Shia (and other) Politics in Iraq.

2123850867_3a34ff74de "Iraqi troops have cordoned off the Basra office of Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s followers, preventing them from holding Friday prayers.

Iraqi Interior Ministry spokesman Major General Abdul-Karim Khalaf said the operation is only aimed at recovering offices he said were unfairly occupied by political groups.

Sadr supporters say they have been given 48 hours to leave the premises.

There were no immediate reports of fighting between Iraqi troops and Sadr followers."  VOA News


Let’s see…  What is going on at present in Iraq.

1-  The intensive pushing and shoving among the Shia politico-military factions continues with the "Iraq Security Forces" (Dawa/Badr/Hakim/ISCI) seeking to leverage American support for enough power to neuter Moqtada al-Sadr and his band of merry Mahdists (or Mahdinistas if you prefer) before the putative provincial elections in the Autumn. (maybe there won’t be elections if the neutering does not go well)

2- The US continues to insist that its chosen Iraqi faction has already achieved the status of "legitimacy" in the eyes of "the Iraqi people."  No. It has not, but, you never know, this might work if we stick with that idea for enough years.  McCain would give us the chance to find out if that is possible.

3- The Iranians continue to play all sides against the middle waiting to see what happens.  Who knows?  We might even decide to talk to them on a serious basis.

4- The Sunni international jihadists (AQ in I) are trying to stage a comeback by blowing themselves up in suicide attacks against the "Sons of Iraq."  This is unlikely to have much political effect since the Sunni Arabs have pretty much opted against them.  (The fish in the sea… Remember that old stuff?)

Bottom line,  "there will be blood," but not as much as there used to be.  pl

Incidentally, I did not like the movie.

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12 Responses to Shia (and other) Politics in Iraq.

  1. Montag says:

    The not-so-hidden hand of Iran in all this reminds me of that old joke about a school bussing dispute. One side wanted to bus some inner city kids out to the suburban schools, while the other side wanted to bus some suburban kids into the inner city schools. Who won? The bus drivers!

  2. snadh says:

    Pat, so why didn’t you like the movie? The book was better? The DDL performance not doing it for you? The colour saturation on the burning derrick sequence pallid? What? Read your site regularly; keep it going.

  3. Walter Lang says:

    “snadh?” Sounds like it might be one of the mre obscure peoples visted by Gulliver.
    I thought the film was pretentious, and sophomoric. Yes. There are people like Daniel Fairview. I kept hoping smoeone would put him out of his misery before he did more harm. Some films are awful to watch. “Leaving Las Vegas” was another. By the time they were through…. Arghh! pl

  4. JohnH says:

    I agree with this analysis. Bush/Maliki have to get control of the ballot boxes soon, so they can manage the outcome of the elections and get a parliament that will obediently roll over and pass the oil law that Bush so desperately needs before he leaves office. Otherwise his legacy of getting control of the oil spiggot will have been just a mirage in the desert.

  5. Binh says:

    Sounds like Maliki launched his Basra operation to pre-empt a move by Petraeus against Sadr in the south:

  6. jon says:

    So, in BAsra the Mahdi’s command and control is being displaced, certainly with a fond hope that they will go quietly. Meanwhile in Baghdad, the US is establishing a blast wall perimeter around Sadr City, for the protection of the inhabitants, no doubt. And there and in other places, ‘rogue elements’ are being selectively picked off.
    None of these phenomena could possibly be linked, and I’m sure that the Muqtada is quietly pleased with these developments and has encouraged his lieutenants to take some vacation days.
    No. eventually this will be answered. From this distance, it’s seemed impressively stoic how many losses the Shia and Sadr have accepted with outward restraint. I’m sure it’s only because they see greater harm in overreacting, or greater reward in biding their time and choosing the moments to act.
    There is a rhythm to the Mahdi Army’s actions, and it seems that at the end of each cycle they have increased their reach and power substantially. Perhaps its time for the pipelines to catch fire again.

  7. Serving Patriot says:

    Meanwhile, a ragin fight has been ongoing in Sadr City – with U.S. forces in the lead and taking many casualties – without nary a peep from the American media.
    Who could know? I mean “bitterness” was (and remains) much more newsworthy.
    Progress seems to be made in Sadr City fight. At least enough pushing of Sadrists and JAM away from the river to perhaps end the rain of mortars into the Green Zone. Now, its time to “Fallujah-ize” that portion of Sadr City – erect the 20ft high “separation” wall and pacify the neighborhoods within.
    And we wonder why Sadr has the Iraqi people on his side?

  8. jamzo says:

    first i lost interest in the sunday shows during the clinton-monica thing
    i lost interest in the news hour some time after gwen eiffel showed up, bush vs gore in florida and the iraq war
    i remember checking in on the news hour some time ago and judy woodruff was speaking and i turned the tv off

  9. jamzo says:

    and like hamas, sadr and his mahdi army are the largest aid agency in iraq
    they fill needs not filled by the un, the iraqi government or the US
    sometimes i get the impression we are following the advice of israeli advisors

  10. Montag says:

    The Israelis are trying to revive the idea of a Kirkuk-Haifa oil pipeline, which they think will only cost $400 million to build and run through Iraq, Jordan and Israel. They hint that it would be a swell way for the U.S. to thank them for their “support” on Iraq. It’s projected to be 42″ in diameter and about 600 miles long. How they think it will be possible to protect it is anyone’s guess, but with such Pharaonic projects the prestige is in the building, not the actual use–if any.

  11. jon says:

    SP – I’ll take your prescription as ironic, hopefully.
    I just ran a little math to determine that Sadr City contains about a million more people than all of Gaza, with a density 25 times greater. And it’s about four times as dense as Manhattan, also with about a million more people, and on half the area.
    Pacifying Sadr City will be a much greater task than Fallujah was/is. Fallujah was only a quarter as dense, having 400-600,000 people in an area of about nine square miles, for a maximum population density of 67,000 people per square mile. Now somewhat reduced…
    Sadr City is based on large blocks/districts with smaller roads dividing them. It will be easier to isolate and secure areas, but a daunting and immense task. And as other examples amply demonstrate, while an area might be conquered, it cannot be secured if the people will not be conquered.
    Also, the Green Zone continues to be mortared daily, despite the push on Sadr City.

  12. Montag says:

    Serving Patriot,
    Our soldiers have received orders that they are no longer to refer to the enemy as “JAM,” but to echo the propaganda coming out of Washington. You’ve heard of the uncola? Well they’re trying to turn Sadr’s fighters into the unIraqis. It’s a branding issue. Our soldiers are just rolling their eyes at that one.

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