Monday, August 30, 2004

Looks like Quiggin Might Get His Wish

Moqtada al-Sadr appears to be coming round (subs. reqd.) to the idea that his best route to power will be through the ballot box, rather than by sheer might of arms.

BAGHDAD, Iraq – Rebel Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr called his followers across Iraq to end fighting against U.S. and Iraqi forces, a Sadr aide said.

"[He] has called for a halting of all military operations in Iraq, and we are studying the idea of joining the political process," said Naim al Kaabi, an aide to Mr. Sadr in Baghdad.

[............]

"This latest initiative shows that we want stability and security in this country by ending all confrontation in all parts of Iraq," said Sheik Raed al Khadami, Mr. Sadr's spokesman in Baghdad. "Al Sadr's office in Najaf will call within the next two days to join the political process."
I'd have preferred the man dead myself, but even this much represents some sort of progress, as Sadr's position had formerly been an outright rejection of the electoral process itself. To the extent that his recent close brush with death helped change his mind, the siege in Najaf can't be dismissed as having been in vain.