In what looks like a massive recession for Muqtada and his followers; “Mehdi Army” decided to give in all their medium and heavy weapons to end their violent activities and obey the laws as a first step enter the political and electoral process.
The “conditions” that were put by Muqtada in return are no more than an attempt to tell the public opinion that this is not a surrender, as the “condition” related to the release of the arrested members of “Mehdi Army” was followed by the statement “except those found guilty of crimes” and this is an important development and a clear acceptance for the existing administration.. Another important development was that for the fist time Muqtada’s spokesman referred to the coalition forces as the multinational forces, not the occupation forces or aggressors and the usual crap.
It’s not very clear why Sadr decided this now but I guess it was the result of many factors, the most important of which is-in my opinion-Muqtada’s failure to get enough support from the Iraqi people as he was seeking and this was because of the false picture and exaggerated figures that reached Muqtada through his aides and the media, while the truth was that his doings were met by strong rejection from almost all Iraqis. Another factor might be the fact that the Iraqi government started to fiercely chase Sadr assistants and arrested some of them and I believe that some of his assistants were the ones who were really behind most of his decision and that he was just a front all the time.
It’s believed that Muqtada is restricted to a great extent by his aides and the orders and instructions that come from across the borders and in many instances he wasn’t able to disagree with any of those parties and we heard once that his aides threatened to kill him if he ordered his followers to cease their fire during the last crisis in Najaf city but even those aides found themselves alone with no one to back them up under heavy military and political pressures as the government showed remarkable determination to put an end to the destructive effect of militias. This decision from the government was backed by the people and this was clearly seen when the people talked to the government and asked for its intervention to rid their cities of the militants.
What happened is a triumph for the powers that are willing to build a free and democratic Iraq and it’s a defeat for those who bet on the failure of the democratic project in Iraq and it’s even a defeat for Sadr too although it’s the best move he could make, as I don’t believe that after what he did he has any chance of achieving anything worthy in elections and if he wouldn’t accept his loss and revolt again it will be a frank revolt against the people not the state.
The media (especially the Arab media) chanted for Muqtada and his followers and started to give their judgements about the outcome of the battle and some went as far as saying that OIF was a big mistake and the less pessimists saw that this was going to be a longstanding massive revolt while some went as far as anticipating a “revolution” and I guess they must be very disapointed now. They said that Muqtada has millions of supporters and that he represents real oppressed Iraqis, while we, Iraqis, we were able to see the light at the end of the tunnel and we could see freedom and peace win and we were not affected by those who called us dreamers and that’s mainly because we are the ones whom Muqtada and other portions of the resistance were speaking on our behalf and we knew at least that they don’t represent us.
We aspire our optimism from our belief in the just cause we’re fighting for and our enemies may look strong and scary but it needs only a small push to make their whole existence collapse just like Saddam’s regime collapsed because it was based on oppression, deception and illusions that can’t live long, and as much as I wanted to see Sadr and his thugs in handcuffs, it has become rather late for this and it’s better now to have this peace that’s far from convincing to me but that will at least make elections much more feasible and will allow time to resume the very needed reconstruction programs in the most poor areas of Iraq.
The last development will have a significant impact over the remaining tension spots, especially Fallujah where the terrorists lost one of their allies who helped them convince some observers that the “resistance” is not confined to a particular sect or city but a generalized rejection to the current administration in Iraq. Besides, there are at least huge doubts that surround this part of the resistance as it’s obvious that former Ba’athists are at least part of it, and there’s also the brutality it showed and its clear relations to Arabs and foreigners who also form a considerable part of it. The Iraqi “resistance” has lost its Iraqi face.
Those remaining hot spots are getting more isolated day by day and losing the excuses to continue their activities and their surrender would be a rational choice unless they prefer suicide, or maybe they will try to play some games to win time but now we have the will and the capability to stop their plans and pave the way for the coming elections.
I don’t think we’ll soon get rid of car bombs and suicide attacks because suicide is the only strategy for an important part of the remaining thugs and they will no doubt increase their activity as the elections approach but I have great belief that this won’t prevent the majority of Iraqis from voting.
Just as Sadr lost the rest of them will lose as they have already lost the people and they stand alone and they will fall alone.