February 26, 2007

Another Amazing Coincidence...

Hatched by Dafydd

Far be it from me to tell anybody what to think. I can barely articulate what I think (assuming whatever it is I do can pass as "thinking").

But I can at least note a few dots that cry out to be connected:

  1. Muqtada Sadr flees to Iran in advance of the strategic change of course in Iraq;
  2. He orders the top Mahdi Militia killers to do a quick fade to Iran as well; all the capos of Mahdi are now alibied up the wazoo. (What is a wazoo anyway? A kazoo from Waziristan?)
  3. From a safe distance, Sadr seemingly orders the Mahdi Militia to stand down, pulling all the black-clad death squads off the streets;
  4. By an amazing coincidence, a series of high-profile car bombs -- and one "building bomb" aimed at assassinating the Shiite vice president of Iraq, Adel Abdul-Mahdi -- all explode in Shiite areas of Baghdad;
  5. Sadr issues a statement crowing that the "occupiers" have been unable to stop the "Sunni" attacks on the Shia, despite the security crackdown: "Here we are, watching car bombs continue to explode to harvest thousands of innocent lives from our beloved people in the middle of a security plan controlled by an occupier."

    (Of course, it's not "thousands" of lives; it's less than a hundred. And we're not "in the middle" of the new strategy; we're barely at the beginning, only 12 days in -- and only one new brigade, about 20% of the additional troops, has arrived so far. While I don't like to judge before all the facts are in, it appears as though Muqtada Sadr may have exaggerated some critical facts for rhetorical effect.)

  6. Finally, Sadr, Iran, and the American drive-by media all agree that this completely refutes any notion that the security operation will resolve the situation in Iraq. May as well just cut it off at the knees. Avoid the rush -- redeploy before the plan even comes fully online!

Note how subtlely AP hints at this conclusion:

The statement - read in Baghdad by an aide to al-Sadr - nearly coincided with a suicide bombing that killed at least 42 people at a mostly Shiite business college. Al-Sadr's sharply worded comments could signal serious strains ahead for the security effort.

Let's take a step back and look at the big picture. The number bandied about earlier was that Sunni and Shiite terrorists combined were killing about 100 Iraqi civilians every day; over the twelve days of crackdown, that means the baseline would have been about 1,200 horrific murders.

But there was not anything like 1,200 murders. In fact, since the beginning of the security operation, combining everything, I doubt there has been even as many as 250 killings. This means that the rate of butchery in Iraq has dropped by about 80% since the operation began... and we're still just getting started. I don't like to go out on a limb, but that does seem at least a little better than a "miserable failure," as Dick Gephardt used to say about, well, virtually everything related to George W. Bush's presidency.

But yesterday and today, a few bombs blew up in Shiite areas, just as Sadr was announcing that the Americans couldn't provide security like the Mahdi Militia did. What a fortuitous turn of events for those who want to force American troops out of Iraq!

Either Sadr's luckstone is working overtime... or else -- dare we imagine it? -- perhaps it was something other than pure random chance that caused those bombs to go off at a time and place that couldn't have been better for Sadr if he had planned it himself.

I note without necessarily drawing any conclusions that Sunnis are not the only sect who can put explosives in an automobile.

Of course, such dark imaginings are absurd. It would require Sadr and the Mahdi Militia to be willing to kill their own people, the Shia, just to further their own power and kick out the American forces. Surely they would have more patriotism towards their own countrymen than that, wouldn't they?

And would they really try to assassinate Shiite Vice President Adel Abdul-Mahdi? (There is also a Sunni vice president.) Abdul-Mahdi is one of them, isn't he?

Well... not exactly. According to Wikipedia, Adel Abdul Mahdi is a member of the SCIRI. But Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, widely rumored to be a close ally of Sadr, if not Sadr's puppet (as Sadr is Iran's puppet), is a deputy chief of the Islamic Dawa Party.

The SCIRI and Dawa are like the Crips and the Bloods: they both appeal to the same demographic (religious Shiite Iraqis), but they are the bitterest of rivals. The SCIRI is more powerful, but Dawa has the prime minister -- and Sadr controls the prime minister, as well.

Abdel-Mahdi is a leader of the powerful Shi'a party the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, or SCIRI. Long based in neighboring Iran, the group opposed a United States administration but holds close ties with the other U.S.-backed groups that opposed Saddam Hussein, including the Kurds and the Iraqi National Congress.

In other words, Sadr is currently working through Dawa... but the vice president who was nearly assassinated was a top official of Dawa's political competitors, the SCIRI -- coincidentally enough.

I wonder why we haven't found even a trace of these elusive "Sunni terrorists." And how could "Sunnis" maneuver car bombs and truck bombs through the narrow streets of Sadr City and other Shiite slums in Baghdad -- without being spotted by any of the Shia, who are constantly on the lookout for just such incursions?

But heavens, I wouldn't want to imply anything underhanded here; I don't intend to cast Persians at Muqtada Sadr. Perhaps I've just read too many Tom Clancy novels.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, February 26, 2007, at the time of 5:32 AM

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The following hissed in response by: Terrye

It seems that Maliki has been showing signs of independence here lately. I would not put it past Sadr to be behind this, but then again he is in no position to talk, when he and his militia were roaming the streets of Baghdad the car bombs went off...it is not as if he was able to protect people.

The above hissed in response by: Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 26, 2007 3:08 PM

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