Sadr Threatens to End Truce

Mahdi Army leader, 'worried' for Iraqis' safety, cancels anti-US protest
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 8, 2008 3:02 PM CDT
An anti-war protester demonstrates on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 8, 2008, during the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the status of the war in Iraq.    (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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(Newser) – Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr today threatened to end the cease-fire he imposed last year on his Mahdi militia, CNN reports, and called off a massive protest set for tomorrow, the fifth anniversary of the end of Saddam Hussein’s rule. Hundreds had converged on Baghdad—despite orders to keep young men out—before Sadr called off the event.

The cleric said the protest should be postponed because he worried for the safety of the demonstrators. The Mahdi Army, he added, will provide Iraqis with “all that they need,” even if it “requires ending the freeze to implement our goals, beliefs, religion, principles and nationalism.” Sadr’s more-combative stance likely comes as a result of the government’s recent failed offensive against the militia.