Coalition Battles Sadrists in East Baghdad, Amara, Basrah
The Sadrist movement deliberately attempted to provoke the British on Saturday in Amara and Basra. Their provocative actions appear to me likely to be calculated. I think they are hoping that if the British feel insecure in the South, or feel that the Americans are endangering them by pursuing radical Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr, then Blair will warn Bush to back off.
Mike Williams reports that Shaikh Abdul Sattar Bahadli provoked the violence in Basrah by mounting his pulpit on Friday and putting bounties on Coalition soldiers:
‘ Al-Sadr’s followers were roused Friday by Sheik Abdul-Sattar al-Bahadli, a senior aid to the radical cleric, who promised cash bounties of $150 for each British soldier killed, $300 for each one captured and that fighters could keep captured female British soldiers as slaves. ‘
Meanwhile, US troops assaulted Sadrist offices in East Baghdad, and British forces fought Sadrists in Amara and Basra.
Shaikh Amer al-Husaini, a supporter of Muqtada, was taken into custody by the Americans in East Baghdad.