CPA charges Muqtada in Bombings
The Coalition Provisional Authority is charging Muqtada al-Sadr with being behind many of the recent suicide bombings and assassination attempts, including the bombing of the Baghdad Hotel on Sunday and even the Aug. 29 bombing in Najaf.
I think the CPA must know that the Najaf bombing in particular was clearly the action of the Baath remnants, having the same m.o. and materiel as the previous bombing at the UN HQ. Since Muqtada had no reason to bomb the UN HQ, but Saddam did, it stands to reason that the Baath also did the Najaf bombing. And probably the Baghdad Hotel, as well.
Muqtada is clearly capable of violence, but I haven’t seen anything in open sources to make me think he is systematically assassinating IGC members. Muwaffaq al-Rubaie, who was wounded in the Baghdad Hotel bombing, does not think it was the work of Muqtada, either.
My suspicion is that the CPA put out this story in order to put pressure on Muqtada to come to heel. He certainly is a source of instability, and nevertheless it is hard to arrest him because that would cause real trouble. But if you threaten him with arrest, he might quieten down, which would be the best outcome.
If this is what is going on, it is a dangerous game and likely to fail. Muqtada and his father stood up to Saddam, and the Americans hold no horrors for him in comparison. He is not from a family that backs down, even if it means risking one’s life. And, if the US puts around rumors that Muqtada is committing major acts of violence, yet does not arrest him, it makes the US look weak and helpless, encouraging others to defy it as well.