The movement must really be in turmoil if one spokesman’s telling CNN that the clerics declined to order them to disband and another spokesman’s claiming they never intended to ask the clerics in the first place, huh?
Actually, it’s better than that. From last night’s CNN piece:
Iraq’s top Shiite religious leaders have told anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr not to disband his Mehdi Army, an al-Sadr spokesman said Monday amid fresh fighting in the militia’s Baghdad strongholds…
Sadr spokesman Salah al-Obeidi said al-Sadr has consulted with Iraq’s Shiite clerical leadership “and they refused that.” He did not provide details of the talks.
And from the Iraqi news agency Aswat al-Iraq:
The official spokesman for al-Sadr’s office on Monday denied that Shiite Cleric Muqtada al-Sadr had referred the dissolution of al-Mahdi army to Shiite clerics, describing reports in this regard as inaccurate.
“Shiite Cleric Muqtada al-Sadr did not think of dissolving al-Mahdi army,” Sheikh Salah al-Ubeidi told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq – (VOI), noting that “we have no right to interfere in freezing or dissolving al-Mahdi army because it is an exclusive right of Muqtada al-Sadr.”
Three possibilities: (1) translation error; (2) Aswat has some sort of sectarian agenda and can’t be trusted; (3) Sadr did in fact consult the clerics, didn’t get the answer he was looking for, and now he’s spinning every which way but loose to save face. What’d I miss?