(BAGHDAD) -- One of the U.S. military's enemies in Iraq is striking a semi-conciliatory tone ahead of the planned American withdrawal from the country.
Firebrand Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr is telling members of his Iranian-backed Mahdi militia to end their attacks on U.S. soldiers that have suddenly increased in recent months. His rationale seems to be more about wanting to give the Americans fewer excuses to stick around Iraq past the December deadline than actually trying to side with his longtime foe.
The U.S. is still scheduled to remove nearly all of its remaining 47,000 forces from Iraq by the deadline but is in talks with Baghdad to leave an undetermined number behind in January to train their security forces in the use of heavy weaponry.
Al-Sadr's militia fought against coalition troops through 2007 when he called for a ceasefire to help stabilize the security situation in Iraq. However, radical Shiites have stepped up their attacks lately, prompting the cleric to issue his missive.
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