The Wolf over at Blackfive has a great post about the backstory of the “truce” with al Sadr in Iraq. Very interesting reading. An exerpt:
[ … ] The month of April brought the major rise in the insurgency and the coming out of a young rebel Shia cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr.
In response to the killing and mutilation to the bodies of four Blackwater employees in Fallujah, the Marines of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Forces initiated offensive operations to capture the individuals responsible and any others in the region who may be involved in insurgency or terrorist activities. The newly formed Iraqi National Guard was supposed to fight right beside the Marines in the operation, but they chickened out and ran away.
The U.S. ended up aborting its attempt to regain control of Fallujah, not because they couldn’t just wipe out the whole city and turn it into a parking lot, but because they stopped offensive operations due to heavy political pressure by the Iraqi Governing Council.
On April 10, the U.S.military declared a unilateral truce to allow for humanitarian supplies to enter Fallujah. U.S. troops pulled back to the outskirts of the city; local leaders reciprocated the ceasefire, although lower-level intense fighting on both sides continued. Iraqi negotiators had made their way into the city to broker a truce between the U.S. and local leaders, but had not been successful. Meanwhile, the insurgents capitalized on this ‘ceasefire’ to conduct their most intense offensive operations, while numerous weapons were found hidden in the humanitarian supply trucks that were attempting to enter the city.
The Fallujah ceasefire followed a wave of insurgency across southern Iraq, including An Najaf and Baghdad, which included kidnapping of military members and the execution of several civilian workers.
Coalition forces sought to negotiate a truce but clearly stated that it would restart offensive operations to retake the city if one was not reached. The main goal of the military commanders was to capture those responsible for the numerous deaths of American and Iraqi security personnel, and as the negotiations continued, insurgents continued to conduct hit-and-run attacks on U.S. Marine positions.
If Fallujah wasn’t enough, fighting also broke out in Najaf between U.S. forces and the al-Mahdi Army of al-Sadr, which launched a coordinated uprising across central and southern Iraq in an apparent attempt to seize control of the country ahead of the June 30, 2004 handover of power to a new Iraqi government.
At the end of March 2004, the CPA shut the doors of Sadr’s newspaper, Al Hawza, on charges of inciting violence that including printing detailed instructions on how to kill Coalition forces.
Sadr responded by mobilizing tens of thousands of Shia followers to demonstrations protesting the closure of the newspaper; the demonstrations escalated throughout the week in number and militancy. One of the major demonstrations was held right outside Checkpoint 3 and the Convention Center. I climbed to the roof of the building and looked past the checkpoint and couldn’t believe what I saw. The main street leading up to the checkpoint was a major roadway, and it was filled with the most demonstrators I had ever seen with my own eyes. There had to be between 50,000 and 100,000 Shiites all chanting in cadence and waving the green flags showing their support for Sadr.
Fighting broke out in Najaf, Sadr City, and Basra as Sadr’s al-Mahdi Army took over several points and attacked coalition Soldiers, killing dozens and taking many casualties of its own in the process. Sadr finally realized that he couldn’t win a military fight against the Coalition, so he came to his senses and brokered a truce that would eventually de-arm his militia while keeping the cleric himself out of jail.
Muqtada al-Sadr was a force to reckoned with even if the CPA and the Coalition didn’t want to admit it publicly. We all knew that this would not be the end of him, but we also knew that we could knock this fucker off any time we wanted.
While everyone thought the American military had forced Sadr into a truce, what happened behind the scenes really shows how many different organizations had a hand in the inner workings of daily workings of what was happening in Baghdad. It was an alphabet soup including the FBI, CID, DEA and, of course, the OGA, which really was the CIA.
It turns out the truce with Sadr had nothing to do with the military at all, but only a select few leaders knew the real story of what went on in an office right above the CPIC at the Convention Center. [ … ]
Be sure to go read it all. This is the kind of analysis you do not get from our politicians or our mass media “journalists”.