Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Iraqi end game in the making

David Seaton's News Links
If you study a map of southern Iraq you will see that all the roads leading from Kuwait and the Persian Gulf port of Basra to Baghdad and points north run through the Shiite areas where Moktada al-Sadr is able to call up tens of thousands of disciplined demonstrators who shout "death to America" in chorus. Moktada al-Sadr is said to be in Iran under the protection of the Ayatollahs.

As most of the supplies of the American forces in Iraq are brought in though those roads by trucks driven by civilian contractors, it is not difficult to imagine how easy it would be for al-Sadr and/or Iran to severely interrupt that flow of supplies. It would be impossible to make up the massive shortfall by airlift. The entire American presence in Iraq has been made possible by the acquiesence of the Shiite community. Monday's demonstrations show that such
acquiescence is at an end. Certainly such acquiescence wouldn't survive an American attack on Iran. Monday's demonstrations thus mark the beginning of the end game. DS

Huge Protest in Iraq Demands U.S. Withdraw - New York Times
Abstract: Tens of thousands of protesters loyal to Moktada al-Sadr, the Shiite cleric, took to the streets of the holy city of Najaf on Monday in an extraordinarily disciplined rally to demand an end to the American military presence in Iraq, burning American flags and chanting “Death to America!” Residents said that the angry, boisterous demonstration was the largest in Najaf, the heart of Shiite religious power, since the American-led invasion in 2003. It took place on the fourth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad, and it was an obvious effort by Mr. Sadr to show the extent of his influence here in Iraq, even though he did not appear at the rally.(...) During the protest in Najaf, Sadr followers draped themselves in Iraqi flags and waved them to symbolize national unity, and a small number of conservative Sunni Arabs took part in the march. “We have 30 people who came,” said Ayad Abdul Wahab, an agriculture professor in Basra and an official in the Iraqi Islamic Party, a leading fundamentalist Sunni Arab group. “We support Moktada in this demonstration, and we stress our rejection of foreign occupation.”(....) The protest was in some ways another challenge to the Shiite clerical hierarchy, showing that in the new Iraq, a violent young upstart like Mr. Sadr can command the masses right in the backyard of venerable clerics like Ayatollah Sistani. Mr. Sadr has increasingly tapped into a powerful desire among Shiites to stand up forcefully to both the American presence and militant Sunnis, and to ignore calls for moderation from older clerics.(...) Estimates of the crowd’s size varied wildly. A police commander in Najaf, Brig. Gen. Abdul Karim al-Mayahi, said there were at least half a million people. Colonel Garver said that military reports had estimates of 5,000 to 7,000. Residents and other Iraqi officials said there were tens of thousands, and television images of the rally seemed to support their estimates. The colonel declined to give any information on the whereabouts of Mr. Sadr, though American military officials said weeks ago that they believed he is in Iran. Mr. Sadr’s aides declined to say where he is, but previously they have said he remained in Iraq. READ IT ALL


Anonymous said...

I have been told that my "comments" function doesn't... function. So I am testing it anonymously.

David Seaton's Newslinks said...

Seems to work ok.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if George Washington had been an Iraq today he would be denounced in the NYT as a 'violent upstart that can move the masses'.
Al Sadr is the leader of Iraqs only genuine Islamic revolutionary movement; and it seems that they have made some efforts to be inclusive, but I guess the Sunnis fear him too much. But they werent too bothered when 20% of the Iraqi population ruled over the other 80%.
Would I go to Siberia, I mean, Gitmo if I said I saw a little of the George Bush populism in the man? And what does the man from Baghdad's slums want? I think he wants what Iran has; a democracy that does within the Islamic cultural context; and that is somthing far too dangerous to permit; and far too dangerous for me to openly support. But if I were an Iraqi after seeing all those 'loved' Iraq treat her with such unpatriotic policies of takiing US coin and saying nothing and doing nothing while the US systematically destroyed Iraq root and brach, institutionally and even made basic services seem like true luxuries, I am not sure that I could support those people anymore.
Only so many times do you see the smashed bodies of toddlers before you become used to it; and become fearless, and go with thousands and thousands to deman the ouster of those who ruined your pigsty (which was already ruined by the most brutal sanctions ever visited on a country).
The US made Muqtadar al Sadr as surely as it made Iraq an anarchy.

Anonymous said...

I dunno about this Al Sadr.

If you read Baghdad Burning, Riverbend has a post about his men threatening people for watching the World Cup...

This is George Washington?

Riverbend's a Sunni, but she didn't "rule" over Iraq before Saddam fell..
he did, and he alone.

He picked his relatives and cronies and tribesmen to back him up, so naturally most were "Sunni"...

If you and all your homeboys are from South Boston, that doesn't make you and them agents of the Vatican, good Catholics, or anything but a bunch of thugs.

Get on Nir Rosen's site and read more about the Mahdi Army, and spare some compassion for those who fall into its hands.


Anonymous said...

To say that the Mahdi ARMY is cruel is quite correct. All Armies are violent brutal and cruel, has the US history of Iraqi occupation shown you nothing? Without anrarchy who would need an army? Ask Bush this. Ask George Washington what they did to loyalist Tories.