Why Sadr folded
Muqtada al Sadr's willingness to accept a ceasefire, and withdraw his gunmen from the southern Iraqi cities containing Shia shrines, was forced on him by his demoralized followers and very angry residents of those cities. Al Sadr’s armed followers are not suicidal, and as coalition troops relentlessly killed them off over the last week, some began to desert, and few new recruits stepped up. Al Sadr could have kept fighting and risked losing all of his militiamen, or agreed to a ceasefire and tried to salvage as much as he can. His other big problem is with the powerful business families of the holy cities like Najaf and Karbala. For centuries, these families have grown prosperous by providing goods and services for Shia pilgrims, especially from Iran. During Saddam’s rule, the number of Iranian pilgrims fell sharply. But since Saddam was ousted, business has been booming. However, since al Sadr’s bully boys began taking over the government in the shrine cities, pilgrims have stayed away. That means no customers and no income for thousands of Shia Iraqis in those cities. So the al Sadr men felt increasing hostility from the very people they claimed to be “protecting.” To make matters worse, the al Sadr gunmen demanded that the local businessmen “donate” food and money for the militias.
The Baath and al Qaeda terrorists know that once there is majority rule in Iraq, Shia and Kurds will be in control, and out for blood. Most of the al Qaeda support in Iraq comes from religious Sunni Arabs. Most of the still active Baath members are Sunni Arab. The ongoing, and likely to get worse, civil war in Iraq has been largely ignored by the media, which prefers to see the violence as a popular uprising against foreign occupation. But the majority of the country is at peace, and troops and foreign civilians working in Iraq are mystified and bemused by the way the foreign media covers events in Iraq.