al-Sadr's Shadow Government in Sadr City?
Has Muqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army created a shadow government in the Sadr City section of Baghdad? That's what a Kurd has told a Kurdish daily newspaper, according to Italy's AKI.
The source alleged that "the health and transport ministers, which both are headed by minsiters from the Sadr faction, have been completely monopolised by followers of this movement" adding that "in Sadr City the police forces, for example the local police, take their orders from Moqtada al-Sadr and not from the interior ministry." [...]
The former government of Iyad Allawi and the movement of al-Sadr,. who has headed two lengthly revolts against the US-led coalition forces, clashed over these courts, which have special police forces and prisons. When the authorities in Baghdad tried to close them down and disband the militias they failed.
al-Sadr's boys are suspected of much of the sectarian violence since the destruction of the 'Golden Dome' mosque in Samarra and to what extent they are in the Samarra area, very well may be partly the target of the operations in the villages north of Samarra.
If the US and Iraqi forces are picking up Farsi chatter as Operation Swarmer puts the squeeze on bad actors in the area, it is probable that some elements of al-Sadr's Mahdi Army are among them, as al-Sadr has openly stated that he and his army are 'at the service of Iran'.
This is pure speculation, but if Operation Swarmer's true targets are Iranian in origin, this would explain their sudden call for talks.
Perhaps Iran did not think the United States would do such a thing out of fear of opening a Pandora's Box wrapped in Iranian threats.
Perhaps, they now may understand, they were wrong. Perhaps.