Iraq: April 5, 2004


Sadr militia had taken control of government buildings in Shia towns or neighborhoods from Baghdad, south to Basra. Sadr's armed militia is not large, a few thousand men, but they are dedicated to the establishment of an Islamic Republic (like the one that has ruled Iran since 1979, and is generally hated by Iranians.) The fighting has left thirty or more Iraqis and eight coalition soldiers dead so far. Sadr was threatened with arrest six months ago if he didn't calm down his fiery rhetoric.  Sadr could also feel the heat from the  coalition cracking down on his henchmen. In recent days, 13 of his followers have been arrested as suspects in the murder of a rival Shia cleric, and another eleven of Sadrs aides are being sought. Sadrs newspaper was shut down on March 28th (for printing stories blaming coalition troops for suicide bombs and the like). Sadr has sort of talked himself into a corner, telling outrageous lies (the suicide bomb attacks in Iraq are the work of Americans), and appears to feel that he can seize people with a good old revolutionary coup (as was used during the Russian revolution in 1917, and many before and since.) Sadr can't win a battle like this, and it was always hoped he would realize this. But apparently not. Now a lot of people (Iraqis and coalition troops) are going to get killed because of the foolishness of one man.

Coalition forces have defeated the armed Sadr followers in Baghdad and are moving to disarm Sadr followers in other cities and arrest their leaders. Sadr is considered a troublesome minority by most Iraqis, and most Shia. Sadr does not have a seat on the governing council, mainly because his power base is so small. But Sadr has guns and is willing to use them. 

Sadr is demanding that a date for the turnover of control of the government to Iraqis and the release of all Iraqis held prisoner by coalition forces.

Coalition forces have sealed off Fallujah, closing all roads. This is apparently in preparation of a military operation in the city.


Article Archive

Iraq: Current 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close