Obviously so far the surge is directed almost entirely against Sunnis. This is sure to please the Shia militias who can just lay low and not cause waves for a while and watch the Sunnis suffer.
Iraq Official: Rice Criticizes Crackdown
By QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA, Associated Press Writer
Saturday, February 17, 2007
(02-17) 10:25 PST BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) --
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told Iraqi leaders Saturday that the Baghdad security operation needs to "rise above sectarianism" and noted that no U.S. or Iraqi forces have yet moved into the capital's major Shiite militia stronghold, an Iraqi official said.
The official, who was familiar with the discussions, said Rice told Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki that the initial stage of the crackdown, which began Wednesday, appeared to focus on Sunni areas and had left Sadr City, stronghold of the Mahdi Army militia, nearly untouched.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to release the information to the media.
He said Rice stopped short of accusing the Iraqis of displaying pro-Shiite bias in the operation and said it appeared that the security crackdown was going well.
Top Sunni politicians have also complained that Sunni neighborhoods have been targeted for raids and searches while Sadr City and other Shiite militia hideouts have been spared.
She told the Iraqis that the operation must "rise above sectarianism" and that this was the "last chance for success," he said without elaborating.
The Iraqis, however, told her that the Mahdi Army and its leader Muqtada al-Sadr had been losing influence and were cooperating with authorities on security issues, the official said.
The Iraqis said they did not want to "waste our resources in a place that's stable," the official added.
He did not say how Rice responded.
Before the operation began, U.S. officers said privately that the Shiite-dominated security forces were resisting calls to move against al-Sadr's forces quickly, arguing that the main threat to stability came from Sunni insurgents.