two of Iraq’s most powerful Shiite leaders agreed on Saturday to end a bitter rivalry in a bid to end months of armed clashes and assassinations in the oil-rich south that have threatened to spread into a wider conflict.

seems that moqtada al-sadr, in addition to addition to the six month cease fire in southern iraq about the time the brits pulled out of basra…much to chimpys’ ire…announced saturday that he and his arch rival, and the chimps’ bff abdul aziz al-hakim have reached a peace agreement:

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki welcomed on Sunday a pact to end violence between the country’s two most powerful Shiite leaders Moqtada al-Sadr and Abdel Aziz al-Hakim.

Sadr, the leader of Iraq’s most popular Shiite movement, and Hakim, the head of the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council (SIIC), a pillar of Maliki’s ruling coalition, announced their deal on Saturday.

We received news of the signing of an agreement between the leaders of SIIC and the Sadr Movement with deep comfort,” Maliki said in a statement.

This agreement came at the right time and expressed a high sense of religious and national responsibility,” added the statement from Maliki, himself a Shiite who leads the Dawa party at the head of the ruling coalition.

Sadr’s six ministers have boycotted Maliki’s government since April and his spokesman said Sunday the accord did not signify a turnaround on the political front…

hindustan times

additional reporting via the nyt, downplays [obviously] the significance for basra and the south, and pushes the meme that this is a sign of progress for malarki:

…The agreement was a positive sign for the government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki because support from the political wings of both men’s organizations is seen as necessary to avoid a vote of no confidence in Parliament. Though both groups are in the government, violence between Mr. Sadr’s militia, the Mahdi Army, and the armed wing of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, led by Mr. Hakim, has simmered in southern Iraq for four years. It was not clear how far the agreement would go toward ending the fighting.

In the agreement, the two men signed off on three broadly worded points, Liwa Smeism, a political aide to Mr. Sadr, said in a telephone interview. They called for a cease-fire, an end to negative propaganda in the news media and the formation of joint committees in the provinces to mediate disputes, Mr. Smeism said.

it would appear, to me, that the sooner we leave and let the various factions get on with the business of sorting out their respective differences that there will likely be a reduction in the overall level of violence. it’s not inconceivable, imo, that it could well be significantly lower than many believe, especially if what appears to be happening is basra is any indication.  not good news for BushCo™ and it’s apologists and enablers, especially those hawks who subscribe to the chaos theory.

we shall see.

lTMF’sA

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