This is not the first time that Sadr has given advice to the Maliki government on security issues. In his latest statement, he reiterated his call for “[the need to] consolidate intelligence efforts by using the correct methods and working hard to defuse sectarian tension.”
However, Sadr’s statement clearly indicated that Maliki wants to engage in an internal war in the country. He said, “We have learned that the prime minister wants to declare the start of a sectarian war in Iraq.”
Sadr called on the government to “unite [political forces], but not through banquets and economic forums attended by Israelis, but purely national meetings which I have called for and accepted to attend.”
Sadr concluded his statement and calls for the people and government by saying: “This is the last call I make to the people on one hand, and the government on the other hand. Forewarned is forearmed. Oh God, I have warned.”
Sadr’s position coincided with security developments that followed a series of bombings. Armed men deployed in towns in central Baghdad and its suburbs. Eyewitnesses and security sources provided conflicting accounts regarding the identity of the gunmen, but some stated that they belong to the Asaib Ahl al-Haq.
Asaib Ahl al-Haq is an insurgent group that defected from the Sadrist current about five years ago. Last year, Qais al-Khazali, the group’s leader, expressed [favorable] positions toward the prime minister and declared that [his group] was defending the Shiites in Iraq. This raised the concerns of Sunni parties in the government.