The three-day curfew in Baghdad was lifted on Monday, allowing residents to leave their homes. Rocket and mortar fire continued in the Green Zone, however, despite a truce called by Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.
FRANCE 24 correspondents Guillaume Martin and Lucas Menget report from Iraq. Interested in finding out more about their experiences on the ground? Read our Reporter's Notebook.
Sadr called his Mehdi Army fighters off the streets on Sunday, nearly a week after Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki launched a crackdown on them, sparking clashes that spread through the mainly Shi’ite south and also the capital.
Political analysts said the government offensive in the oil
The crackdown also exposed a deep rift within
“What has happened has weakened the government and shown the weakness of the state. Now the capability of the state to control
Life slowly returned to normal in
Shops began to reopen. Authorities said schools would reopen on Tuesday. Residents hosed down the hulks of burnt-out cars and carried the dead in coffins in their trunks.
“We have control of the towns around
The government painted the crackdown as an attempt to assert state authority in a lawless city. Militias have fought for influence in
The Sadrists, who boycotted the last elections in 2005, are vying for control of the south with the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, a backer of Maliki’s administration.
Violence could return before the elections, said Mustafa Alani, analyst at the Dubai-based Gulf Research Centre.
“It will be a short honeymoon, especially with election time coming up ... Things will escalate before they decline.”
ROCKETS HIT GREEN ZONE
“The attacks haven’t stopped. There’s still a lot of enemy out there, we’re not going to quit protecting the populace,” Cheadle said. But he said fighting in the capital had eased over the past two days and
Another three gunmen were killed by
The area remained sealed off by
Reuters correspondents said southern towns that have seen fighting such as Kut, Hilla and Nassiriya also seemed quieter.
The operation was the biggest test yet for the government’s troops, but yielded little success in driving fighters from the streets.
Gareth Stansfield, a professor of Middle East politics at the
“Maliki’s credibility is shot at this point. He really thought his security forces could do this. But he’s failed.”
Sadr announced the surprise ceasefire after talks behind the scenes with parties in Maliki’s government. As part of the deal, Sadr’s aides say, authorities are to end roundups of his followers and implement an amnesty to free prisoners.
The Interior Ministry said 210 people had been killed and 600 wounded in
Scores more died elsewhere in the capital and the south.
Date created : 2008-04-01