Finally getting serious with the militias?
It seems that finally Al-Maliki is strong enough (or perceives he is) to tell Al-Sadr to go rot. For any 'nation-building' to have any chance of success, the government of Iraq must be totally involved and this looks like a promising step. Of course there have been other steps that didn't pan out, but I'll be optimistic on this one until I see the results.
Iraq PM tells Shiite militias to give up
1/10/2007, 7:05 p.m. ETBy STEVEN R. HURST and QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRAThe Associated Press
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) — Iraq's prime minister has told Shiite militiamen to surrender their arms or face an all-out assault by U.S.-backed Iraqi forces, senior Iraqi officials said Wednesday, as President Bush said he will commit an additional 21,500 American combat troops to the war.
Under pressure from the U.S., Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has agreed to crack down on fighters controlled by his most powerful political ally, Muqtada al-Sadr, a radical Shiite cleric, according to officials. Previously, al-Maliki had resisted the move.
"Prime Minister al-Maliki has told everyone that there will be no escape from attack," a senior Shiite legislator and close al-Maliki adviser said. "The government has told the Sadrists: 'If we want to build a state we have no other choice but to attack armed groups.'"(link)
If nothing else, the Iraqi government's intention to allow attacks against the militias may cut down on the violence that the everyday Iraqi faces, as the militias will become defensive. They cannot stand against the U.S. backed Iraqi forces if the latter is given the green light to go all out.
The Anchoress is tieing up all the loose ends on the surge and reactions to (against) it.
Reason for optimism