Where is the political will to deal with al-Sadr, whose henchmen are at the epicenter of this activity? From the New York Times, also known as the New Duranty Times:
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Aug. 11 “” Iran is pressing Shiite militias here to step up attacks against the American-led forces in retaliation for the Israeli assault on Lebanon, the American ambassador to Iraq said Friday. Iran may foment even more violence as it faces off with the United States and United Nations over its nuclear program in the coming weeks, he
The Iranian incitement has led to a surge in mortar and rocket attacks on the fortified Green Zone, said the ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad.
The Shiite guerrillas behind the recent attacks are members of splinter groups of the Mahdi Army, the powerful militia created by the radical Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr, Mr. Khalilzad said.
The splinter groups have ties to Iran, which is governed by Shiite Persians, and to Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Shiite Arab militia in Lebanon that has been battling Israel for a month, the ambassador added.
There is evidence that Iran is pushing for more attacks, he said, without offering any specifics. But he acknowledged that there was no proof that Iran was directing any particular operations by militias here.
“Iran is seeking to put more pressure, encourage more pressure on the coalition from the forces that they are allied with here, and the same is maybe true of Hezbollah,” Mr. Khalilzad said in an interview Friday in his home inside the Green Zone.
His remarks are the first public statements by a senior Bush administration official directly linking violence in Iraq to American support of Israel’s military campaign in Lebanon, and to growing pressure by the United States over Iran’s nuclear program. Until now, American officials have not publicly drawn a direct connection between Shiite militant groups here and Hezbollah in Lebanon.