Iran was integral in persuading Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr to halt attacks by his militia on Iraqi security forces, an Iraqi lawmaker said Monday.
Haidar al-Abadi, who is with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's Dawa Party, said Iraqi Shiite lawmakers traveled Friday to Iran to meet with al-Sadr. They returned Sunday, the day al-Sadr told his Mehdi Army fighters to stand down. . . .
The lawmakers who traveled to Iran to broker the cease-fire were from five Shiite parties, including the Sadrist movement. Al-Abadi would not say where in Iran the meeting was held.
When Iran Revolutionary Guards helped the U.S. destroy al-Qaida's bases in Afghanistan, overthrow the Taliban, and form an interim government under UN supervision, the Bush administration responded by putting Iran (then led by President Muhammad Khatami) on the "axis of evil." Now battles between the pro-Iranian militia brought to power by the U.S. (al-Da'wa) and a more Iraqi nationalist Shi'a militia (the Sadr movement) threaten to reverse the precarious security gains of the surge by dividing the ruling coalition of Shi'a parties. Iran convenes them on its territory, and the battle is calmed.
I wonder how Bush and Cheney will react this time....