The U.S. is in serious discussions with commanders of the Mahdi Army to lay down their arms, an intelligence officer directly involved in Iraq operations told Pajamas Media Tuesday....
The Mahdi Army, a predominantly Shia Muslim force led by Moqter al-Sadr, has terrorized Sunnis into fleeing certain Baghdad neighborhoods and has been linked to Iran. Al-Sadr has disappeared from the Iraqi capital and is widely believed to have holed up in Iran. Al-Sadr’s family and senior officers are believed, by elements of American intelligence in Iraq, to have left with him.
With al-Sadr’s paymasters gone many mid-level commanders are unpaid. And so are the fighters under them. (In the Mahdi Army, commanders are responsible for the financial well-being of the men under their command.) Some have resorted to extortion, robbery and violent crimes. They are desperate for money. And they are also being hunted by U.S. and Iraqi soldiers throughout Iraq.
This has created a unique opportunity for American and allied troops, intelligence sources say.
Through intermediaries — known in spook-speak as “assets” — a handful of Mahdi Army leaders have approached allied forces and begun negotiating.
This brings to mind The Parable of the Snake which I now relate:
Once upon a time there was a serpent who was badly injured in a fight with another animal. It managed to slither away to safety but would have surely died if a benevolent man had not seen it suffering by the side of the road. The goodly man carefully wrapped the snake up and took it to his house, where he bestowed the kindest and gentlest care on the snake until it was healed and could return to the wild. Just as the man was releasing the serpent back into the grass, the ungrateful snake turned and bit him on the hand.
"What did you do that for?" cried the man, who knew that the bite of this particular snake was usually fatal. "Didn't I take care of you when no one else would?"
The snake shrugged (no small feat for a snake!) and replied to the benevolent--and now doomed-- man, "What did you expect? You knew I was a snake when you picked me up."
We certainly know without any question that they are snakes.
Time will tell if the moral of the tale is applicable.