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News, March 2008


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Editorial Note: The following news reports are summaries from original sources. They may also include corrections of Arabic names and political terminology. Comments are in parentheses.

Praised By Miliki, Sadr Orders his Followers to Cease Fire

Sadr orders followers to cease fire

Arbil - Voices of Iraq
Sunday , 30 /03 /2008  Time 11:05:41
Arbil, Mar 30, (VOI)

Leader of Al-Mahdi Army militia, Muqtada al-Sadr, gave instructions to his supporters on Sunday to cease fire, according to the semi-official al-Iraqiya TV station. 

"Sadr has sent a message to his loyalists urging them to end all armed activities," the TV channel said.
Sadr, according to the channel close to the Iraqi government, "disowned anyone attacking the state institutions or parties' offices and headquarters."

"Based on responsibility towards Iraq and to stem Iraqi bloodshed and to preserve the country's unity and integrity as a prelude to its independence, I call on the people to be up to their responsibility and awareness in order to maintain Iraq's stability," Sadr said in a statement received by Aswat al-Iraq Voices of Iraq (VOI).

Al-Sadr appealed to the government to stop illegal raids and random detention campaigns and release all non-convicted detainees, particularly the members of the Sadrist bloc.
The Sadrists occupy 30 out of a total 275 seats in the Iraqi parliament.

Armed confrontations have been flaring up in Basra, Iraq's second largest city and oil hub, since Tuesday between government forces and the leader Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militias. The clashes coincided with angry upheavals in several southern provinces, where Sadr supporters spread.
The Iraqi authorities declared a curfew in Baghdad and the provinces of Basra, Wassit, Babel, Diwaniya, Thi-Qar and Karbala to avoid further clashes that left dozens killed and wounded during the past few days.

The clashes broke out hours after Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki declared a plan codenamed Saulat al-Forsan (Knights' Assault), which he said targeted the elimination of armed groups in Basra.


Al-Maliki: Sadr's statement is a step in the right direction

Baghdad - Voices of Iraq
Sunday , 30 /03 /2008  Time 11:05:41
Baghdad, Mar 30, (VOI)

US-backed Iraq premier, Nouri al-Maliki, said on Sunday that Sayid Muqtada al-Sadr made "a step in the right direction" by urging his followers to cancel all armed scenes, stressing that Fardh al-Qanoon (Law Imposing) in Basra did not target any political or religious side, including the Sadrist bloc. 

"The statement issued by Sayid Muqtada al-Sadr is considered a step on the right path that we hope will contribute to security stability, impose the law's authority, and prepare environments to continue construction and rebuilding," said a release issued by Maliki's office.

The release quoted al-Maliki as saying, "Fardh al-Qanoon (Law Imposing) in Basra did not target any political or religious side, including the Sadr bloc."

Earlier on Sunday, Muqtada al-Sadr gave instructions to his supporters to cease fire in Basra, and all other provinces.


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