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By Molly Hennessy-Fiske and Molly Hennessy-Fiske,Los Angeles Times | July 28, 2007
BAGHDAD -- U.S. and Iraqi forces clashed with Shiite militants during a raid in the southern holy city of Karbala yesterday in which they captured a militia commander accused of orchestrating attacks on Iraqi officials and American soldiers. In political developments, President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, chastised Iraq's largest Sunni political bloc for withdrawing from the Cabinet last week, saying the bloc has "shown sympathy, if not outright support to terrorist forces" including affiliates of al-Qaida.
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NEWS
By Ashraf Khalil and Ashraf Khalil,LOS ANGELES TIMES | June 10, 2008
BAGHDAD - Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki concluded a three-day visit to Iran after meeting yesterday with Ayatollah Ali Khameni, who warned that the continued presence of U.S. troops in Iraq is "the main obstacle on the way to progress and prosperity in Iraq." The session with Khameni, Iran's top religious and political authority, served to further highlight the delicate position of the Iraqi government, caught between the United States and Iran, each seeking to pull Iraq out of the other's sphere of influence.
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NEWS
By New York Times News Service | February 23, 2008
BAGHDAD -- Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr ordered his Mahdi Army militia yesterday to extend its cease-fire for six months, boosting hopes that a recent trend toward sharply lower Iraqi civilian and American military deaths in Baghdad would continue. His announcement, read by Sadrist clerics at mosques throughout southern and central Iraq, came precisely two years after the bombing of a revered Shiite shrine in Samarra that unleashed a wave of sectarian violence across Iraq. After the bombing, al-Sadr's huge militia rampaged through Sunni neighborhoods of Baghdad, killing hundreds of Sunnis every week and seizing control of three-quarters of the city.
NEWS
By Alexandra Zavis and Alexandra Zavis,LOS ANGELES TIMES | May 12, 2008
BAGHDAD -- Fighting ebbed and residents began emerging from their homes as a deal to halt the violence took effect yesterday in Sadr City, the Baghdad slum that has been the focus of clashes pitting U.S. and Iraqi forces against militiamen loyal to radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. But after more than seven weeks of bloodshed, officials and residents were cautious about declaring the hostilities over. U.S. and Iraqi officials said they were limiting operations yesterday to give the agreement negotiated by Shiite political factions, and endorsed by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a chance to take hold.
NEWS
By Mike Dorning and Mike Dorning,CHICAGO TRIBUNE | August 12, 2004
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- After preparing all day for an attack on militia in and around Shiite Islam's holiest shrine, American commanders in Najaf, Iraq, abruptly changed plans yesterday and postponed a confrontation with radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. Marine commanders cited unspecified delays in the planning of the assault, to be carried out in conjunction with Iraqi national guardsmen in hopes of deflecting Iraqi anger about damage bound to be caused to the Imam Ali mosque, where al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army militia are believed to be hiding.
NEWS
By Liz Sly and Liz Sly,CHICAGO TRIBUNE | August 22, 2004
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Renewed clashes erupted around the Imam Ali shrine in Najaf yesterday as yet another opportunity to end the bloody confrontation between rebel cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and U.S. forces appeared to pass. Al-Sadr's militia remained firmly in control of the gold-domed mosque compound in Najaf and showed no sign that it was preparing to leave, witnesses said. A flurry of activity the previous day had suggested that the fighters were about to hand over control of the shrine to local religious authorities.
NEWS
By Alexandra Zavis and Alexandra Zavis,Los Angeles Times | April 26, 2008
BAGHDAD -- Radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr reminded his followers yesterday to observe a truce that has been nearing collapse, pulling back from a showdown with fellow Shiite Muslims in the Iraqi government. In a statement read in mosques during Friday prayers, al-Sadr said his recent threat of "open war" was aimed only at U.S.-led forces and urged his followers not to fight Iraqi troops. He also urged the Iraqi police and army "to be close to their people and far from the occupier, because we will not be blessed with peace as long as they occupy our land."
NEWS
By Ned Parker and Ned Parker,Los Angeles Times | April 7, 2007
BAGHDAD -- Iraqi and U.S. soldiers battled with Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army yesterday in the south-central Iraqi city of Diwaniyah that has been in the throes of a Shiite power struggle. As many as six Mahdi Army members were killed, 27 were detained and six wounded during fighting, the U.S. military said. "There was steady resistance through the day," U.S. Army spokesman Lt. Col. Scott Bleichwehl said. A man named Jassim from al-Sadr's Diwaniyah office said U.S. troops had entered the city at pre-dawn from three locations with tanks and helicopters flying overhead, taunting the Mahdi Army fighters.
NEWS
By Liz Sly and Liz Sly,CHICAGO TRIBUNE | April 7, 2008
BAGHDAD -- Rocket attacks against the Green Zone and a U.S. military base in Baghdad killed three U.S. soldiers and injured 31 yesterday while more than 20 people died in fresh clashes between U.S. forces and the Shiite Mahdi Army militia in the volatile Sadr City enclave, despite a cease-fire declared last week. The renewed violence came as the country's squabbling Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish factions rallied behind the Iraqi government's effort to confront the Mahdi Army militia, giving a boost to beleaguered Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
NEWS
By Ned Parker and Ned Parker,LOS ANGELES TIMES | September 12, 2007
BAGHDAD -- U.S. diplomats and military officers have held talks with members of the armed movement loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr, a sharp reversal of previous policy and a grudging recognition that the radical Shiite cleric holds a dominant position in much of Baghdad and other parts of Iraq. The secret dialogue has gone on since at least early 2006 but appeared to yield a tangible result only in the past week - a relative calm in an area of western Baghdad that has been among the capital's most dangerous regions.
NEWS
By Alexandra Zavis and Alexandra Zavis,Los Angeles Times | April 26, 2008
BAGHDAD -- Radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr reminded his followers yesterday to observe a truce that has been nearing collapse, pulling back from a showdown with fellow Shiite Muslims in the Iraqi government. In a statement read in mosques during Friday prayers, al-Sadr said his recent threat of "open war" was aimed only at U.S.-led forces and urged his followers not to fight Iraqi troops. He also urged the Iraqi police and army "to be close to their people and far from the occupier, because we will not be blessed with peace as long as they occupy our land."
NEWS
By Ned Parker and Saif Hameed and Ned Parker and Saif Hameed,LOS ANGELES TIMES | April 24, 2008
BAGHDAD -- An Arab satellite news channel reported that a man suspected of being Izzat Ibrahim Douri, who tops Iraq's most-wanted list, was captured yesterday by Iraqi soldiers in the northern part of the country. The Al Arabiya channel said that the suspect was caught during a raid in the Hamrin mountains that straddle Salahuddin, Diyala and Tamim provinces and that Iraqi officials were conducting DNA tests to confirm his identity. The U.S. military said it had no information on the raid, and one officer cautioned that there had been previous false alarms about the alleged capture of Douri in 2004 and 2005.
NEWS
By Ned Parker and Ned Parker,LOS ANGELES TIMES | April 21, 2008
BAGHDAD -- After long treating radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army militia gingerly, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice ridiculed him yesterday as a man who asks his followers to fight to the death while he resides in safety in Iran. Al-Sadr, who threatened Saturday to declare a formal end to a cease-fire he announced in August, was also described by U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker as running a weakened military organization. The taunting comments came during an unannounced visit by Rice to the Iraqi capital, in which she praised an ongoing nationwide crackdown against armed militias led by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his government security forces.
NEWS
By Tina Susman and Tina Susman,Los Angeles Times | April 20, 2008
BAGHDAD -- Hard-line Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr threatened "open war" as Iraqi and U.S. forces battled his Mahdi Army militia in two key strongholds yesterday, raising the specter that a truce credited with reducing violence could end soon. The warning was the closest the cleric has come to canceling the truce he called in August, and it coincided with an Iranian denunciation of U.S. airstrikes in support of the Shiite-led government's military offensive. The United States accuses Iran of providing training, arms and other aid to Shiite extremists.
NEWS
By Ned Parker and Tina Susman and Ned Parker and Tina Susman,LOS ANGELES TIMES | April 9, 2008
BAGHDAD -- Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al-Sadr threatened yesterday to formally end an already tattered cease-fire he had ordered his Mahdi Army militia to obey. The radical preacher also canceled plans for a protest march against the Iraqi government and its U.S. allies scheduled for today, after complaining about harassment from the authorities. The warning on the truce came on the day that U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker testified to Congress about the situation in Iraq and as U.S.-led forces continued to battle militants in Baghdad.
NEWS
By Liz Sly and Liz Sly,CHICAGO TRIBUNE | April 7, 2008
BAGHDAD -- Rocket attacks against the Green Zone and a U.S. military base in Baghdad killed three U.S. soldiers and injured 31 yesterday while more than 20 people died in fresh clashes between U.S. forces and the Shiite Mahdi Army militia in the volatile Sadr City enclave, despite a cease-fire declared last week. The renewed violence came as the country's squabbling Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish factions rallied behind the Iraqi government's effort to confront the Mahdi Army militia, giving a boost to beleaguered Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
NEWS
By New York Times News Service | March 27, 2008
BAGHDAD -- An assault by thousands of Iraqi soldiers and police officers to regain control of the southern port city of Basra stalled yesterday as Shiite militiamen in the Mahdi Army fought daylong hit-and-run battles and refused to withdraw from the neighborhoods that form their base of power there. American officials have presented the Iraqi army's attempts to secure the port city as an example of its ability to carry out a major operation against the insurgency on its own. A failure there would be a serious embarrassment for the Iraqi government and for the army, as well as for American forces eager to demonstrate that the Iraqi units they have trained can fight effectively on their own. During a briefing in Baghdad yesterday, a British military official said that of the nearly 30,000 Iraqi security forces involved in the assault, almost 16,000 were Basra police forces, which have long been suspected of being infiltrated by the same militias the assault was intended to root out. The operation is a significant political test for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who traveled to Basra to oversee the beginning of the assault.
NEWS
By New York Times News Service | August 29, 2006
BAGHDAD, Iraq --At least 20 gunmen and eight civilians were killed when the Iraqi army battled fiercely for hours yesterday with members of a militia loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shiite cleric, in the southern city of Diwaniyah, Iraqi officials said. The violence, which one Iraqi general said included militiamen executing Iraqi soldiers in a public square, amounted to the most brazen clashes in recent memory between Iraqi government forces and al-Sadr's militia. After weeks of rising tensions and skirmishes between elements of the militia and U.S.-led forces, it could increase pressure on Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, a conservative Shiite, to find a way, whether political or military or both, to quickly rein in al-Sadr's powerful militia.
NEWS
By Ned Parker and Caesar Ahmed and Ned Parker and Caesar Ahmed,Los Angeles Times | April 5, 2008
BAGHDAD -- Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki declared a halt yesterday to raids on armed Shiite Muslim gangs in Baghdad and southern Iraq, just a day after announcing his intentions to carry out operations in districts of the capital that are under de facto control of a key Shiite cleric's militia. The new statement, released by al-Maliki's office, left unanswered whether the prime minister was retreating or taking a break from his pledge to take on lawless elements often associated by U.S. and Iraqi officials with cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia.
NEWS
By New York Times News Service. | March 28, 2008
Baghdad -- In direct confrontation with the American-backed government in Iraq, thousands of supporters of the powerful Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army militia took to the streets of Baghdad yesterday to protest the Iraqi army's assault on the southern port city of Basra, as intense fighting continued there for a third day. In Basra, there seemed to be no breakthrough in the fighting by either side. As much as half of the city remained under militia control, hospitals in some parts of the city were reported full, and the violence continued to spread.
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