BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- The Mehdi Army cease-fire that has been credited with helping to reduce violence in Iraq since August could end soon, a spokesman for the radical cleric who heads the Shiite militia said Wednesday.
If Muqtada al-Sadr doesn't issue a statement by Saturday extending the cease-fire, the freeze will be over Sunday, said Sheikh Salah al-Obeidi, a spokesman for the cleric.
On August 28, al-Sadr called for a temporary suspension of Mehdi Army activity, including attacks on police and rival factions. At the time, he said the six-month suspension would allow his militia to be restructured.
The U.S. military maintained Wednesday that the cease-fire has helped reduce assassinations and Shiite infighting in Baghdad and the southern Shiite heartland.
The "cease-fire has been helpful in reducing violence and has led to improved security in Iraq," Smith said in a news conference. "We would welcome the extension of the cease-fire as a positive step by the [Sadrist movement] to continue its support of rebuilding the new Iraq."
Gee, here we've been told that violence was down because we were "surging." It turns out that violence is down because this nut agreed to a cease fire so he could restructure his militia.
We're supposed to be fighting terrorists. Instead, we're fighting Iraqi rebels on behalf of the Iraqi Government.
How come this is the first time I've seen this mentioned in the American press?