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Patrick Cockburn, author of the book Muqtada, tells Pepe Escobar that Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s recent military offensive against al-Sadr may be an attempt to control the outcome of provisional elections to be held this fall, which al-Sadr and his allies are likely to win. Cockburn concludes a new phase in the war may have started, where large sections of Shia militias enter the fight against US occupation.

This is important for us all to here:

"AL-SADR: I told him that we share the same ideology, but that politically and militarily, I would not be an extension of Iran, and that there were negative things that Iran was doing in Iraq."

And this...

"Muqtada has always refused to speak to them. Now, initially, in the first few years of the occupation, they weren't that interested in negotiating; now they're very interested in negotiating, but Muqtada won't talk to them, except about ending the occupation."

Once again, the occupation will have to end to have any kind of real peace. Would any of us put up with a foreign occupation, even if it was in the name of "democracy"?

More and full transcript here:

Originally posted to SteveAnderson on Wed Apr 23, 2008 at 03:31 PM PDT.

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