As General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker get ready to give their brief before Congress on Tuesday and Wednesday, it seems the upsurge is starting to really downsurge when it comes to violence.
Prime Minister al-Maliki has given Mahdi Army leader and erstwhile political hack al-Sadr an ultimatum, disarm his militia or kiss any future chance of playing politics good-bye. In an attempt to once again play on both sides of the street, al-Sadr says he will disarm if he is told by top Shiite clerics. Al-Sadr is trying to save face by this move, if the clerics tell him to disarm then he is disarming because higher religious authority is telling him to and not because the Iraqi government in the form of al-Maliki is telling him to.
Strangely the clerics that al-Sadr is running to for cover are not saying a word. Perhaps they are also tired of al-Sadr's antics and have decided to let al-Maliki drum al-Sadr right out of this world. Al-Sadr has tried this tactic before; order an attack and when his forces are soundly drubbed he calls for hudna and goes back to being a politician. This time the math is not the same. Instead of only facing American troops, he is also facing Iraqi troops. This is where al-Maliki has the trump card, al-Sadr is revolting against the popularly elected government of Iraq. So in order to maintain order in Iraq, al-Sadr can be squashed like the bug he is by al-Maliki. And perhaps the Shiite clerics also see this paradigm change and will not intervene because of this. Al-Sadr better figure this out quick or the only thing left of him will be his face.