Sadrist MP Amir al-Kinani:
"These prisoners are not going to go back to military operations, they are going to take their place in peaceful civilian life... They are going to teach religion, not extremism, just peaceful Islam."
Jalal Kahdem, Militant #1:
"I was happy to be in jail for Muqtada... It was part of our battle. We now have an important role in the government. Now we are waging a peaceful resistance against our enemies, not a military war, but I am ready to return to [violent] resistance at any moment if Muqtada asks me to."
Abu Islam, Mitlitant #2:
"I will spend the rest of my life begging forgiveness from God and from the families of the Americans and Iraqis I helped to kill... Muqtada and his leadership have a magic way of influencing the young and naive, people with pure hearts and fragile minds, they misled us."
Abu Sadiq, Militant #3:
"I will always be ready to follow Muqtada's orders, my life is for him and I'm ready to fight the Americans again,"
Interestingly, Kinani says "the violent criminals who pretended to be with the Mahdi Army are still in jail, only the innocent Mahdi Army members who did nothing wrong have been released."
This seems to be part of an ongoing attempt to differentiate between the "criminals" and the "good guys". Last week there was a war of words between the Sadrists and Asa'ib Ahlil Haq led by Khazali.
With Moqtada still in neighbouring Iran, the Sadrists have been trying to restyle themselves as a solely political movement with no interest in armed insurgency anymore. The only problem is they have a bloody past. There is still an arrest warrant that has Moqtada's name on it and not even the Prime Minister can wave a magic wand and make it disappear.
Moqtada's role in my father's murder still haunts him and his close advisors. For now, they are trying to make the distinction between the "criminals" and the "good guys" that may one day be their biggest defence in an Iraqi courtroom. Kais al-Khazali, who was a spokesman for Moqtada when he led my wounded father to Moqtada's office, is now an enemy who has formed a rogue element that has nothing to do with the Sadr Movement.
Note: Joel Wing is commenting on both the Sadrist infighting and the deal between Maliki and the Sadrists. Follow his blog for what is bound to be a big story in the MSM in a few weeks/months.