Juan Cole reports that Muqtada al-Sadr has called for peace, but in a veiled threat-laden manner.
Muqtada said, "The leaders of Friday prayers throughout Iraq, from the north to the south and from east to west, must call for this peaceful demonstration among all sections of the Iraqi population, who much not be divided as to battle cry. The Iraqi people is one, from north to south."
Muqtada also called for holding "joint Friday communal prayers with both Sunnis and Shiites in the mosques," affirming that "there are no Sunni or Shiite mosques; you are a single people." He added, "We want the Occupation forces out, even if on their own timetable, in an objective fashion, as they say." He said, "Our Iraq is passing through a big crisis, insofar as enemies are entering among brethren, and spreading turmoil among you."
RJ Elliott, in a culpatory piece, admits the war-mongers might have got things wrong, but asks 'What next?' and finds no easy answers.
What it was about, instead, was taking the public's post-9/11 rage,
massaging it a bit, and then channeling it into support for the
invasion and occupation of a weak, isolated anti-American regime in the
heart of the Middle East. It was an idealistic Wilsonian attempt to
re-make the entire world as safe for liberal democracy, while
destroying Islamic terrorism in the process.
And it didn't work.
It's been almost three years since the start of "Operation Iraqi
Freedom" and things are arguably getting worse, not better. If we leave
now, civil war is a given, and al-Qaeda is guaranteed to have a
safe-haven in the western part of Iraq from which to attack our allies
and possibly even our homeland. But if we stay, we will continue to
bleed young lives and throw billions of dollars into an endeavor that
has failed to meet any of its major stated goals.
What to do from here? I don't know. All I know is this: It Didn't Work.