It appears that a deal has been reached for Moqtada al-Sadr’s thugs to leave the Imam Ali Shrine in Najaf. This is both good news, in that it defuses a bad situation, and potentially disastrous news in that it may leave an opening for al-Sadr to once again cause problems. Sadr has promised to transform his organization into a legitimate political entity. This is a mistake, and his words are hollow. Sadr is not a legitimate political actor, and he is virtually guaranteed to cause trouble once again.
Sadr should be arrested, tried in private, and sent to prison for insurrection, treason, and murder. His thugs should join him. Such movements are antithetical to democratic government, and should be treated as such. Giving thugs like Moqtada al-Sadr any degree of legitimacy only guarantees that more will be tempted to make a name for themselves by following in his bloody footsteps.