Muqtada al-Sadr how to demilitarize al-Sadr
Hollinger, Matthew E.
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Muqtada al-Sadr has been one of the most influential individuals in Iraq since the U.S. invasion in March 2003. His Mahdi Army has actively confronted coalition forces and engaged in ethnic cleansing that have resulted in the displacement of thousands of Iraqis. This raises the question of how best to deal with this movement in order to stabilize Iraq. This thesis looks at the history of the Sadrist movement, explains its growth, and attempts to analyze means to integrate it into the political process. It borrows insights from the literature on how terrorism ends to make policy recommendations for the Iraqi government. A three-pronged economic, military, and political approach to channel al-Sadr into the political processes is recommended. The economic approach includes providing the services and welfare programs for poor urban Shia that make up Sadr's constituency. The military approach includes securing Shia neighborhoods from insurgent activities and bombings, a critical service that has until recently has been provided by the Sadrists. Political integration is the final and most important element in the integration process. Sadr has already displayed increased interest in institutional politics and he could be enticed to distance himself from criminal and terrorist activity.
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