Al-Sadr Tells Iraqi Militias to Stop Attacking US Troops
Because he wants troops to leave Iraq on time
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 12, 2011 2:25 PM CDT
Updated Sep 12, 2011 2:38 PM CDT
In this Sept. 22, 2006 file photo, radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr delivering a Friday sermon, in a Mosque, in Kufa, Iraq.   (AP Photo/Alaa Al-Marjani, File)

(Newser) – Radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has ordered his followers to stop attacking US troops—to make sure they get out of Iraq on time. “Out of my desire to complete Iraq’s independence … I am obliged to halt military operations of the honest Iraqi resistance until the withdrawal of the occupation forces is complete,” the US' longtime foe wrote on his website late Saturday, according to the AP.

But the cleric warned that “if the withdrawal doesn’t happen … the military operations will be resumed in a new and tougher way.” The 45,000 US troops still in Iraq are supposed to be out by the end of the year under the current Status of Forces Agreement, but some Iraqi leaders are pushing to extend that deadline, and Sadr doesn’t want to give them any excuses.