"They no longer have a right to participate in the political process or take part in the upcoming elections unless they end the Mehdi Army."Does the same rule apply to all political parties and private militia in Iraq? This could be a very quiet election!
Or maybe al-Maliki is just trying to scare people off the streets ahead of tomorrow's big anti-US demonstrations? Hmmn?
Juan Cole reports that a blockade of Sadr City is leading to food shortages. He says the Mehdi Army gets $2 billion a year from blackmarket oil sales, and may be buying better weapons with it. But Cole doesn't think it's fair to blame Iran for that, and he goes into some detail dismantling the increasingly common equation of Al Sadr with Iranian influence. Of course, that won't stop Cheney, Petraeus and McCain from peddling the line.
Elsewhere, the Iranians are urging OPEC to drop US dollar pegging.
And (also via ICH), the Saudis are calling for Israel to open its nuclear facilities to UN inspectors and sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. That sounds eminently sensible to me, given that Israeli nukes are no longer a state secret. Let's hear Kevin Rudd support that, eh?