference and when one reporter asked him, “Why do you maintain the pressure and continue to push things to the extreme against Iraqi citizens?” He answered the reporter with a harsh tone, “What citizens?? These are outlaws and no one is allowed to break the law here no matter who he was” and he added, “We will continue to push harder and we will keep the course against these criminals” Then the reporter tried to interrupt him but Allawi said, “Enough. We are not having a conversation here. You asked a very unacceptable question and I answered you”
I don’t like a very tough leader as this reminds me of Saddam but there are times when the leader should be tough and frankly I like Allawi’s responce to that reporter and I like his determination but I don’t like what he said about Muqtada when he said that these criminals don’t represent him and I believe he should have been stronger and clearer, saying that Muqtada is wanted for Iraqi justice and he had caused enormous troubles and led criminals to commit many crimes which he should pay for.
We are all waiting for what the coming days will bring but I personally hope that this militia will be destroyed and that Sadr get arrested and I’m sure this will bring considerable stability to many parts of Iraq, first because anyone with similar ambitions when he sees what happened to Sadr will have to think twice before doing the same, and second because there’s no other man inside Sadr militia that has any legitimacy to attract many followers since all of them are young clerics with no degree or popularity while Sadr at least have his father’s name, reputation and some of his old followers. I’m optimistic but I’m also worried that the government may show some weakness or make some exceptions at the last minute.