As The Economist reported last week:
Iraqis must hope that his boss keeps things that way, said the sheikh, whose tribe includes both Sunnis and Shias. If Mr Sadr’s men return to their “old ways”, he said, Baghdad and Iraq could be divided for ever.
As the six-month truce nears its end and speculation rises as to whether Mr Sadr will renew it, other leading figures in his movement note a bellicose impatience among the rank and file.
Well, turns out Mr Sadr himself isn’t feeling all that bellicose. As CNN reports:
Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has extended the cease-fire he imposed last summer on his Mehdi Army militia for another six months, al-Sadr’s office in Baghdad said on Friday.
I guess that’s generally good news and certainly a whole lot better than the alternative. Still, it’s doubtful whether Mr Sadr is really all that interested in working together with the United States. So the general message stays the same: fix the place up just enough to keep it from exploding and then get the hell out of there. For the strategy, this seems a good development. As for Mr McCain’s ‘Let’s stay in Iraq for a hundred years’ – not so much. It remains to be seen whether Iraq can turn into a real democracy – something like Pakistan seems to have achieved with its current election. But then, that one’s probably too early to be called a success.