Bill Roggio reports the Iraqi Army has issued an ultimatum to al-Sadr’s Mahdi army to surrender or face the consequences:
The senior-most Iraqi general in charge of the security operation in Basrah has issued an ultimatum for wanted Mahdi Army leaders and fighters to surrender in the next 24 hours as the Iraqi and US military ignore Muqtada al Sadr’s threat to conduct a third uprising. US troops killed 15 Mahdi Army fighters in Baghdad yesterday and have killed 56 fighters since Sadr issued his threat last weekend.
In Basrah, General Mohan al Freiji, the chief of the Basrah Operational Commander and leader of the security operation in the province, has given issued warrants “for 81 people, including senior leaders of the Mahdi militia, and they have 24 hours to give up,” The Associated Press reported.
It will be interesting to watch how this goes. The Iraqi Army no doubt is eager not to be embarrassed again, and there’s no reason they would kick this off early (if indeed that’s what happened last time). I expect they’ll make a better showing this time. The most important thing, though, is to go through with it. Idle threats won’t help their reputation any.
This bit is also interesting:
The assassination of Riyad al Nouri, Sadr’s brother-in-law and a senior aide in Najaf, continues to spark reports that his death was carried out from within the Sadrist movement. On April 17, The Long War Journal reported that Nouri was pushing for the Sadrist movement to disband the Mahdi Army lest the party be shut out from the political process, and US military officers believe he was killed because of this.
The Iraqi press has also reported Nouri was killed after he suggested disarming the Mahdi Army. Nouri “was assassinated after he wrote Muqtada a letter asking him to dissolve the Mahdi Army,” Al Rafidain reported.