Friday, Mar. 19, 2010

May 2008
Open City

"We are not afraid to go anywhere. We did not come to go against any political party. We're only after the outlaws."

Iraqi Sgt. Romi Sayah, after moving into Baghdad's Sadr City, to The Washington Post

The Iraqi government reaches an agreement with the Mahdi Army, the paramilitary group in control of Sadr City. The militia controlled the heavily Shi'ite section of Baghdad until May 10, when Mahdi leadership, on behalf of radical Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, agrees to cede the area to Iraqi troops. The Iraqi army enters Sadr City on May 20 in an operation the central government sees as an indication that it is increasingly capable of managing its own security. The truce largely ends a particularly brutal seven-week string of violence in Sadr City that left nearly a thousand Iraqis dead. Earlier in the month the U.S. government renews the contract of the private-security firm Blackwater, despite Iraqi allegations that Blackwater guards killed 17 Iraqi civilians in Sept. 2007.