RealNews

Subtle strategy, lethal tactics pushed Iraqi cleric into deal

As he prepared last month to send soldiers across a volatile swath of Iraq to battle a rebel militia threatening to ignite a wider Shiite Muslim uprising, U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Martin Dempsey provided lethal instructions. “Tactically, what we said to our soldiers is, `If you are attacked, turn and fight and finish it,”‘ Dempsey recalled. “Don’t allow the militia to live to fight another day.” The blunt instructions, backed by a subtle strategy, pressured rebel Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr and his al-Mahdi Army militia, eventually backing them into a corner with almost no way out. After seven weeks of the bloodiest skirmishes since President Bush declared an end to major combat operations in Iraq in May 2003, a cease-fire of sorts began late last week in parts of Sadr’s last strongholds of Najaf and nearby Kufa as the rebel cleric sought a negotiated way out of his improbable fight with the Americans. Full Story

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