Important Step in Iraq

  • 24 February 2008

The decision by Iraqi Shiite leader, Moqtada Al-Sadr, announced two days ago, to prolong of the suspension of military activities of his militia (Al-Mahdy Army) for six more months—up to August 16—has been welcomed at various levels. The last suspension lasted for six months and it helped in relieving the security situation in Iraq. The move had come in the wake of accusations against some members of Al-Mahdy Army for causing sectarian tensions between Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq.

Undoubtedly, the security situation in Iraq has improved in the last few months. The announcement by Moqtada Al-Sadr last Friday would further strengthen this progress and help create suitable circumstances for supporting and reinforcing it in the upcoming period. Another measure that can bring about an important change at the security and political levels would be the dismantling of militias linked to Iraqi political forces because the existence of these militias is a major obstacle for improving the security situation and is like a bomb that could blow up at any time. It also perpetuates mistrust among various forces and movements and undermines the national agreement that requires confidence among all sides and the return to a national system under a single Iraqi military.

Developments in Iraq have confirmed that armed militias pose the biggest threat to national security, as they spread religious fanaticism and divisions among Iraqis and impede the process of building a united Iraq for all Iraqis. For this reason, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki on his election vowed to dismantle these militias. However, they exist to the present day. The fact indicates that Iraq still needs greater efforts for developing Iraqi nationality on a new and stronger basis. However, the task of dissolving armed militias is difficult in the wake of existing political divisions in Iraq. A comprehensive agreement among all parties could be the right way for securing this objective as it could allay doubts and suspicion among various parties and sects. Therefore, any cause for the existence of any sectarian militia would be removed.