Friday, Mar. 19, 2010

August 2007
Sectarian Cease-Fire

"What really matters here is actions, and so those are the measures of merit that we'll be watching for."

U.S. military spokesman Brig. Gen. Kevin Bergner after anti-American Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr announced a six month freeze in military actions by his militia, the Mahdi Army

On August 15, with temperatures reaching nearly 130 degrees in Baghdad, anti-American Shi'ite cleric Moktada al-Sadr announces that military operations for his Madhi Army will be suspended for six months after the group is accused of murdering 52 Iraqi civilians in Karbala, one of Iraq's holiest cities, during a clash with rival militia members in what the New York Times calls "a politically embarrassing example of Shiite-on-Shiite violence." Six months later, al-Sadr would renew the ceasefire, although reports suggest an uncomfortable link between Iran and Iraq's militias. The day before the ceasefire is announced, in the single worst attack since the war's launch, suicide bombers detonate exposives-laden fuel tankers in northwestern Iraq, killing more than 500 and wounding nearly 1,500 members of the Yazidi tribe. No groups come forward to claim responsibility, but officials suspect al Qaeda-linked Sunni insurgents.