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Thread: Al Sadr Fled Iraq, Fearing U.S. Bombs

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    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default Al Sadr Fled Iraq, Fearing U.S. Bombs

    13 Feb. breaking story from ABC - Al Sadr Fled Iraq, Fearing U.S. Bombs.

    While members of the U.S. House of Representatives take turns weighing in on President Bush's planned troop surge in Iraq, the focus in Iraq is not on the arrival of more U.S. troops, but the departure of one of the country's most powerful men, Moqtada al Sadr and members of his army.

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

    Al Sadr commands the Mahdi Army, one of the most formidable insurgent militias in Iraq, and his move coincides with the announced U.S. troop surge in Baghdad.

    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 think al Sadr is not gone for good. In Tehran he is trying to keep the Mahdi militia together...
    Not much else on this - excepting others quoting this story from ABC news...

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    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Amazing what happens when you turn the lights on

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Sadr aides deny he has gone to Iran.

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    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Yea - I querried one of our interpreters who say the news reports Sadr in Najaf. However, its a start.

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    Default First Impressions

    My gut reaction to hearing this was, 'the old bandit has gone on vacation for a couple of weeks' - resting in some posh home with top chef cooking and who knows what else. Maybe he went to have weight reduction surgery..?? Off subject but reportedly 18 revolutionary guards took a hit near the Paki border via car bomb, but it sounds more like drug dealers/smugglers taking revenge.

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    Council Member TROUFION's Avatar
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    Default Drug deal gone bad/revenge or anti-govt terrorism..

    1. The carbomb attack against the Iranian Republican Guard on the Afghan-Pakistan border may not have been motivated by anything but money, drugs and vengeance but it does demonstrate that Iran is susceptible to the same tactics that our troops face in Iraq and Afghanistan. Not that I advocate that type of warfare, just an observation.

    2. If in fact Sadr did run is of little consequence, what would be/is important is how we exploit the rumor that he ran away. If he is in hiding he cannot come out and say he didn't/hasn't run. If he comes out publicly, in person, we can grab him. Either way the situation can be exploited: he is either a coward who left his militia men behind to save his own skin or he comes out in the open. I see a great opportunity for propaganda to work in our favor.

    -T

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    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default My first thoughts....

    Quote Originally Posted by TROUFION View Post
    ... If in fact Sadr did run is of little consequence, what would be/is important is how we exploit the rumor that he ran away. If he is in hiding he cannot come out and say he didn't/hasn't run. If he comes out publicly, in person, we can grab him. Either way the situation can be exploited: he is either a coward who left his militia men behind to save his own skin or he comes out in the open. I see a great opportunity for propaganda to work in our favor.

    -T
    When I first read about the Sadr episode last night I thought - well, an opportunity to use IO to our favor for once....

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    This John Q. Civilian's belief is that he was called in for a face-to-face over the threat to Sistani his militia poses and some ultra radical splintering occuring in his ranks. He's got some serious butchers at work and he may well be on the carpet and being told to tighten the reins a bit. I imagine he will resurface shortly. Nasrallah of hizbullah went to Iran too for a while during the last IDF campaign and returned shortly there after. There is alot of sub rosa nuance here with this and at least we have given them a bit of a propoganda hit by announcing that he was running for his life.

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    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWJED View Post
    When I first read about the Sadr episode last night I thought - well, an opportunity to use IO to our favor for once....
    Only if it's handled really carefully. I'll bet he's already setting up his own IO to tie into the myth of Imam Husayn and Ashura. Any remaining members of the Mahdi Army would be incorporated into that mythic structure as martyrs and his own "flight" will be viewed as a recreation of the Hidden Imam myth.

    Marc
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

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    Council Member TROUFION's Avatar
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    Default FYI this mornings report on Sadr location

    By QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA, Associated Press Writers
    1 hour, 9 minutes ago

    BAGHDAD, Iraq - An adviser to Iraq's prime minister said Thursday that radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr is in Iran, but denied he fled due to fear of arrest during an escalating security crackdown.

    Sami al-Askari said al-Sadr traveled to Iran by land "a few days ago," but gave no further details on how long he would stay in Iran. A member of al-Sadr's bloc in parliament, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of fear of reprisals, said al-Sadr left three weeks ago.

    "I confirm that Muqtada al-Sadr is in Iran on a visit," said al-Askari. "But I deny that his visit is a flight."

    But another lawmaker loyal to al-Sadr, Saleh al-Ukaili, insisted that al-Sadr is in Iraq and claimed the accounts of his departure were part of a "campaign by the U.S. military" to track down the elusive cleric.

    Conflicting reports on al-Sadr's whereabouts have been exchanged for days.

    *My take, I am starting to agree with the weight loss clinic theory...T
    Last edited by TROUFION; 02-15-2007 at 12:49 PM.

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    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Default Ala' Mob counseling

    He's got some serious butchers at work and he may well be on the carpet and being told to tighten the reins a bit
    Here is to hoping he's got plastic wrap between his sandals and the carpet.

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    Default he's not the runner, is he?

    i wish it was as positive as it sounds. watching this guy for some time now, i do not have the feeling he did a runner. he likes to take a step back an regroup. his militia boys, his tactiques his thoughts. i do not believe this is the last time we heard about him. I think there is a way to straighten him up but it's got to be through a combine pressure of politics intel and military. and that will take some time. if i'm wrong and he's gone for good, god bless.

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    Bill Roggio's The Fourth Rail, 8 Jul 07: Muqtada al-Sadr Back in Iran
    Muqtada al Sadr, the leader of the Shia Mahdi Army and the Sadrist bloc in parliament, has left Iraq and is in Iran, military sources told Reuters. An anonymous U.S. military intelligence official and a military officer stationed in Iraq told The Fourth Rail the Reuter's report is accurate, but would not say when they believe Sadr left Iraq. Sadr's flight from Iraq and return to Iran comes as Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki issued an unusually strong statement calling for Sadr's Mahdi Army to disarm, and Iraqi security forces continue to battle his Mahdi Army in southern Iraq....

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