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Al Sadr offers to lay down his arms (update)
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Interesting development:
Iraq's largest and most dangerous militia, the Mahdi Army, will disband voluntarily if leading Shia scholars advise its leader to do so, officials said today, in a dramatic move that could quell much of the fighting in the country.

Aides to Hojetoleslam Moqtada al-Sadr, who is under mounting political and military pressure, said that the militia chief would send delegations to Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, a moderate religious leader in Najaf, and to senior clerics in Qom in Iran to consult on whether he should stand down his 60,000-strong militia.

The sudden announcement came as Lieutenant-General David Petraeus, Commander of US Forces in Iraq, starts two days of testimony to Congress on the success of America's troop “surge”.
Someone tell The Times what a "Lieutenant General" is and that Petraeus isn't one. Anyway, listening to the testimony today, Amb. Crocker made an interesting point about the battle in Basra. Per Crocker the Iraqi people were not happy with al-Sadr or the militia's confronting the ISF. Part of that goes back to previous confrontations. Another part of that goes to its connection with Iran (and Iran's Qods Force). The unpopularity of al Sadr's actions have, apparently, become clear to him. As Crocker reminded the Senate Armed Services Committee, Iraq fought an 8 year war with Iran not that long ago hundreds of thousands of Iraqis were killed or wounded in that conflict.

The hand of Iran was very clear in the Basra confrontation, and, per Crocker, that hasn't set will with the majority of Iraqis. Consequently, despite the rush to declare al Sadr the "victor" in Basra, it would appear that the hand that was strengthened was that of Maliki.
The position of Hojetoleslam al-Sadr, whose fighters had fought government forces to a standstill in Basra, was looking increasingly precarious today. His erstwhile ally, Nouri al-Maliki, the Shia Prime Minister, who led the Basra crackdown personally, saw his popular support bolstered by his tough stance on lawless militias.

Despite the inconclusive results of his Basra offensive, Mr al-Maliki has refused to back down and this weekend stitched together a rare consensus of Kurds, Sunnis and Shias to back a draft law banning any party that maintains a militia from running in future elections.

“A decision was taken . . . that they no longer have a right to participate in the political process or take part in the upcoming elections unless they end the Mahdi Army,” Mr al-Maliki said.

That united stance has put the Sadrists on the back foot, while even in Sadr City itself support for the militia was waning as government forces and their US allies pushed ever deeper into Mahdi Army territory.
Al-Sadr, of course, has attempted to pass the buck and has stated he'll disarm if Shia clerics above him tell him too.

But the bottom line is it is al Sadr looking for accommodation, conditions and capitulation and it is Maliki who is standing his ground. It remains to be seen how this will all play out, but it is difficult to see how anyone can argue that after Basra, it is al Sadr who has the upper hand.

UPDATE: Al Sadr's "superiors" "refuse" to make the decision to disband the Mahdi militia:
Iraq's top Shiite religious leaders have told anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr not to disband his Mehdi Army, an al-Sadr spokesman said Monday amid fresh fighting in the militia's Baghdad strongholds.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki demanded Sunday that the cleric disband his militia, which waged two uprisings against U.S. troops in 2004, or see his supporters barred from public office.

But al-Sadr spokesman Salah al-Obeidi said al-Sadr has consulted with Iraq's Shiite clerical leadership "and they refused that." He did not provide details of the talks.
My question is have they refused to allow him to disband, or have they refused to make that decision, leaving it for him to decide? That's not clear in the article.
 
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but it is difficult to see how anyone can argue that after Basra, it is al Sadr who has the upper hand.
You’re assuming logic gets employed.

You’ve seen Cole, I assume?


 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
But, but, last week Scott said al-Maliki lost...

Also note that this came about because (1) Maliki forged a political coalition willing to pass significant legislation and (2) Al-Sadr realizes that it is more important to have political representation in the government than to have an armed militia. But, you know, the political situation in the Iraqi government is totally stagnant and no progress there has been made. Quagmire! Quagmire!
 
Written By: Jeff the Baptist
URL: http://jeffthebaptist.blogspot.com
I believe that al-Sadr’s announcement that he will disband his Mahdi Militia if the central Shia council tells him to should be taken at face value, at least for the short term.

But you have to remember why al-Sadr is in Iran .. to get his cleric credentials .. so he can eventually replace the Shia council’s leadership with his own .. and .. then use the Shia council to reestablish the Mahdi Army .. without the interference of the aging al-Sistani.

Will it work ? Only time will tell. It’s quite possible that Iraq will move beyond the need for al-Sadr before he can make it work.

Meanwhile, Iran is supposely still “working on” the manifestation of the “12th iman” to do much the same, which makes al-Sadr look like "Plan B".

For the time being, al-Sadr and his followers have a choice of waiting or bleeding .. actually only his followers do any of the real bleeding.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
Wow... The Shia PM saying his party should be banned from politics if they keep a militia...

That is, indeed, proof he’s got a huge pair of brass ones...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Mu-key has done this back-off dance how many times now?

And they should believe him because?

Every time he tangles with real forces his militia gets the stinky end, and he does the ’let’s be friends’ dance one more time.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Alas, McQ, your optimist read is very inaccurate. First, the Arab media is reporting not only that the Sadrists in no way will disarm — they’re simply playing the political game — and it appears that the religious authorities in Najaf actively commanded al-Sadr to maintain his militia. Meanwhile violence flairs and expect the public to begin to put Iraq higher on the radar screen, demanding answers — and probably damaging McCain’s electoral chances. I think the surge will soon go the way of "stay the course," something more mocked than supported.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I think the surge will soon go the way of "stay the course," something more mocked than supported.
Further demonstration - you don’t get it.
The Surge was never intended to be a forever running operation and it did what it was intended to do in the period it was intended to do it.

From Petraeus testimony -
Gen. David Petraeus told a Senate hearing that he recommends a 45-day “period of consolidation and evaluation” once the extra combat forces that Bush ordered to Iraq last year have completed their pullout in July. He did not commit to a timetable for resuming troop reductions after the 45-day pause
.

We’re pulling out the ’Surge’ troops. That means that the ’Surge’ operation is over.

If you didn’t know this all along, you do know, so let’s see if you can be intellectually honest about it from this point forward.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Alas, McQ, your optimist read is very inaccurate. First, the Arab media is reporting not only that the Sadrists in no way will disarm — they’re simply playing the political game
Ahh, but it is also clear that the Sadrists are showing weakness. Something the Arab media (and Democrats) would want to downplay.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Looker, "surge" will go the way of "stay the course" in terms of what the public thinks about it in retrospect. Something to be mocked.

Also, before you try to mock someone for making an alleged error, think very carefully about this looker: is the surge over, right now, at this moment? Are there only 130,000 American soldiers in Iraq at this time? Think before you respond.

BTW, Joe Biden is making sense in his statement.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
BTW, Joe Biden is making sense in his statement.
What color is the sky on your planet?
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Again, Don. Erb is the same guy who called the surge a failure this time last year. Erb is the same guy who said on these pages the Army could not stand surge operations in Iraq beyond March of 2008 (look at the calendar - its April!). Erb will continue to call the Surge a failure, continue to cite sources that agree with him, regardless of their credibility, and continue to predict Gloom and Doom for the US should we continue to ignore him.

My advice - YAWN - ignore him.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
if you been to iraq this is a common tactic by sadar he claimed he would disband in 2004. i dont see this going down. what maliki needs to do is to directly confront sadar with force. this fight is for the life line of iraq if sadar controls the southern oil fields and ports he has the money and thus the power and influence.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/meast/04/07/iraq.sadr/index.html

the religious leaders tell sadar to keep the militia.

let get real here people this is the middle east power extends from the point of a bayonet not the compromise of the people.
 
Written By: slntax
URL: http://
Erb is the same guy who said on these pages the Army could not stand surge operations in Iraq beyond March of 2008 (look at the calendar - its April!).
Actually, I was quoting a military source which claimed that. And, indeed, that is the argument being made, and if looker is right, we are indeed going to draw down the surge now.

And of course you can ignore me. But I think a lot of politicians will find it hard to ignore people like me who become more active in working hard to convince the American people not to support this, working on campuses, public meetings, organizations focused on ending this horrific fiasco, and making sure that the lesson gets learned. Ignore all you want — ignorance is bliss, they say.

Because you pro-war types have been wrong on just about every prediction and claim for five years. You may not be able to admit that openly, perhaps you don’t admit it to yourself. Don’t be surprised, though, if your numbers continue to decline. After all, you can’t even say why we should be paying the cost of staying there, especially when, as Sen. Biden noted, we spend more in three weeks in Iraq than we have in Afghanistan since we invaded in 2001. Yet Bin Laden and the terror networks that threaten us are in Afghanistan, not Iraq. It’s absolutely INSANE.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
My advice - YAWN - ignore him.
Well of course . . . he thinks Juan Cole is a good source, that Carter is a great man, and that the Swift boat vets were lying about Kerry.

I was just using his point to illustrait that it was al-Sadr who blinked.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Iraq’s top Shiite religious leaders have told anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr not to disband his Mehdi Army, an al-Sadr spokesman said Monday amid fresh fighting in the militia’s Baghdad strongholds.
And where is the independent corroboration of this?

Are we to only take al-Sadr’s spokesmans word that this is what they said??

And note this from the same article:
Al-Sadr has called for a mass demonstration in Baghdad on Wednesday against the U.S. presence in Iraq. That protest that would coincide with the fifth anniversary of the toppling of former dictator Saddam Hussein’s government, which fell as a U.S.-led army entered the Iraqi capital.
And then this today:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080408/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iraq_sadr
Aides to Muqtada al-Sadr say the anti-American Shiite cleric is calling off a mass rally in Baghdad Wednesday.

Iraqi security forces are blocking al-Sadr’s followers from traveling to the capital from the southern Shiite heartland where he enjoys wide support.

Two aides in al-Sadr’s office in the holy city of Najaf told The Associated Press that the rally had been canceled. They spoke on condition of anonymity pending an official announcement.

Al-Sadr had called for a “million-strong” protest to mark the fifth anniversary of the capture of Baghdad by U.S. troops. It was seen by many observers as a show of force in his confrontation with the government over calls to disband his Mahdi Army militia.
I think the most important point is the political drive to isolate Sadr. If they can pass through a law preventing the participation of any political party that also maintains a militia, in national elections, that would be a HUGE step to legitimizing the militias and those that control them.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
It’s absolutely INSANE.
You know i think you may have hit upon something there. Yep, lets see if he hit the hight points with this one small sentence.

Gloom - check
Doom - check
Failure - check
loss of world prestige - a stretch but - check

Gee, Erb. I think you have hit the nail upon the veritable head. You could just sign on with that one entry every day and it would basically encapsulate all of your Liberal Narrative talking points. Just think of the time you could save. Why you could just cut and paste the sentence and save even more time.

Let’s try it.

It’s absolutely INSANE.

It’s absolutely INSANE.

You know, I really think it works. Don’t You?

/heh
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
So Sadr comes out of this having fought off the government’s attack, patched any fraying in the JAM, and with his militia blessed by the senior clerics. How many more victories like this can Maliki stand?
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
Gee, Erb. I think you have hit the nail upon the veritable head. You could just sign on with that one entry every day and it would basically encapsulate all of your Liberal Narrative talking points. Just think of the time you could save. Why you could just cut and paste the sentence and save even more time.
You do a lot of dodging and weaving, but you can’t say why it’s worth the cost in Iraq, especially when the real threat is from Afghanistan. You do know that most of the country opposes the war, and wants out. You realize that violence is on the increase. You just don’t seem to have the courage to actually debate the issue, so you hide behind silly phrases like ’liberal narrative’ or ’gloom and doom,’ substituting your words for mine so you don’t have to do the hard work of actually dealing with the issue. Pathetic. Well, reality bites. The policy has failed, the American public aren’t going to take much more of it, and you don’t even seem to know how to try to defend this ongoing fiasco.

What the heck is worth paying this cost in Iraq, when we face so many other needs?
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Boris:
What the heck is worth paying this cost in Iraq, when we face so many other needs?
Certainly the operation in Iraq is more important than the State of Maine paying to keep your useless a** in a classroom, Boris.

So, let’s start cutting where it will do the most good.

And, my goodness, aren’t you sounding more like the North Korean guy on the loudspeakers from Pork Chop Hill:

"You poor silly American boys. Dying for what? You realize that your people at home no longer support you. You die for nothing. Violence is on increase. Give up now. Walk off battlefield. There is nothing to lose. Nothing of importance here for you."

I guess Petraeus really unnerved you today, Boris.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
if looker is right, we are indeed going to draw down the surge now.
It doesn’t make any difference what I think, it’s what is, it’s what was planned all along. It’s what is being reported to Congress today.
You’re peaking in intellectual dishonesty today aren’t you?
is the surge over, right now, at this moment? Are there only 130,000 American soldiers in Iraq at this time? Think before you respond.
Yes, it is. This isn’t an away football game where your players play until the end of the 4th quarter (July), then they all pile on the bus and drive home that afternoon. Having forces in theatre doesn’t equate to using them for combat. There’s huge prep work in getting them, and their equipment, out of the area and the logistics are extensive, as you ought to be able to guess, smart as you are.

Here’s Petraeus own words -
As we look to the future, our task together with our Iraqi partners will be to build on the progress achieved and to deal with the many challenges that remain. I do believe that we can do this while continuing the ongoing drawdown of the surge forces.
Maybe I should put that in caps, would that help you understand the meaning?
ONGOING DRAWDOWN OF THE SURGE FORCES.

How about this paragraph?
During that process, I noted the objective of retaining and building on our hard-fought security gains while we draw down to the pre-surge level of 15 brigade combat teams. I emphasized the need to continue work with our Iraqi partners to secure the population and to transition responsibilities to the Iraqis as quickly as conditions permit, but without jeopardizing the security
gains that have been made.
If we’re still surging, why are we drawing down the surge forces, even now, as we speak, ongoing until July, when the drawdown of the surge forces will be complete?

They’re standing down from surge action and pulling out, or getting prepped to pull out by July, that’s what the report to Congress is about. Give it a read, his report says we need to make sure we don’t rush to withdraw more than what we had pre-surge to ensure we don’t lose what we gained during the "Surge".

So, stuff your bull about surge failure. You are being intellectually dishonest.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Per Crocker the Iraqi people were not happy with al-Sadr or the militia’s confronting the ISF. Part of that goes back to previous confrontations. Another part of that goes to its connection with Iran (and Iran’s Qods Force). The unpopularity of al Sadr’s actions have, apparently, become clear to him. As Crocker reminded the Senate Armed Services Committee, Iraq fought an 8 year war with Iran not that long ago hundreds of thousands of Iraqis were killed or wounded in that conflict.
McQ, you are truly clueless. Clueless on the McCain level of cluelessness.

Maliki’s coalition is made up of parties that were either founded in Iran, or who still receive considerable support from Iran, or both. If nothing else, Sadr is an Iraqi nationalist. Of the two sides in this intra-Shiite battle, it is the Maliki coalition that is far more allied with Iran. Indeed, ISCI’s militia, the Badr Organization, has many members who were trained in Iran with the Revolutionary Guards and who are still on the Iranian payroll.

It’s truly Orwellian to watch you twist the truth.

Wingnuts simply refuse to acknowledge the close ties between the Iraqi government and Iran. They simply refuse.

Fascinating.

Take a look at this picture. This is our ally in Iraq. That’s your boy, McQ, arm-in-arm with Ahmadinejahd.

Sending our troops to defend a government that works hand-in-glove with Iran is borderline treason.

 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
It’s absolutely INSANE.

Gee, that was fun.
Intellectually dishonest? No.
Dodging? No.
Weaving? No.

It was just plain fun.

Does it take courage to say it. No.
Does it affect the level of violence? No.
Is it part of the Liberal Narrative? Maybe.
Is it Gloom and Doom? Could Be.
Is it pathetic? From you yes, from me - no.

It was just plain fun! And if you got a problem with it - tough sh*t.

PS - Martin, you’re right. Patreaus has really got Erb spinning in place right now.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
Gee Scott ..
we took your advice on Durfur and now only people who don’t look like us are dying.
I hope that makes you feel good.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
McQ, you are truly clueless. Clueless on the McCain level of cluelessness.
Me?

You can ignore centuries of war and strife between the two cultures for the present temporary political accommodation, but that doesn’t make me the clueless one.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Me?

You can ignore centuries of war and strife between the two cultures for the present temporary political accommodation, but that doesn’t make me the clueless one.
What are you talking about?

The point you made in your original post is that the Iraqis in Basra are upset with Sadr because of his ties to Iran, and that is presumably why they welcomed the intervention of "government" forces.
The hand of Iran was very clear in the Basra confrontation, and, per Crocker, that hasn’t set will with the majority of Iraqis. Consequently, despite the rush to declare al Sadr the "victor" in Basra, it would appear that the hand that was strengthened was that of Maliki.
The hand of Iran may have been clear - but Maliki was playing it. Maliki and his coalition are Iran’s strongest partners in Iraq. Sadr may represent many things to the Iraqi people, but he doesn’t represent the strong hand of Iran.

Your deception is astounding. You know where Maliki was during the Iran/Iraq war? Iran! Sadr, by contrast, comes from a long line of Iraqi clergy cleary based in Iraq.

Maliki’s efforts in Basra are nothing more than an attempt to take Sadr’s knees out in advance of the upcoming elections. Maliki’s government outlawed Sadr’s militia, but didn’t outlaw the Badr Organization or any other militia connected with the Maliki government, many of which receive direct support from Iran, int terms of money, training and arms.

Does Sadr receieve support from Iran? Sure. But of the two sides in this fight, Iran is clearly more supportive of the Maliki-led coalition.

You know nothing about Iraqi/Iranian relations, or else you are being deceptive.

 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Wow MK
Here’s that anti-Iranian Iraqi homeboy Al-Sadr
Sadr in Iran?

Wha? wha? wha? preposterous eh?

 
Written By: looker
URL: http://

So, stuff your bull about surge failure.
The surge has failed for the reason Biden discussed the other day. The Iraqi Shi’ites remain fragmented, there has been no national political reconciliation, and the central government has remained relatively impotent, dependent itself on militias. Iraq is a failure of policy, a fiasco. Five years, spending more in three weeks than our entire time in Afghanistan, for what? What’s the point? So, no, I won’t "stuff" the truth!

Note that the war critics are citing analysis and facts, while it seems like the pro-war side only spins, attacks, and make vague hopes for the future. And no one even tries to actually explain why this is worth continuing at this cost. It’s not. You know it.

Right now Sadr is strengthened, Maliki looks weaker than ever, and it is clearer than ever that Shi’ite militias control Shi’ite areas, Sunni tribes control the Sunni areas, the Kurds have autonomy, the central government is virtually impotent, and we are unable to change that. Time to cut our loses, it’s not worth it. It never was.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Alas, McQ, your optimist read is very inaccurate, as it must be by definition since it disagrees with my godlike powers of political science. First, the Arab media is reporting that the Sadrists in no way will disarm, and we all know that the Arab media are completely reliable, just like our own media. That is, they report exactly what furthers the extremist cause, just as our media reports what furthers the leftist cause.

They’re simply playing the political game, and why that’s bad when the goal is to have a political solution is hard to explain to someone without godlike powers of political science, but trust me, it’s bad. And it appears that the religious authorities in Najaf actively commanded al-Sadr to maintain his militia, and of course their word is final and Malaki has nothing to say about it just as you have no business determining whether Iraq is a success when that is the province of the anti-war left. Meanwhile violence flairs, even though deaths are way down this month, just trust me, there must be some violence flairing somewhere. Expect the public to begin to put Iraq higher on the radar screen, demanding answers, and of course the only answer that will do is to pull out now and if they accept any other answer then they’re just as dense as you righties. I think the surge will soon go the way of "stay the course," something more mocked than supported. Even though the surge is effectively in its last phase and has dramatically lowered violence, it will still be mocked because it just can’t be a success. It can’t, it can’t, it can’t! I hve to stp typn now bcuse my kybard stppd wrkn frm too mch spittle.
 
Written By: Ott Scerb
URL: http://cluelessprof.maine.edu
The surge has failed for the reason Biden discussed the other day, and we know that Democratic politicians are the smartest people on the planet, so he must be right. The Iraqi Shi’ites remain fragmented, there has been no national political reconciliation, and the central government has remained relatively impotent, dependent itself on militias. I have no references for any of those assertions, but I just know that not only are they true, but they are indicative of complete failure. My godlike powers of political science allow me to decree that, and if you disagree, you’re just being emotional about it. Iraq is a failure of policy, a fiasco. Five years, spending more in three weeks than our entire time in Afghanistan, for what? What’s the point? So, no, I won’t "stuff" the truth! Even though it’s completely apparently by now that what I mean by "truth" is exactly what my godlike powers of political science allow me to directly perceive. It’s a kind of ESP, you see, and you just don’t have it, so why don’t you dense righties shut up and listen to me!?!

Note that the war critics are citing analysis and facts, while it seems like the pro-war side only spins, attacks, and make vague hopes for the future. Of course, I’ve never linked to any analysis and facts that actually supported the anti-war cause unless they were from anti-war hacks like Cole, but it doesn’t matter. Your casualty figures don’t count as facts, either. They’re just spin. Spin, spin, spin, I tell you! And I don’t care what Petraeus says, even though he’s there and all I know are leftist talking points about Iraq from people like Cole, because Petraeus is a liar just like those Swift Boat guys. I decree it! And no one even tries to actually explain why this is worth continuing at this cost. It’s not. You know it. The lack of attacks on our homeland doesn’t count! It just doesn’t count, I tell you! It’s not worth it! It will never be worth it! Because if it were, my entire worldview would crumble to the ground and I would start whimpering over my class notes in which I explain how the US always fails! I just couldn’t stand it!

Right now Sadr is strengthened, Maliki looks weaker than ever, and I don’t care what you say, that’s just the way it is! It’s got to be that way, it’s just got to! And it is clearer than ever that Shi’ite militias control Shi’ite areas, Sunni tribes control the Sunni areas, the Kurds have autonomy, the central government is virtually impotent, and we are unable to change that. It will never change! Never! The wogs can’t do it! Time to cut our loses, it’s not worth it! It never was! It never will be! Pleeeease, make it stop!!!!!
 
Written By: Ott Scerb
URL: http://cluelessprof.maine.edu
Ott Scerb:
And it appears that the religious authorities in Najaf actively commanded al-Sadr to maintain his militia, and of course their word is final and Malaki has nothing to say about it just as you have no business determining whether Iraq is a success when that is the province of the anti-war left.
Now, now, Ott, calm down, you don’t have to jam as many logical fallacies into your posts as the object of your parody. Remember that truth is stranger than fiction, and there’s no way to bridge that gap without fiction losing its ring of authenticity.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
You know nothing about Iraqi/Iranian relations, or else you are being deceptive.
What happened in Karbala in August and why?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Al Sadr’s militia are getting the beating of their lives. Iraqi Army and US forces are killing his people in large numbers every day the Basra operation continues. His ties to Iran are becoming an indirect problem, uniting the Sunni, Shia and Kurdish politicians against him.

He’s the school yard bully who beat people up as a routine. When there is a significant push back, he wants a time out. His new opponent isn’t a Brit playing a game, it’s a well equipped, moderately trained, nationalistic Army who will kick his *ss. No one will help him.

Mookie has two choices. (1) Disband his militia and continue as an Iraqi politician, or (2) stay in the fight and either die or (as I think he will do) run away to Iran. I hope the Iraqis kill him.
 
Written By: Arch
URL: http://
Al Sadr’s militia are getting the beating of their lives.
Not from anything I read. Perhaps you can support this claim? You also seem to be contradicting most analyses I’ve read (and even posted links to) about this. So unless you can support your claim better, I have to chalk it up to wishful thinking on your part. But I’ll consider any evidence you have.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Wow MK
Here’s that anti-Iranian Iraqi homeboy Al-Sadr
Ha, that would he hilarious, if that is what I said.

But as I have repeatedly said, Iran supports both sides, not suprisingly. It is closer, however, in many ways, to the Maliki led coalition.

If your only response to my points is to misrepresent what I have said, well then I guess I have the better side of the argument.
What happened in Karbala in August and why?
Hmmm, I suspect a lot of things happened. Intra-Shiite fighting among them. But so what? Again, you have provided no evidence that Maliki’s coalition is not closely allied with Iran, more closely than the Sadr movement. You have obviously no grasp of the history of the Dawa party, ISCI, the Badr Movement, or any other group allied with the Maliki coalition.

We are fighting with Iran’s closest allies in Iraq. It’s that simple. American soldiers are dying on behalf of a Shiite faction that is battling another Shiite faction for power.

You can spin it any way you want, but that’s the reality.
His ties to Iran are becoming an indirect problem, uniting the Sunni, Shia and Kurdish politicians against him.
Another ignorant statement. Maliki is closer to Iran than Sadr. Hakim is the leader of the strongest faction of the Maliki led coaltiion, ISCI. Hakim spent the Iraq/Iran war in ... wait for it ... in Iran, returning to Iraq only after Saddam was toppled.

Again, this shows the depths to which the wingnut argument has fallen. It’s a complete misrepresentation of history, and of the facts on the ground. And it’s not even an argument about facts in dispute. Anyone who has spent even a moment studying this stuff understands it. Again, the only word that one can use is Orwellian to describe the re-writing of history.

Arch - where is the Dawa party from? ISCI? Where did Maliki spend the Iraq/Iran war? Hakim? Where was the Badr organization founded? Hmmmm?
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Hmmm, I suspect a lot of things happened. Intra-Shiite fighting among them. But so what?
If you don’t know, then you don’t need to be running around attempting to lecture others on what is going on concerning Iraq and Iran.

And it is obvious you don’t know.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Al Sadr’s militia are getting the beating of their lives.

Not from anything I read. Though of course I only read left wing propaganda. Perhaps you can support this claim? I mean, I’m sure you can, but can you support it in a way that I’ll accept it? Nope, I guarantee it. Since it goes against the intuition of my godlike powers of political science, no support you have is enough, but of course I’d love if it you tried. It would give me another chance to blather about how you righties are so far off in the weeds. My obsession is to post and post and post here at QandO, eventually overcoming your resistance through sheer word count.

You also seem to be contradicting most analyses I’ve read (and even posted links to) about this. Again, these are left-wing dogma sources. So unless you can support your claim better using something from the left-wing, I have to chalk it up to wishful thinking on your part. Wishful thinking that you might actually change my mind, I mean. But I’ll consider any evidence you have. I just won’t consider it enough to possibly have it make any difference.
 
Written By: Ott Scerb
URL: http://cluelessprof.maine.edu
If you don’t know, then you don’t need to be running around attempting to lecture others on what is going on concerning Iraq and Iran.

And it is obvious you don’t know.
So there was no intra-shiite fighting in Karbala in August of 2007, as I said there was? Really? Hmmm. Others (the sentient) disagree.

Oh, that’s right - you live under the illusion that the Iraqi "policemen" who battled the Mehdi were not mostly Badr people. Probably all Kurds, right? Even though ISCI controlled the shrines in question, and the Sadr people were guarding the pilgrims, there was no intra-Shiite fighting.

Maliki is more closely allied with Iran than Sadr. You disagree. But you cite no evidence. Please cite evidence showing that Dawa and ISCI started somewhere other than Iran. Please cite evidence that Maliki was not in Iran during the Iraq/Iran war.

Iran is playing on both sides, but is more closely allied with Maliki, with whom we are allied. So we are fighting on behalf of Iran.

I understand that conflicts with the good guy/bad guy narrative that wingers have set up in Iraq to hide this fact. Sorry, but sometimes facts are inconvenient things.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Keep spinning like a modern dervish, MK. It’s fun to watch.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
So there was no intra-shiite fighting in Karbala in August of 2007, as I said there was?
McQ never said there wasn’t. Some day, you’ll run out of straw.
Please cite evidence that Maliki was not in Iran during the Iraq/Iran war.
Sadr was there far more recently, something you conveniently neglect to report.
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://
Please cite evidence showing that Dawa and ISCI started somewhere other than Iran.
It predates the Islamic Revolution in Iran. It began in Iraq in the 50s or 60s.
Please cite evidence that Maliki was not in Iran during the Iraq/Iran war.
He left Iraq in 1980 when Saddam sentinced him to death. He went to Iran, and later, Syria. Dawa was a Shi Islamic party, and had ties to Iran, but was a domestic Iraqi/Arab party.

Next, you will be drawing links between Obama and Wright’s teachings.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
The Islamic Dawa Party (IDP) was formed in 1957 in the Iraqi holy City of Najaf. Its first meetings were chaired by Mohammed Salih Al-Adeeb, Sayid Murtadha Alaskary, Abdul Sahib Dukheil, Sayid Mohammed Mahdi Al-Hakim, Sayid Mohammed Baqir Al-Hakim, Mohammed Sadiq Al-Qamoosee and Sayid Talib Al-Rafa’ee. Their aim was to create a party and a movement which would promote Islamic values and ethics, and which would become an instrument for political activeness. This came at a time when there was widespread ignorance about religion and wide-scale inertia in politics. Mohammad Baqir al-Sadr – who was widely recognised as a leading philosopher, theologian and political theorist – quickly emerged as the leading member. It was he who laid out the foundations for the party and its political ideology, based on Wilayat Al-Umma (Governance of the people).
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Erb:

Bill Roggio at Long Wars Journal is there and has a different perspective than the Leftist Anti-American media you tend to cherish. It hasn’t been the smoothest campaign, but Maliki is in control and Mookie is back on his heels.

The Madhi Army is doing better in Baghdad than in Basra, but it is clear he will lose. The US Army is moving into Sadr City with real combat troops, not thugs.

Absent the Sunni (Baath Party) government, why do Shiites need a militia? They don’t.
 
Written By: Arch
URL: http://
Keep spinning like a modern dervish, MK. It’s fun to watch.
Actually it’s McQ who is spinning, trying to defend a failed policy that has cost tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of lives, for nothing.

MK’s points are accurate. You cannot counter them so you just call him a name. Typical. In fact, I notice that the more obvious it is that you all are wrong in your discussion of the war, the further you drift from actually engaging the other side, and instead just make bitter angry comments. That suggests you know you’ve been wrong and you don’t have the integrity to admit it — you’ve personalized the disagreement so much. That’s your problem — because outside of right wing pro-war blogs and the Weekly Standard, the country has woken up to the fact this has been and continues to be a fiasco.

Arch, I disagree completely with this Roggio guy’s interpretation. He seems to be one of the favorites here, someone who seems to give the pro-military line. But in Basra what happened was that the government forces collapsed. Without the Badr militia (yes, MILITIA) it would have been worse. Maliki had to back down, and the only reason the number was relatively high of Mahdi dead (though not significant to their ranks) was US and British bombardment. Maliki has sense put the Badr militia into the Iraqi military, but it does not appear it’s the militia joining the state, but the state using the militia, much like Germany used the Freikorps after WWI.

Iraq is a long, long way from stability and reconciliation, and probably has numerous fights yet to go through. It’s not worth the price we’re paying — and I note that nobody yet has even ventured to make an argument on why Iraq is worth that price. I think you all really need to take some time and really think critically about your position and ask whether or not you might be wrong. Humans are fallible, you know, don’t cling to a position out of emotional connection.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Don’t you guys get it? You’re just wrong, and naive, and intellectually dishonest, and powerless before my godlike powers of political science. And that Roggio fellow is out in the weeds, along with Yon and Totten, and everybody else that has actually gone there. Yep, back here in the US, all my leftist sources such as the New York Times are much more reliable, because they give me exactly the interpretation I want, which is that the whole thing is a mess and can never get any better.

And I’m going to keep telling you that, over and over and over. I can’t help it. I just have to get the last word. I keep saying the same thing over and over because I just can’t sleep at night knowing that anyone else dared to contradict my godlike powers of political science.

You guys need to think critically about your position. I, of course, never need to do that, because my godlike powers of political science make any mistake unthinkable. But you dense righties just need to accept my superior acumen and change your whole viewpoint. Because if you did that, this whole thing would be over much quicker as support for the war collapsed, and then we anti-war folks would feel the righteous satisfaction that we have once again humbled the US. Just like with Vietnam, which I still have wet dreams thinking about.
 
Written By: Ott Scerb
URL: http://cluelessprof.maine.edu
Arch, I disagree completely with this Roggio guy’s interpretation.
Arch, Erb cannot stand for anyone to refer to a source that disagrees with him. He immediately attacks the source. It doesn’t matter if it is Roggio, or Michael Totten, or Michael Yon, or Chris Hitchens or any one of a number of sources. He routinely throws them out with a comment like:
He seems to be one of the favorites here, someone who seems to give the pro-military line.
Even though it has been some time since anyone referred to Bill Roggio and his Long War blog around here. However, when you question Erb’s use of Juan Cole or the website Antiwar.com (Can you believe anyone with any credibility would refer to that site?) or one of his other Lefty sites he puffs himself up and starts blathering about things just like:
I think you all really need to take some time and really think critically about your position and ask whether or not you might be wrong.
Boy have we heard that line or one just like it for months and months and months and months and months and months. It’s funny though, he never once provides an answer when you ask him the same question.

You will note if you go back to many other discussions regarding the recent operations in Basra and Baghdad, most of the commentors here have merely said that it may be premature to declare Malicki or Sadr as the winner or loser. But then good old Erb jumps in with his tried and true It’s not worth the price we’re paying mantra. Makes you wonder whose talking points he is pushing.

I will say one thing for Erb - He is consistent.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
Arch, Erb cannot stand for anyone to refer to a source that disagrees with him. He immediately attacks the source.
Sort of like you with antiwar.com or Juan Cole. (Gotcha!)

I also notice you don’t address my analysis, nor do you answer the real question:

Iraq is a long, long way from stability and reconciliation, and probably has numerous fights yet to go through. It’s not worth the price we’re paying — and I note that nobody yet has even ventured to make an argument on why Iraq is worth that price.

You’re dodging and weaving, and doing everything you can to avoid a real discussion of the situation. Iraq is a failed policy. Admit it.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Arch, Erb cannot stand for anyone to refer to a source that disagrees with him. He immediately attacks the source.

Sort of like you with antiwar.com or Juan Cole. (Gotcha! Well, if you grant that a source that actually takes the trouble to go over to Iraq, observe, and report is basically the same as a leftwing source that just likes to carp.)

I also notice you don’t address my analysis, nor do you answer the real question. By "my analysis" I mean the same talking points I repeat over and over and over and over and over until I prove my point by sheer repetition. Anyway, the question is:

Iraq is a long, long way from stability and reconciliation, and probably has numerous fights yet to go through. It’s not worth the price we’re paying — and I note that nobody yet has even ventured to make an argument on why Iraq is worth that price.

Well, I just realized that I didn’t actually ask a question. But, on second thought, I don’t need to, because you dense righties could never in a million years give me an answer I would accept on any question.

You’re dodging and weaving, and doing everything you can to avoid a real discussion of the situation. Iraq is a failed policy. Admit it. Now, let’s see, that’s exactly the one thousandth time I’ve said that same thing with slightly different words. You win a prize! Plus, of course, I get the last word, as I always do. Unless you have the temerity to come back again. Which I would love because it would give me yet another chance to repeat my mantra on how the war is lost, feel good about how much smarter I am than you thick righties, and of course still get the last word.
 
Written By: Ott Scerb
URL: http://cluelessprof.maine.edu
Keep spinning like a modern dervish, MK. It’s fun to watch.
And you keep supporting the Iranian puppets in Baghdad, McQ. After all, Americans should give their lives for a "government" that is in bed with Iran.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
In a clear sign of strength and unity the Sadr office released the following today:
The official spokesman for al-Sadr’s office on Monday denied that Shiite Cleric Muqtada al-Sadr had referred the dissolution of al-Mahdi army to Shiite clerics, describing reports in this regard as inaccurate.

“Shiite Cleric Muqtada al-Sadr did not think of dissolving al-Mahdi army,” Sheikh Salah al-Ubeidi told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq – (VOI), noting that “we have no right to interfere in freezing or dissolving al-Mahdi army because it is an exclusive right of Muqtada al-Sadr.”
"Sort of like you with antiwar.com or Juan Cole."

I didn’t realize that Juan Cole was in Iraq, and that antiwar.com had reporters there on the scene. If that’s the case, I should probably start reading them. But if it’s not, then they are likely just presenting their one sided analysis of the luke warm reporting the main stream media is presenting.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Sort of like you with antiwar.com or Juan Cole. (Gotcha!)
You are kidding, right?

Neither are primary sources, and both are highly suspect in their analysis (to put it lightly).

Juan Cole has been caught up in lies and distortions like the time line on Jenin, and antiwar.com has pushed a bunch of wacky "the jooos knew" conspiracy stuff about 9/11.

A primary source may produce a mix of wacky stuff along with real facts, and hence you may have to sift through it despite the wacky stuff. But Juan and antiwar are not worth bothering with, since neither are primary sources, and they have failed to provide useful insight.

Consider, as a counter example, LGF: not really a primary source, but in several cases LGF has provided significant analysis.


 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Iraq is a failed policy. Admit it.
As I have said before - your argument is not convincing and has not convinced me. I don’t need any further documentation. I don’t need to refute you point by point. That has been done time and time again by other commenters to this site and in better words than I can put on paper.

By your standards, I guess you can stand up and proudly state: "Iraq is a failed policy." I Can’t! I can only suppose you have very low standards.
Iraq is a long, long way from stability and reconciliation, and probably has numerous fights yet to go through.
And nobody here is arguing that point, regardless of your protestations to the contrary.
. . and I note that nobody yet has even ventured to make an argument on why Iraq is worth that price.
So to counter you I guess I will "venture to make the argument on why Iraq is worth the price." Here’s why:
Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

This much we pledge—and more.
(Emphasis mine) For those who do not recognize the quote, it is from John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address (20 January 1960). As a 9 year old boy in Arkansas listening to that address in school - I became a Democrat that day. I swore so long as the Democrats stood for those words, I would remain a Democrat for life. I left the Democratic Party many, many years ago.

So why don’t you go and search through Juan Cole and AntiWar.com and the other sites you relish so much and find one, any one, that can throw JFKs words under the bus. Go ahead.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
Sorry, got the date wrong - 20 January 1961

Don’t want to pull a John Kerry on anyone.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
SShiell - I thoroughly reject Kennedy’s statement as arrogant and in fact the kind of mentality that set up the disasters in Vietnam and now Iraq. We should not try to push our vision of what’s best onto the rest of the world, especially not through force - ’democratize or we’ll shoot.’ So I will do all I can to fight against the kind of hubris Kennedy represented — a hubris which leads to the kind of fiasco like Iraq. How would you like it if the quote was from Ahmadinejad and said this: Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of Islam.

And Don, Juan Cole has far more integrity than the spin propagandists at the Weekly Standard or some of those pro-war bloggers in Iraq. Also, note that Juan Cole sites sources for his claims, and antiwar.com is mostly a clearing house of news reports. Cole’s predictions have almost all been accurate, and his analysis has proven correct. Can’t say that for the neo-conservatives, who have been thoroughly discredited.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
You asked and I gave you an answer so don’t bother to pulling your bullsh*t that no one here will answer that question from you. And it is no surprise to me that you then blow me off with:
I thoroughly reject Kennedy’s statement as arrogant and in fact the kind of mentality that set up the disasters in Vietnam and now Iraq.
And you then say:
So I will do all I can to fight against the kind of hubris Kennedy represented.
So Kennedy and his idealism represents Hubris to you? By your own words you now know why we think so little of you.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
In other words, you think little of me because I have a very different perspective on the politics of American foreign policy than you do. That’s fine — I personally don’t judge people personally based on their political perspective, but you are free to do so.

I’m more a realist than an idealist in foreign policy (which is why I think more highly of Republican Richard Nixon than Democrats Kennedy and Johnson), and think we are deluding ourselves when we think that our cultural values can simply be universally applied to all cultures, and in fact even forced on them, based on our nice sounding rhetoric. The kind of idealism of Kennedy leads us to what I call in my blog today "Iraq surreality." Reality trumps idealism most of the time.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
PS - SShiell, my Master’s thesis was originally titled "The Apex of Hubris: Kennedy’s Grand Design," and was a critique of the dangerous idealism of the Kennedy administration. My advisor had me drop the ’apex of hubris’ bit to something a bit less provocative, but frankly, I don’t think much of Kennedy’s approach to foreign policy.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
PS - SShiell, my Master’s thesis was originally titled
PS - Erb, I don’t care what you called it. You asked an honest question and I gave you an honest answer. I did not ask to be treated the way you did with your response.

Oh and by the way, if you were honest and spent just a little time looking at what Ahmadinejad has said, Juan Cole’s protestations notwithstanding, I think you would agree with me that:
Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of Islam.
is real close paraphrase of what he has said.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
I did not ask to be treated the way you did with your response.
How were you ’treated’? As for Ahmadinejad, clearly I do not think his approach to foreign policy is effective either (nor, apparently do Iran’s leaders, as Ahmadinejad’s power has waned). Idealism sounds nice, but too often it morphs into "let’s try to make the world the way we want it to be, other perspectives be damned!" That usually fails.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
That usually failsIdealism sounds nice, but too often it morphs into "let’s try to make the world the way we want it to be, other perspectives be damned!" That usually fails.
Try telling the founding fathers that - you know the ones who signed the Declaration of Independence. Facing the wrath of the greatest, most powerful nation on earth they took an idealistic view of what could be their future and struck out on their own.

I believe had you been there you would have told them in no uncertain terms how wrong they were and how this will be remembered as the greatest folly in history.

I believe in the power of freedom and liberty. I didn’t serve 20+ years in the military to defend a concept that does not include that ideal. I didn’t ask your permission to feel that way and I sure am not asking your forgiveness for the same. You want to know my bottom line?
War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing he cares about more than his personal safety; in a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. John Stuart Mill
You don’t like that kind of idealism in the world? Dig a hole and climb in. And pull your platitudes in there with you. Don’t come out until the dust settles. We will do quite nicely without you.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
I don’t think the founding fathers wanted an aggressive foreign policy. I’m all for building a shining city on a hill and trying to recapture the spirit of freedom, and defend our effort. It’s just the aggressive projection of power thing I oppose.

And, no, I won’t climb in a hole, I’ll do what I can professionally and personally to try to promote my ideals — ideals which I think are far more in line with those of the founders than yours, SShiell. It’s a tradition that also was kept alive by Rep. Thomas Reed, Republican, Speaker of the House in the 1890s, from Maine. He opposed the imperialism embraced by many at the time, as well as the ideas of Charles Eliot Norton from that time.

Also, here’s an good book to read. Students really find it powerful, so do I every time I read it.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Oh, look, Boris snuck back for the last word:
I don’t think the founding fathers wanted an aggressive foreign policy.


Oh, Boris?

That’s O.K., though. We understand you’re a college professor, and don’t know anything.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
I don’t think the founding fathers wanted an aggressive foreign policy. I know they lived in a country that was a small and weak and in a time when a city couldn’t be destroyed by a single suitcase-size bomb, but still. And course, they believed in individualism which would totally preclude things like government-run medicine, but it’s really only necessary to highlight their positions when I agree with them.

I’m all for building a shining city on a hill and trying to recapture the spirit of freedom, and defend our effort. It’s just the aggressive projection of power thing I oppose. In other words, I’d like us to talk a good game on this freedom thing, but never really do anything about it until somebody comes here and starts slaughtering us.

And, no, I won’t climb in a hole. Why should I? I get to live my fondest dream right here on QandO, which is to post and post and post, and have people like you respond to me under a delusion that anything you say could ever affect my opinion. I’ll do what I can professionally and personally to try to promote my ideals — ideals which I think are far more in line with those of the founders than yours, SShiell, well, except for that healthcare/individualism thing. And a bunch of other leftist causes I support, such as basically taking over the entire economy to stop global warming.

Also, here’s an good book to read. Students really find it powerful, especially since I ask a bunch of test questions out of it, and let them know that they really need to toe the line on every thing it says. So do I every time I read it, because it reinforces all my pacifist feeling about how icky war is.
 
Written By: Ott Scerb
URL: http://cluelessprof.maine.edu

 
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