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April 11, 2008

Senior Aid To al-Sadr Dies of Type II Diabetes as Well as Type II Gunshot Trauma, But Mostly Type II Gunshot Trauma

I suppose this could be part of that looming instability thing the NYT is fretting about, but it seems to me more likely that if a major agent of instability is neutralized, that's probably good, in the long run, for stability.

But what do I know. I just like writing funny headlines.

A senior aide to radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr was assassinated Friday in the holy city of Najaf. Authorities immediately announced a citywide curfew and security forces deployed on the streets.

The killing threatened to raise tensions amid a violent standoff between al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia and the U.S.-backed Iraqi government.

Yes, but... the last time that happened it didn't go very well for the Sadrists.

A risk here, yes, and I don't want to be glib about it, but at some point this clash is inevitable. Either the Sadrists lay down their arms or the Coalition forces lay the Sadrists down next to their arms.

I take this as generally good news. The Sadrists had been largely untouchable. And now, in an elevator car, the word "Touchable" written in blood.

Riyadh al-Nouri, the director of al-Sadr's office in Najaf, was gunned down as he drove home after attending Friday prayers in the nearby city of Kufa, a police officer and a local Sadrist official said. Both spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

...

Al-Sadr said the United States and the Iraqi government bore responsibility for al-Nouri's death and he demanded an investigation be opened.

"It is the hands of the occupiers and their tails reaching out traitorously and aggressively against our dear martyr," he said in the statement, using rhetoric for the Iraqi government and its U.S. backers.

"We will not forget this precious blood. I call upon Sadr followers to be patient. The occupiers will not rest in our land as long as I am alive."

Police said al-Nouri was driving his car alone and had passed through two of their checkpoints before heading for the residential part of the city in which he lived. The gunmen were waiting for near his home, where no security forces were present.

No security forces were present? Oh dear me that's terrible. If only US forces had been there, this tragedy might have been averted.

Read on in the article and you'll get to the downside, like sporadic fighting breaking out again in Basra and curfews in several cities to control restive populations.

But I'll quote this bit:

U.S. airstrikes also killed 12 more suspected militants.

An unmanned drone fired on a group of gunmen carrying grenades and mortars overnight in Sadr City, killing six of them, the U.S. military said.

Terrible. Terrible, terrible, terrible.


Thanks to Greg.

Corrected: I initially identified this solid citizen as a cleric. He appears to have just been a lay asshole, not an invested one.


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posted by Ace at 03:27 PM

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