March 31, 2008

Sadr Sues for Peace
— Ace

Good post from Dave Price.

Although the standard take here is that this is merely a fight between two thuggish groups -- Maliki's alliance and Sadr's militias -- it has to be borne in mind that Sadr is one of the worst thugs in the country. And Maliki, whatever his motivations, does in fact represent the government. And governments generally enjoy an exclusive right to organized, armed forces within their territories, or else they don't really control that territory at all.

The Sadrists challenge this and want to impose their own "government" -- corrupt and Islamofascist -- through force of arms. So this isn't merely some political dispute between Maliki and Sadr; the political dispute, as Dave Price points out, was already settled when Maliki and his allies won the most votes and took control of the government.

Posted by: Ace at 05:08 AM | Comments (44)
Post contains 146 words, total size 1 kb.

1

Yeah, so seriously: what is with Allah?  So scarred from the early mistakes of the occupation that he's incapable of seeing ongoing operations in a positive light until the facts are totally indisputable?  As a consequence, his punditry on any situation in Iraq that has not been conclusively resolved is always "glass half full" or worse. 

I think its a defense mechanism.

Posted by: Fred at March 31, 2008 05:33 AM (Mi+aT)

2

Sadr seems like a lot of bark and not (that) much bite.  I wonder if we emailed him photos of people he considers important, with red laser dots on their heads.

Posted by: Dogstar at March 31, 2008 05:36 AM (FgxdU)

3 Looking at it as Maliki might, this is a political mop-up operation.  Not so much a power grab as making sure he didn't leave any loose ends.  I cannot find any downside to Maliki taking on Sadr.

But loose ends, indeed.  He left some...Muqty is still alive.  But every single time Muqty gets the brown end of the stick in these power struggles he loses more and more credibility among his followers.  He has marched so many times only to retreat that he is only weakening himself.  In that part of the world power (having it) and face (saving it) are all that matter.  Maliki's death by a thousand cuts strategy might just be working against Sadr.

Let's face it, Muqty is not a genius.

Posted by: Sean Bannion at March 31, 2008 05:38 AM (epqk/)

4 CBS Radio News this morning had some reporter chick, didn't catch where she was actually reporting from, saying that this was a huge victory for Sadr. He stood up to Maliki, proved his forces couldn't be forced out of Basra, they'll be maintaining control over the areas they controlled before this confrontation, and now he's calling a cease-fire on his own terms. Any good bloggers on the ground in Basra? It would be nice to hear from someone who actually has some first-hand information.

Posted by: notropis at March 31, 2008 05:51 AM (MuKTm)

5

Maliki may be a sonofabitch, but he's our sonofabitch, as the good Dr. K might've observed. At least for now, anyway.

 

Posted by: railwriter at March 31, 2008 05:52 AM (/ZX77)

6 "Yeah, so seriously: what is with Allah?"

Look, he's admitted we're right to call him Eeyore.  It's just the way he is.

Posted by: someone at March 31, 2008 06:00 AM (2z2WN)

7 "Muqty is still alive."

Sure, because he hid like a coward in Iran.

Posted by: someone at March 31, 2008 06:01 AM (2z2WN)

8

Let's face it, Muqty is not a genius.

I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.

Posted by: Muqtada al-Sadr at March 31, 2008 06:01 AM (pzen5)

9 #4 - Check out Bill Roggio's site  -

http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2008/03/sadr_orders_follower.php

Mookie's guys were getting clobbered; other reports indicated he helpfully cheered them on from a safe distance in Iran...

Posted by: apb at March 31, 2008 06:06 AM (4Ac/Q)

10 Sues for peace? We need Abort Reform.

Posted by: polynikes at March 31, 2008 06:11 AM (m2CN7)

11 I find it absolutely depressing that the "shoot a Hellfire up his ass and hoist a brew in a Sadr-free world" option just might not be as effective as the "death by a thousand cuts" option.

But I have to admit, humiliating Sadr like this makes me giddy.

Posted by: IllTemperedCur at March 31, 2008 06:11 AM (Ds4I5)

12 I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.

I didn't know Khorramshahr had a Holiday Inn Express.

Posted by: Sean Bannion at March 31, 2008 06:13 AM (epqk/)

13 OT:  Anyone else having problems with Firefox today? I can't even get the pages to load on any website.

Posted by: Guy Ritchie's Career at March 31, 2008 06:18 AM (4gHqM)

14 I'm using Firefox now and it's fine.

Posted by: Sean Bannion at March 31, 2008 06:18 AM (epqk/)

15

Not for nothing, but the Mahdi "Army" taken as a whole wouldn't fill up a professional basketball arena.

-

Posted by: BumperStickerist at March 31, 2008 06:21 AM (UeP9e)

16

But I have to admit, humiliating Sadr like this makes me giddy.

My fear is that we are tainted by our western perspective. An awful lot of the "arab street" seemed to buy Saddam Hussein's  line about how he had scared off the Great Satan.

Posted by: captkidney at March 31, 2008 06:23 AM (9UaBN)

17 True. Capt.  But it's (for lack of a better term) "red on red" right now.

That's a whole different ball game.  The fact that it's an Arab - and a Shiite Arab to boot - kicking Muqty's ass does not go unnoticed over there.

Posted by: Sean Bannion at March 31, 2008 06:27 AM (epqk/)

18

I'm using Firefox now and it's fine.

Thanks. I restarted my computer and still have the same problem. I'll try uninstall/reinstall. Grrrr. 

Posted by: Guy Ritchie's Career at March 31, 2008 06:31 AM (4gHqM)

Posted by: Sean Bannion at March 31, 2008 06:31 AM (epqk/)

20

That's a whole different ball game.  The fact that it's an Arab - and a Shiite Arab to boot - kicking Muqty's ass does not go unnoticed over there.

Is that not mitigated by the fact that he may be percieved as our puppet?

Posted by: captkidney at March 31, 2008 06:33 AM (9UaBN)

21 By the way Sean, it's capt with a small "c". I have never held any rank, I thought it was in keeping with the pirate vibe on the site.

Posted by: captkidney at March 31, 2008 06:35 AM (9UaBN)

22 capt.  It could be.  I'm not an Arabist.  (And I didn't stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night)

But my sense when I was over there was that they generally view us as unreliable thanks to the "quit Iraq now" chorus.  Because of that I think they give greater weight to what happens amongst themselves.  Some of that proof comes from the fact that Maliki wasn't exactly acting like our puppet when he first got into office. 

Again, if you look at it from Maliki's viewpoint, establishing that he's the big dog in the neighborhood is important.  He was using his own troops to do it (with occasional U.S.air support).  That counts for something.


Posted by: Sean Bannion at March 31, 2008 06:41 AM (epqk/)

23

In Baghdad, the US suged with support and follow up by the Iraqi military and took control of the city from Sadr.  In Basra, the Iraqis led the way with support from the US and now Sadr is being driven back in Basra.

Isn't this exactly what we were told the surge would accomplish?

Posted by: JackStraw at March 31, 2008 06:42 AM (t+mja)

24 I've heard a couple of theories on Sadr's motivations, one being posturing for provincial elections, the other being "Tet" style offensive to weaken US resolve. Or it could be simply that Sadr or his Iranian masters are just stirring up shit. Either way, it irks me that the left/MSM go batshit about a battle, proclaiming defeat before there is any resolution. They do that all the time, and when the side they are rooting for either loses or "sues for peace" somehow, the claim they were right all along.

Posted by: XBradTC at March 31, 2008 06:44 AM (gWoag)

25 Sean, thanks for the education and your service.

Posted by: captkidney at March 31, 2008 06:45 AM (9UaBN)

26 Sean, my contacts on the ground tell me a large part of the success of the surge was that we were seen to be doubling down, and the "get out now" crowd has less credibility. Some folks started to think we might actually stick around a while and that made it worth the risk to cooperate with us.

Posted by: XBradTC at March 31, 2008 06:47 AM (gWoag)

27

proclaiming defeat before there is any resolution. They do that all the time, and when the side they are rooting for either loses or "sues for peace" somehow, the claim they were right all along.

A defeat would serve their puposes just fine. Even perceived defeat ( you mentioned tet) will do, so if the prep the media battle space it should be no surprise. 

Posted by: captkidney at March 31, 2008 06:47 AM (9UaBN)

28 ...if they prep..

Posted by: captkidney at March 31, 2008 06:48 AM (9UaBN)

29 #9 "Check out Bill Roggio's site -" Thanks!

Posted by: notropis at March 31, 2008 06:51 AM (MuKTm)

30 Let's see if the IA and the IP set up checkpoints and patrols in Basra or if it goes some other way.  My guess is the fighting will continue, but at a pace and in a way that removes the Mahdi army without catching the notice of the MSM.

Posted by: eman at March 31, 2008 06:59 AM (0AZ4a)

31 Sean, my contacts on the ground tell me a large part of the success of the surge was that we were seen to be doubling down, and the "get out now" crowd has less credibility.

ROGER.  My experience was in 2003-2004 and no doubt things on the ground have changed.  But I think the point that there was an "emboldening" of the bad guys prior to say,  August 2007 is still valid.

Maybe Muqty didn't get the memo.  I hear that thanks to ultra high gas prices in Iran they've gone back to the all camel postal delivery fleet.

Posted by: Sean Bannion at March 31, 2008 07:02 AM (epqk/)

32

This whole Shia thing has reporting all over the place.  It seems very hard to know the real deal.

Killing Sadr a couple of years ago would definitely have stopped his rabblerousing now, but no telling if someone else would hav picked up that flag.  But he is an Iranian tool we should be teaching the Iranians that Iraq is our house.  We got it from Pottery Barn or whatever, so hands effing off. 

Posted by: blaster at March 31, 2008 07:53 AM (Q1Aqf)

33 @4

I heard the same thing this morning, the Sadrists are celebrating their victory.  I heard it on an NPR report from Lourdes Garcia Navarro.  She was supposedly in Sadr city. 

Personally I am not optimistic if the Iraqi government agrees to Sadr'sdemands.  At that point he will have really shown he can challenge the government and win. 

Posted by: chad at March 31, 2008 08:27 AM (lNQg8)

34 I think we can dismiss the notion that this was Sadr's "Tet" offensive. The timing is all wrong, because both parties' nominations are sewn up - the Republicans with a "win the damned thing" candidate, and the Democrats with a unilateral surrender candidate. (On that issue, there isn't a dime's worth of difference between Hillary! and Obama.) The real "Tet" will happen next September, just like the fall TV lineup.

And chad, consider the source. Of course the Sadrites are going to claim victory - would anyone honestly expect them to say that they'd had their asses handed to them? And of course NPR will trumpet this "victory" - can you expect anything less from them? Such is their nature, just like the scorpion in the fable.

Posted by: Brown Line at March 31, 2008 08:39 AM (VrNoa)

35

I have never held any rank,

Hey, I may be part of the Great Satan but I'm not THE Great Satan!

 

Well played sir!

Posted by: captkidney at March 31, 2008 08:56 AM (9UaBN)

36 I am just pointing out that the narrative is already forming here in the US, and in Iraq I think that what I said holds true.  If the Iraqi central government agress to Sadr's demands they have essentially lost.

Posted by: chad at March 31, 2008 09:17 AM (lNQg8)

37 I've lost track of how come the U.S.Mil, or better yet the Iraqi military, can't just go to Muqti's house and blow it up real good.  Or more peaceably, wait until he's back from hiding in Iran and THEN blow him up real good.  Is he some kind of "vital linchpin to the peace process" or what?  What's his excuse for existing?

Posted by: Stoop Davy Dave at March 31, 2008 03:15 PM (WirW3)

38 >what's his excuse for existing?< He's a cleric with a following, his sketchy religious credentials notwithstanding (his theological contemporaries only tolerate him for that reason, and not much more). Killing clerics over there--legit or no--is a no-no, for a whole host of reasons, lending legitimacy to the whole "crusader" theme being only one of many. You can be sure that Israel doesn't want Sadr offed; if they were okay with popping clerics, you can be sure that Nasrallah wouldn't be among the living today.

Posted by: railwriter at March 31, 2008 03:27 PM (ACTD5)

39 Oh. 
Poop!
Well then ... for the time being, I'll settle for watching him get chumped by Maliki.
That's not so bad.

Posted by: Stoop Davy Dave at March 31, 2008 04:18 PM (WirW3)

40 Sadr sues for "time to reload, reequip, and save my troops from being slaughtered by the cartload" that should read.

Posted by: Christopher Taylor at March 31, 2008 05:57 PM (3+3kx)

41

I have two reasons for putting in this comment:

[A] I want to be able to check back here in November & sing the Na-Na-Na song at you ignorant KoolAid addicted mooks, and

Even mooks are entitled to fair warning of the unvarnished truth.

Lock, load and get our your hankies mooks:

http://www.juancole.com/

"Why al-Maliki Attacked Basra”

INTRODUCTORY SMACK DOWN FOR McCAINT:

“McCain said he was surprised that Nuri al-Maliki would abruptly launch an operation against Basra.

It seems to me that there are only two possibilities here.

[1] Either McCain really did not know and did not anticipate the trouble in Basra, in which case he does not know much about Iraq and isn't better qualified to deal with it than anyone else.

[2] Or he and Cheney helped put al-Maliki up to the whole thing while he was there and now is petrified that someone will hang the fiasco around his neck.”

CLIFF’S NOTES VERSION FOR THE ADHD-ers:

Iran … brokered the [truce] agreement, …

[Sadr] forces acquitted themselves well against the government [&] were strengthened …

…casualties for the week were 350 …

[the al-Malaki] campaign was a predictable fiasco …

… why did al-Maliki do it? …

Three main motivations …

[1] control of petroleum smuggling,

[2] staying in power … and …

[3] [achieving] a Shiite super-province in the south …benefiting Shiites … while cutting Sunnis out of … oil revenues…

[and] all … have to do with [a] … Bush … benchmark … [the] upcoming provincial elections.

… Sadr …leaders …are convinced …provincial elections, on Oct. 1, 2008 …precipitated the prime minister's attack.

It is widely thought that the Sadrists might sweep to power in the provinces …

since the electorate is deeply dissatisfied with … the … incumbent party … the [ISCI] of al-Hakim.

… Both the Sunni Arabs and the Sadr Movement sat out the [elections in] January 2005. …

governments in the Sunni Arab areas are unrepresentative …

Diyala is actually ruled by ..[ISCI] which Sunnis …see as a puppet of Iran. …

In many provinces, ISCI has infiltrated members of its Badr paramilitary into the police and security forces …

giving them the [appearance] of legitimacy and

allowing [them to brand] the Mahdi army as violent militiamen with no popular mandate …

…Were the Sadrists to win the southern provinces in October's provincial elections, they would halt any move toward such a confederacy, since they favor strong central government on the French model and view al-Hakim's plan for a Shiite super-province as the first stage in a soft partition of Iraq. …

The Sadr Movement demands the setting of a timetable for the departure of US troops …

[which is] supported by a majority of the members of parliament …

Sadr … helped bring al-Maliki to power in spring of 2006 [and] broke with him precisely over his refusal to demand that the U.S. set a timetable for troop withdrawal from Iraq.

The Sadrists also objected to al-Maliki's direct meetings with Bush, which they saw as a humiliating capitulation to colonialism.

The Bush administration wants its current partners to stay in power in the Shiite areas, since ISCI and al-Maliki's Da'wa party support a continued U.S. military presence in Iraq. …

the administration knows that there is little hope of mollifying the Sunni Arabs unless they have an opportunity to vote for their own provincial leadership. …

that might help calm down the Sunni Arab provinces [but] inflame tensions in the Shiite south, if the Sadrists toss ISCI out on its collective ear.

The upcoming provincial elections are a potential public relations nightmare for both the Iraqi government and its allies in the Bush administration. …

Other issues, such as petroleum smuggling, are also bound up with the power struggle. …

A decisive defeat of the Mahdi army in Basra now would possibly have deprived the Sadrists of the funding they need to win the October elections.

If the Sadr Movement rules most Shiite-majority provinces, including Baghdad, that will make it difficult for the U.S. military to remain in the country. It will stop any move toward a soft partition of the country of the sort endorsed by the U.S. Senate. It will ensure that the Sadr Movement can continue to siphon off billions in petroleum revenue through smuggling, strengthening it for the future.”

Posted by: Diderot's Dog at April 01, 2008 01:18 AM (paU9J)

42

Juan Cole

Heh.

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