May 4, 2006

Sadr the Gamester

Hatched by Sachi

The most important agenda item for the new Iraqi government's incoming Interior Minister -- not yet chosen -- is to dismantle the militias and incorporate their members into the regular police forces. Not only has the Interior Minister not been picked yet -- according to Iraq the Model's Omar, no one seems eager to take the job... for the precise reason that going after the militias is a daunting prospect!

The biggest obstacle, of course, is the Iranian sock puppet, Muqtada Sadr. His Mahdi Militia is the only one openly refusing to integrate. The May 6th issue of Newsweek contains an interview of Sadr, talking about the future of his so-called "resistance movement."

I do not like the way Newsweek treats Sadr with such deference, describing him as "part of the political establishment." However, he does have power: Sadr was the cause of that four-month gridlock in forming a government, pushing his divisive candidates, such as Ibrahim al-Jaafari. I suppose we must grudgingly admit that, while he is not a part of the "establishment," he is a force with which Iraq must reckon.

In the interview, Sadr insists that his aim has always been to kick the American and other Coalition forces out of Iraq. He argues that his "powerful, loyal, political and military force" will "take Iraq to safety" (by which he means "take Muqtada Sadr to the Caliphate of Iraq").

At the same time, I reach out my hand [to the political parties] to cooperate to make peace in Iraq, to drive away the shadow of the armies of darkness [somebody call Bruce Campbell, quick!] The occupation is the creator of all problems. I pray to Allah to take away the problems and their creator.

Sure. That's why Sadr's Mahdi Militia has been killing Sunnis and Shiite political rivals... just their way of "make[ing] peace in Iraq."

Sadr divides his "resistance" into three "stages":

  1. Peaceful resistance;
  2. His two violent uprisings (in Najaf, the Sadr City slums of Baghdad, and across the Shiite areas);
  3. And now the stage of "political resistance, which we attained by reaching political posts and demanding a timetable for the departure of U.S troops."

Maybe it's just me, but I don't quite recall Sadr ever conducting a "peaceful resistance" stage; but maybe I just missed it. The first we heard of him was when he was credibly accused of assassinating Imam Abdul Majid al-Khoei when he entered the Shrine of Imam Ali; then the next thing we heard was the Najaf takeover, timed to coincide with First Fallujah.

As for the political resistance, his normal method of operation is to "intimidate" rivals -- by murdering them. In other words, Sadr's only known "stage" of resistance is lethal violence.

In the interview, Sadr reached out to Sunni Iraqis, urging them to fight against the occupation forces (that would be us). But before he cooperates with the Sunni, he has few things to say to them:

I address the Sunnis through NEWSWEEK. One, they should specify their stance toward attacks on civilians. After the attack in Samarra, the Sunnis didn't have a clear stance. Two, their stance toward Takfiris [a name for followers of the extremist ideology espoused by Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi] is not clear. Three, they should specify their stance toward the Shia. Are we Muslims or not? We will not be satisfied with anything less than that. Four, they should demand the execution of Saddam Hussein. And five, they should specify their stance toward [returning] families who have been displaced [by sectarian violence].

This might all sound reasonable... if we didn't know what Sadr himself has been doing all this time. But he does not even acknowledge the fact that the Mighty al-Mahdi Army is a militia, let alone that it's responsible for many of Sunni (and probably some Shiite) citizens done to death in Iraq. What, me militia? asks Sadr.

Newsweek: The Mahdi Army is supposedly the only faction that hasn't signed on to an agreement to incorporate militias into governing bodies. Can you explain why?

Sadr: The Mahdi Army is not a militia. You can't describe it or specify it as a militia. I issued a statement recently limiting the Mahdi Army personnel to cultural, social and religious acts....

Newsweek:Many people claim that Mahdi Army members have been responsible for sectarian attacks in recent weeks. Others say they're simply defending their neighborhoods that the government cannot defend. What do you say? (Sachi: What a softball question! You just gave him an out!)

Sadr: The Mahdi Army personnel are not sinless. But they are integrating themselves despite the harsh circumstances they live in. (Sachi: What's that supposed to mean?)

Newsweek: Do you think that some people dressed as or appearing like Mahdi Army members have carried out reprisal or vengeance attacks of a sectarian nature?

Sadr: And what are the clothes of the Mahdi Army? So that I can distinguish them from others. They don't have a specific uniform. They are people gathered by love, and faith is their weapon.

Ooh, stop, stop. I can't take anymore; I'll go into sugar shock.

Why are we listening to this palaver? Muqtada Sadr couldn't tell the truth even if his life depended on it, and he were pumped so full of Sodium Pentothol it was squirting out his ears. The only honest sentiment he says is that he hates America and wants American forces to leave... not because he wants peace and stability in Iraq, but because it's easier for him to control Iraq without the Coalition spoiling things. Sadr is nothing but trouble.

Newsweek: Do you recall that at one point the U.S military and political spokesmen said it was their aim to "kill or capture" you? Your reaction now?

Well, my reaction is -- "darn it, I sure wish we still had that plan!"

Hatched by Sachi on this day, May 4, 2006, at the time of 4:33 AM

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The following hissed in response by: MTF

Outside of his narrow base of militant support in Bahgdad, do you really think he'll be able to stich together a political base sufficient to "control Iraq"? In Vanity Fair recently, Christopher Hitchens talks of witnessing the "unleashing of real politics" all over the country, especially in Bahgdad and in the Shiite south, and certainly Michael Totten makes it clear the Kurds will have no common ground with another warlord boss from the south. The Suniis are supposedly becoming very political and more involved as well. So, who will support him in trying to control Iraq? Hitchens quotes Hossein Khomeini in the same article on Sadr: "When I asked him about Muqtada al-Sadr, the Shiite anti-American extremist in Iraq who is the son of the late Ayatollah Sadr, murdered by Saddam Hussein, he was dismissive. "He is not considered an interpreter of our religion but only an imitator known only because of his father." And, on a Shiite state: "Talk of an Islamic state in Iraq is not very serious or very deeply rooted among the people. It is necessary for religion and politics to be separated."

Maybe Khomeini isn't the majority view, I really have no idea, but combining unleashed free political speech with divergent views even within the Shiite cleric class should make for a lively exchange. If only a true force of law could arise! In the meantime, just missfire a missle into his office.

The above hissed in response by: MTF [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 4, 2006 6:56 AM

The following hissed in response by: Nuclear Siafu

Who's to say that we don't still have the plan in play? Maybe we're just being unnecessarily circuitous to compensate for how they're used to doing things over there.

One of these days, Sadr's going to be walking down the street and then BAM!--Allah and the and Marines will come down on him like a 20 ton safe stuffed with pork chops. Then, when the usual noisemakers start up, we'll just tell them that there never was a man named Muqtada al-Sadr, just light from Venus being refracted by the stink fumes of a particularly odiferous camel.

The above hissed in response by: Nuclear Siafu [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 4, 2006 8:10 AM

The following hissed in response by: Terrye

I wonder who this little weasel hates more? The Americans or Saddam Hussein? If not for the US he would still be hiding in Iran. Too bad they ever let the murdering little psychopath back in the country.

The above hissed in response by: Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 4, 2006 2:51 PM

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