Mehdi Army Commander: 'They will see black days like they have never seen before in their life'
By Brad Friedman on 4/19/2008, 7:02pm PT  

The "surge is working" surge may not be "working" for much longer, now that al-Sadr is threatening to lift, in the next 24 hours, the 7-month long Mehdi Army cease-fire which made the surge appear to be working in the first place.

Sure hope Stephanopoulos asks McCain why he doesn't wear a flag pin on tomorrow's This Week.

The latest ominous news, breaking over the past few hours out of Iraq, as culled from Cernig's round-up at Newshogger follows [emphasis Cernig's]...

Via AP and Fox:

[Muqtada al-Sadr] says he is giving his final warning to the Iraqi government to stop working with the U.S. military against him or he will "declare an open war until liberation."

The threat to lift a more than 7-month-old cease-fire comes amid fighting between al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia and U.S.-Iraqi troops in Baghdad's Sadr City and the southern city of Basra.

More from AP:

I direct my last warning and speech to the Iraqi government to refrain and to take the path of peace and abandon violence against its people," al-Sadr said in the statement. "If the government does not refrain and leash the militias that have penetrated it, we will announce an open war until liberation."


A rebellion by Sadr's Mehdi Army militia --- which has tens of thousands of fighters --- could also reverse overall security gains at a time when U.S. forces are starting to leave Iraq.

...In Sadr's Baghdad stronghold of Sadr City, one Mehdi Army commander said he was "thrilled" about the statement.

"We will wait until tomorrow to see the response of the government. Otherwise they will see black days like they have never seen before in their life."

Cernig concludes, "So, a 24 hour ultimatum," and adds via email: "I've already seen one military analyst on another private grouplist say that if this breaks wrong we could be talking helicopters from rooftops before too long."

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