Doesn't Sound As Though He Is Too Worried
I recall when these couterattacks first started, a number of commenters around the various blogs opined that this was a last-gasp assault, after which resistance would be broken. But Sadr certainly sounds as though he is speaking from a secure position:
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, whose militia has been fighting with U.S. troops throughout Iraq, issued demands to the coalition through his deputy on Saturday.
Al-Sadr accuses the coalition of starting the violence, and said the coalition's shutdown of a pro-Sadr newspaper was the catalyst.
Clerical deputy Sheikh Raed al-Kadhim, interviewed by CNN, said the al-Sadr people "have a peaceful position" and al-Sadr is a peaceful man.
Among other points, al-Kadhim said the cleric wants "to get back the voice of Iraq" and to have Saddam Hussein tried in a Supreme Court.
Al-Sadr is also asking for release of all of his followers who have been arrested and for a guaranteed date for withdrawal of occupation forces from Iraq.
And although the American media have done a remarkably consistent job of erasing or obscuring the reality of Iraqi civilian casualties, Sadr is not so very delicate:
Al-Kadhim said coalition forces "have killed innocent people, women, and children ... and still our position remains one that is trying to be peaceful, but they don't let us."