“I have failed to liberate Iraq, and transform its society into an Islamic society.”
– Moqtada al-Sadr, Asharq Al Awsat newspaper, March 8, 2008 Moqtada al-Sadr — the radical cleric dubbed “The Most Dangerous Man in Iraq” by a Newsweek cover story in December 2006 — has just unilaterally extended the ceasefire he imposed on his Mahdi Army militia last summer. And on the eve of the Iraq War’s fifth anniversary, Sadr also issued a somber but dramatic statement. He not only declared that he had failed to transform Iraq, but also lamented the new debates and divisions within his own movement. Explaining his marginalization, Sadr all but confessed his growing isolation: “One hand cannot clap alone.”What happened? Over the past five years, Sadr has been one of the most persistent and insurmountable challenges for the U.S. Leveraging his family’s prestige among the disaffected Shiite underclass, he asserted his power by violently intimidating rival clerics, agitating against the U.S. occupation, and using force to establish de facto control over Baghdad’s Sadr City (named after his father, and home to two million Shiites on the east bank of the Tigris) and large swaths of southern Iraq.
Exit question, what compelled Sadr to make this realization? :
Was it the indefatigable resolve of the Bush Administration’s commitment to prevent Iraqi society into an Sadr’s “Islamic society,” or was it the threat of American retreat presented by the Democrats’ Congress and their Presidential candidates?