September 21, 2005

Shia Need Come-to-Jesus Meeting

Hatched by Dafydd

This is profoundly disturbing. We all cheered -- well, except for Cindy and George -- when the Brits raided a jail (and then a private residence) in Basra to rescue their two special-forces comrades.

But the more details come out about the jailing and what happened to the soldiers afterward, the more it appears a reckoning is due between the Coalition forces and the Shia in the Iraqi South.

According to the governor of Basra province, the British soldiers were handed over by Iraqi authorities to Muqtada al-Sadr's terrorist forces, which it pleases him to call the "al-Mahdi Army." Via AP, "Iraqis in Basra Slam 'British Aggression'," September 21st, 2005:

Iraqi Interior Minister Bayan Jabr disputed the British account of the raid that followed. He told the British Broadcasting Corp. the two soldiers never left police custody or the jail, were not handed over to militants, and that the British army acted on a "rumor" when it stormed the jail.

But Basra's governor, Mohammed al-Waili, said the two men were indeed moved from the jail. He said they were placed in the custody of the al-Mahdi Army, the militia of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

"The two British were being kept in a house controlled by militiamen when the rescue operation took place," al-Waili said. "Police who are members of the militia group took them to a nearby house after jail authorities learned the facility was about to be stormed."

These are the same terrorists who tried to rebel against Iraqi authority in mid-2004, seizing the city of Najaf at the same time the Sunni terrorists under the command of Abu Musab al-Zarwawi grabbed Fallujah, killing four American contractors and mutilating their bodies for the TV cameras. This was the worst insurrection of the entire war, the only one that threatened to start an actual national front of resistance to Coalition forces; it was thwarted by the controversial but ultimately successful strategy of abandoning Fallujah for a time while we focused on Najaf and Basra. Once Sadr's "army" was crushed, we eventually returned to Fallujah, this time with a joint Coalition-Iraqi force that could not only conquer the city but hold it in Iraqi hands.

So after all that trouble, why on Earth are Iraqi police in Basra handing captured British soldiers off to Sadr's terrorists?

Iraqi National Security Adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie, a Shiite politician who has criticized the British raid as "a violation of Iraqi sovereignty," acknowledged that one problem coalition forces face is that insurgents have joined the ranks of security forces.

"Iraqi security forces in general, police in particular, in many parts of Iraq, I have to admit, have been penetrated by some of the insurgents, some of the terrorists as well," he said in an interview with the BBC on Tuesday night.

Officials in Basra, speaking on condition of anonymity because they feared for their lives, said at least 60 percent of the police force there is made up of Shiite militiamen from one of three groups: the Mahdi Army; the Badr Brigade, the armed wing of the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq; and Hezbollah in Iraq, a small group based in the southern marshlands.

The militias have deep historical, religious and political ties to Iran, where many Shiite political and religious figures took refuge during the rule of Saddam Hussein.

This is grim news indeed; but it need not be catastrophic. Basra clearly needs a thorough sanitizing; and respected Shiite leaders, such as Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the highest ranking and most respected Shiite cleric in Iraq, must make it very clear to Iraqi Shia that they must choose. They can either be militiamen, or they can be Iraqis; they cannot be both, as the militias do not have the interests of Iraq at heart.

In fact, there are persistent claims that Sadr himself is an agent of Iran; certainly the Badr Brigade and Hezbollah In Iraq are fully creatures of that vengeful, bloody theocracy. From the Asia Times, "Iraq goes courting in Iran," July 19th, 2005:

If sincere, Tehran could help both Iraqi and US-led forces to better fight the largely Sunni-based insurgency in Iraq by engaging the 15,000 to 20,000 al-Badr Brigade, the military wing of the Shi'ite Supreme Assembly of Islamic Revolution of Iraq, formed, trained and equipped by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards to oppose Saddam.

This astonishing action on the part of Basra police who are also members of the "al-Mahdi Army" terrorist group is a shot across the bow at the Bush administration's handling of the war. We cannot allow Shiite terrorist militias to take over the Iraqi South or North Baghdad any more than we can allow Sunni terrorists to take over the center of Iraq. President George Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair had better take this event seriously and start working with Shiite authorities to cleanse Shiite police forces of terrorist elements. The alternative may be to witness the birth of "Greater Iran."

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, September 21, 2005, at the time of 7:33 PM

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My online friend who posts as "Silverlining," a Japanese MSM journalist who spent some time in Iraq and still has contacts there, offered an interesting speculation regarding the two British soldiers who were arrested by the Basra Police, then handed... [Read More]

Tracked on September 27, 2005 11:24 PM


The following hissed in response by: matoko kusanagi

no, no, no.
There is an entire aspect of this you are missing Dafyyd. The Sistani/Sadr stuggle splits the Iraqi Shi'ia. Sadr would like to be the grand ayatollah of iraq, but sistani's genetics trump his. Post Gulf II, Sadr order the chopping death of a rival (moderate) cleric--do you remember?
Sadr would like to assassinate Sistani. WHen Sadr took over Najaf, many worried that he would destroy the mosque of imam ali and blame it on the armed forces.
there are wheels within wheels here.

The above hissed in response by: matoko kusanagi [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 21, 2005 8:02 PM

The following hissed in response by: Jimmie

You may remember Steven Vincent, the American journalist who was found murdered. His last big work was a column in the New York Times that dealt in some detail about the Shiite corruption throughout the police in Basra.

I'm not surprised to read this article about the police there today. Basra is a nest of vipers that needs to be brutally and publicly cleaned out.

The above hissed in response by: Jimmie [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 21, 2005 8:41 PM

The following hissed in response by: Patrick S Lasswell

"President George Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair had better take this event seriously and start working with Shiite authorities to cleanse Shiite police forces of terrorist elements."

That would be micromanaging for the PotUS and the PM. The commanders on the ground in Iraq need to be paying attention to this, and they should be informing their chain of command, starting with CENTCOM, of their progress and need for resources.

Basra is important, but not so important that the Commander in Chief needs to get fixated on it. The last thing we need is another Johnson asking for hourly progress updates on Khe Sahn.

The above hissed in response by: Patrick S Lasswell [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 22, 2005 8:39 AM

The following hissed in response by: Terry Gain

"Post Gulf II, Sadr order the chopping death of a rival (moderate) cleric--do you remember?" Matoka

Yes, Matoka, I remember him well.His was al-Khoie. One day I read about this cleric who was an enthusiastic supporter of the U. S. intervention in Iraq. Within a week I read he had been killed- allegegly, as it turns out, on orders from al-Sadr. A warrant was issued for the arrest of the latter who then avoided arrest by fulminiating the uprising in Najaf which was quelled by a combination of U.S. force and the moral suasion of Ayatolla Sistani.

I am someone who places a lot of faith in demographics. Hence I do not believe the Sunni -al Qaeda insurgency can succeed against 80% of the population unless the defeatest-pacificist- appeasers in the U. S. get their way; however it appears obvious there will be no peace in Iraq until Al Sadr is dealt with.

The above hissed in response by: Terry Gain [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 22, 2005 3:16 PM

The following hissed in response by: matoko kusanagi

The above hissed in response by: matoko kusanagi [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 22, 2005 9:33 PM

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