Earlier this week, Sadr urged Iraqis to conduct civil disobedience campaigns throughout country to protest the government’s military operations in Basra. On March 27, he called for a political solution to end the "shedding of Iraqi blood".Meanwhile, the Sadrist movement continues to claim that the current crackdown in the South is a case of Malki and his SIIC allies using military force to create electoral results they will be happy with.
Sadr representatives have accused the government of deliberately targeting its members ahead of the crucial October 2008 provincial elections and vowed to fight US and Iraqi forces. Shia parties have vied for political and economic control of Basra since 2003.However, all reports from the region on the spreading violence, as well as posed PR photos, that mention militias by name mention only actions against Sadr's Mahdi Army, while it seems that Badr Brigade militias may be actually joining the Iraqi security forces in their attacks.
But the battle itself is very fluid right now, with successes for forces commanded by the majority Shiite bloc in government on the fringes of the operation but a far more difficult situation than they perhaps expected for them in Basra proper and other large towns.
Sauidi said the Mahdi army was well equipped for the fight ahead. "We have captured lots of their vehicles, machine guns and mortars. We have new RPGs we got from their supply trucks. Our fighters know how to use the side streets as their battle space."That same Sadrist makes very clear the stakes for both sides:
We are going through a battle of existence we will fight to the end. We either survive this or we are finished."I think it's fair to call this civil war.