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Officials Confirm Iran's Role in Truce
AP ^ | April 5, 2008 | ALI AKBAR DAREINI 1 hour ago

Posted on 04/05/2008 2:04:37 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Officials in Iran confirmed for the first time Saturday that the country played an important role in brokering a recent truce between the Iraqi government and anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

Iran's Shiite government helped end the clashes between Iraqi government troops and al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia for the sake of Shiite unity, said a senior Iranian official who deals with Iraq.

"It is in Iran's best interests to see unity among Shiite factions," said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki heads a Shiite-dominated government in Iraq, but has clashed with other Shiite factions in the country, including the one led by al-Sadr.

Al-Maliki sparked clashes with al-Sadr's Mahdi Army over a week ago when he sent government troops to Basra to crack down on Shiite militias. The fighting eased last Sunday after al-Sadr ordered his men off the streets and called on the Iraqi government to end its attacks.

The Iranian government helped broker the truce during high-level talks in Iran's holy city of Qom with Shiite Iraqi officials and senior supporters of al-Sadr, said a prominent Iraqi party official based in Tehran.

"Iran played a mediating role and helped ease things a lot," said the Iraqi official, also speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

"Given its influence over al-Sadr, Iran convinced the Sadrists to stop fighting," he said.

U.S. officials in Baghdad have acknowledged an Iranian role in the talks but also accuse Iran of providing much of the weaponry used during the recent fighting, including rocket salvos against the U.S.-controlled Green Zone in Baghdad.

U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker said last Thursday that he wasn't sure the Iranians were instrumental in convincing al-Sadr to stop fighting "or whether they just didn't stop him from doing it."

The Iraqi government sent a three-member delegation that was headed by a prominent Shiite lawmaker close to al-Maliki, Ali Adeeb, and also included two of his Shiite colleagues, Hadi al-Amri and Qassem Sahlani, said the Iraqi official based in Tehran. The meetings in Qom also included representatives from Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards, he said.

Al-Sadr is believed to divide his time between Qom and Najaf, another Shiite holy city in Iraq 100 miles south of Baghdad. But Iranian government spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham denied al-Sadr's presence in Iran on Saturday, saying "this is what the occupying forces claim to divert the attention from what is going on in Iraq."

Iran's role in hammering out the peace deal is believed to have boosted Tehran's influence among Iraq's majority Shiite community.

U.S. and Iraqi authorities have insisted the Basra operation was not aimed at al-Sadr's powerful political movement but was aimed at ridding the streets of criminals and gunmen who had effectively ruled the city since 2005.

But al-Sadr's supporters believe the crackdown was aimed at weakening their movement before provincial elections this fall. Al-Sadr expects to score major electoral gains against Shiite parties that work with the Americans.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: basra; iran; iraniantroops; iraq; sadr; truce

1 posted on 04/05/2008 2:04:38 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
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To: NormsRevenge; elhombrelibre; Allegra; SandRat; tobyhill; G8 Diplomat; Dog; Cap Huff; ...

fyi


2 posted on 04/05/2008 2:05:08 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (No Burkas for my Grandaughters!)
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To: All
Next headline.....Iran stops Civil War in Iraq......between Shia Tribes...Whoops...

Meanwhile...the Dems are at it again...

Hill Dems petition Bush on Iraq - Democrats Letter to President Bush April 4, 2008

3 posted on 04/05/2008 2:07:58 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (No Burkas for my Grandaughters!)
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To: All
Related thread:

Al-Sadr militia prep for U.S., Iraqi fighting

This would likely be Round II.

4 posted on 04/05/2008 2:10:00 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (No Burkas for my Grandaughters!)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Iran has a pretty good deal here, politically-speaking. They have operational control over much of the Mahdi Army & they also have physical control over Mookie Al Sadr. If the Mahdi Army wins on the battle field, Iran wins. If the Mahdi Army gets their heads handed to them, Al Sadr loses. And our duplicitous Press will do everything to make sure that the double-game doesn’t get noticed.


5 posted on 04/05/2008 2:18:11 PM PDT by Tallguy (Tagline is offline till something better comes along...)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
It didn't sound like Maliki really signed on since he kept on with ordering the raids for almost a week. Iran would naturally claim they broke up the fight in order to save some face after the pounding Sadr took.
6 posted on 04/05/2008 3:02:25 PM PDT by tobyhill (The media lies so much the truth is the exception)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Of course, this also indicates that they had a large role in arming the Mahdi Army in the first place and the rocket and mortar attacks into the Green Zone that broke the cease-fire in the first place.

Look for more trouble some time from August to October.


7 posted on 04/05/2008 3:28:02 PM PDT by LSUfan
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
Let us hope that the central government continues to go after all the criminal thugs which of course constitute much of the Mahdi Militia and their associates.
Smart move. Make it sound like a police action against crime and pursue the militia using whatever force is required.
8 posted on 04/05/2008 8:02:34 PM PDT by Marine_Uncle (Duncan Hunter was our best choice...)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Understandable that Iran wouldn’t really want their two puppets, Al-Malaki and Al-Sadr, knocking lumps out of each other.


9 posted on 04/06/2008 1:43:37 AM PDT by UKTory
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