Muqtada Sadr, the radical anti-American cleric, has backed away from confrontation with U.S. and Iraqi forces in recent weeks, a move that has surprised U.S. officials who long have characterized his followers as among the greatest threats to Iraq’s security.
Thursday, a leader of the Sadr movement in one of its Baghdad strongholds publicly endorsed President Bush’s new Iraq security plan, which at least some U.S. officials have touted as a way to combat Sadr’s group.
“We will fully cooperate with the government to make the plan successful,” said Abdul-Hussein Kaabai, head of the local council in the Shiite Muslim-dominated Sadr City neighborhood. “If it is an Iraqi plan done by the government, we will cooperate.”
Over the last several weeks, the Shiite cleric and his followers have dropped their threats to quit Iraq’s U.S.-backed government, and after years of shunning the “occupier,” they have allowed their emissaries to meet with U.S. officials.
Someoneâ€™s feeling the heat!