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The WSJ says Sadr’s about spent
Posted by: Billy Hollis on Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Yesterday, the WSJ reported that:
Anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr ... intends to disarm his once-dominant Mahdi Army militia and remake it as a social-services organization.

The transformation would represent a significant turnabout for a group that, as recently as earlier this year, was seen as one of the most destabilizing anti-American forces in Iraq.
That doesn't do much to support Iraq war opponents who confidently assured us, when Maliki took on Sadr in earnest earlier this year, that Sadr really won and Maliki lost. Instead McQ looks really prescient in his posting on the subject at the end of March. (That thread is particularly amusing in retrospect, as one of our post-modern leaning commenters assures us that "Objectively, Maliki lost. There is no other honest way to call this.")

In "Moqtada Packs It In" today the WSF further notes that:
In many respects, the story of the Mahdi Army's decline follows the same pattern as al Qaeda's: Not only was it routed militarily, it also made itself noxious to the very Shiite population it purported to represent and defend.
Of course, such progress is of limited benefit by itself, but they also conclude:
The overwhelming Shiite rejection of this brand of politics is another piece of good news from Iraq, as it means that Iraqis will not tolerate Iranian-style theocratic rule.

It is also an indication that Iraqi politics is developing in a healthy way.

{snip}

Mr. Maliki ... has also proven to be more than a sectarian politician and no Iranian pawn. Instead, he has turned out to be a muscular Iraqi nationalist, a stance that enjoys far greater popular support than many Western "experts" on Iraq believed possible.


I hope they are right about this. Certainly those who claimed that Iran would ultimately triumph in Iraq simply because of its Shiite commonality and its backing of militant groups ought to rethink that position. The situation is clearly more complex than that, and there appear to be good possibilities for a reasonable degree of stability and openness in Iraq for the long term. When Iraqis get a decent taste of freedom and prosperity, I find it hard to believe they will just hand it all back when Iran ratchets up the pressure.

I don't think Bush has handled Iran that well, and Iran has played a pretty good game on a relatively weak hand. They might still contrive a way to induce enough instability to drive out the US and come out as the major power in the region. But that possibility has not been strengthened by events in the last year.
 
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Comments
But....this would mean Juan Cole was wrong! But....Juan’s always the "go to" guy on NPR and the NewsHour, so he must always be right.
 
Written By: Rich Horton
URL: http://www.iconicmidwest.blogspot.com
Not only was Cole wrong on this, but those who uncritically parrot everything he says have been shown up for the poseurs that they are.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
My concern would be that the type of org he’s setting up is exactly what Hammas has been. Think about it.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Yes, pretty hilarious reading Erb’s comments.

I am betting that he will never admit just how wrong he was and as now he seeing reality in a postmodern (read -> complete bs) way.
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
C’mon, give Erb a break. Its not like his day job involves researching, analyzing, and understanding politics. Its not like he’s teaching our kids or anything.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
My concern would be that the type of org he’s setting up is exactly what Hammas has been.
I would not be surprised if that were his plan. However, Hamas has the advantage of operating in a theater that has no effective legitimate government. They also get to control large sums of money contributed by soft-headed, well-meaning do-gooders in the UN and elsewhere. Mookie would not have those advantages. It sounds as if he no longer has an Iranian sugar daddy, and the Iraqi government already looks strong enough to deal with the likes of him.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
So he’s becoming a community organizer??
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
I can’t help myself.

Small steps there Erb. Small Steps!
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
So he’s becoming a community organizer??
Heh. Well, when you’re not good for anything else...
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
"Muqtada al-Sadr ... intends to disarm his once-dominant Mahdi Army militia and remake it as a social-services organization."

Clearly this is part of Iran’s long range plan to dominate Iraq. A change of tactics such as this is not a sign of weakness, as you biased and ignorant right-wingers think, but rather proof of flexibility, adaptability, and the patience to go for the long term win. Having clearly and publicly embarrassed and defeated Maliki regarding disarmament Sadr and his Iranian allies have now decided to change tactics, remaining at least one step ahead of the US and its puppets. Sadr has shown his iron fist, but now he chooses to cover it with a velvet glove.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
At last! Someone else finally understands the true situation in Iraq as well as I do!

timactual, I salute your conversion from dense rightie into wise leftist. With my excellent tutoring, your godlike powers of political science will blossom. Together, we will use advanced postmodernist arguments to dominate those thick, silly front page posters at QandO. Especially McQ and Hollis. They’re the really thick ones.

Now, for your first lesson, let me introduce you to that noted professor and Iraq expert Juan Cole, who is another brilliant leftist who never makes a mistake. I have a thirty thousand word post about him that explains it all over at my blog, which I am definitely not trying to pimp over here, no sir.
 
Written By: Ott Scerb
URL: http://cluelessprof.maine.edu
While this may look like full retrenchment, the announcement of the change in status of the Madhi Army made it clear that there would be a military wing, much in the form of Hezbollah in Lebanon, which has a charity-based entity and a military-based entity.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
So he’s becoming a community organizer??
Well it seems to have helped someone else’s campaign for president. But before Sadr gets to that stage he will need an extreme makeover from his "chester the child mol..." ambiance
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
(That thread is particularly amusing in retrospect, as one of our post-modern leaning commenters assures us that "Objectively, Maliki lost. There is no other honest way to call this.")
This place would likely be more interesting if there were less Erb-trolling.
 
Written By: Arcs
URL: http://
"timactual, I salute your conversion from dense rightie into wise leftist."

Are you sure it is not just prevarication?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
This place would likely be more interesting if there were less Erb-trolling.
I can understand that position. My own motivation is to smack that idiot down every time he wanders back here with another smug, condescending, intellectually dishonest comment about how he’s got everything figured out and the rest of us don’t understand anything, are tools of the military, or whatever his current hobby-horse is.

It’s possible that I am overly enthusiastic about that mission. I’m open to what other commenters have to say about it. My objective is to induce him to stay away so he doesn’t degrade the quality of the site, and I’m open to ideas about the best way to do that.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Are you sure it is not just prevarication?
Of course I’m sure! In political discussions, there’s no such thing as prevarication. There are just multiple truths.

That’s why we need to take everything Iran’s leaders say at face value. They would never deceive us! They have just arrived at their own truth, and unfortunately that truth means the Jews all have to die, but that’s a small sacrifice to make for the more important goal of a world-wide post-modern understanding between nations, in which there is never any war because everything is just negotiated. If you’ll come over to my blog, which I am not either pimping for, I have a novel-length post about why negotiation is just magical, as long as you carry out certain self-effacement rituals, and will always induce our enemies to become friends. Because this interventionism preferred by the dense righties is just a bad strategy, risky, risky, risky, while non-interventionism coupled with magical negotiation would never fail in a million years.
 
Written By: Ott Scerb
URL: http://cluelessprof.maine.edut
Clearly this is part of Iran’s long range plan to dominate Iraq. A change of tactics such as this is not a sign of weakness, as you biased and ignorant right-wingers think, but rather proof of flexibility, adaptability, and the patience to go for the long term win. Having clearly and publicly embarrassed and defeated Maliki regarding disarmament Sadr and his Iranian allies have now decided to change tactics, remaining at least one step ahead of the US and its puppets. Sadr has shown his iron fist, but now he chooses to cover it with a velvet glove.
Comments like this (yes, I know it comes with a heaping tablespoon of snarky sarcasm. So shoot me! :-P) remind me of the late night TV skit involving a game of strip poker. When one of the players is down to his drawers he boastfully announces "I’ve got you all right where I want you!" Da Mookstah has us right where he wants us...
 
Written By: CR
URL: http://
Actually, if Sadr plays his cards right, he could get elected in 5 or 10 years. He was sincere in his efforts. What better measure of a man is there then, he did what he thought was best for his country. If he takes the intervening time to be contrite and step completely away from using violence, it could happen.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
" I’m open to what other commenters have to say about it."

"Lay on, Macduff, And damn’d be him that first cries, ’Hold, enough!’"

You can never have too much E*b smacking. The only possible justification for E*b’s existence is, as I have mentioned before, that he may inspire creative and/or amusing rhetoric in others, and he serves as an excellent bad example.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
IMO Erb was a potentially important voice representing a minority view in this blog. He was intelligent and knowledgeable, and he wrote well.

There was just one tiny problem. He was so blinded by his ideology and his self-image as an enlightened teacher, that he was intellectually dishonest and insufferable on a near-constant basis. It horrifies me that in the social scheme of things he is accorded expert status on international relations and he teaches at the college level.

I’d like to think that if Erb had posted in this blog with an open-mind and a willingness to agree to disagree, that we might have had some good discussions here.
 
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
Spot on Huxley.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Finally, someone has admitted that I am intelligent and knowledgeable. Of course, I knew it all along, but after all the insults here, it’s good to get confirmation that even dense righties can see those attributes.

Of course I don’t agree with the rest of that evaluation. I’ve always entered discussions with an open mind! I’m very open to new ideas. Why, I get new insights from Juan Cole practically every week. Of course, the dense righties here have never come up with anything that I could take seriously, alas, so I have not seen any opportunity to pick up new ideas here.

And I’m always willing to disagree! I’ve just been discussing how post-modernism allows us to have multiple truths, and I understand that you dense righties will have a different truth than me. However, to discuss things with thick righties, I have to pretend to adhere to elightenment thinking, which means someone is right and someone is wrong, and of course since I know I’m right, that can lead to me inadvertently giving the impression that I think everyone here is wrong.

I don’t really mean it, of course. Au contraire! The only thing you guys are definitely wrong about is not accepting that post-modernism has simply destroyed enlightenment thinking. That’s definite, and above the rest of the discussion, so I can’t let you get away with thinking otherwise. (Well, that implies that you don’t understand post-modernism too, so if you claim otherwise, your’re wrong about that.)

Oh, and you’re definitely wrong about Iraq too. And the fact that our intervention there is just like Japanese and German aggression in WWII. If you accept post-modernism, you must understand that nothing good can come from Iraq and the US is an aggressor nation, so you are definitely wrong if you think otherwise. But still, outside of those areas, you can think anything you like and I’ll still respect your opinion. You know, in the same sense that a guy tells a girl he will still respect her in the morning.

But I’m not commenting here regularly. And I’m not pimping for my blog either, which you should come over and read right now to see my essay on how post-modernism allows, establishes, and confirms the alternate truth that 10 times 10 equals 99 instead of 100. Unless you think it equals -103.72. That’s cool too.
 
Written By: Ott Scerb
URL: http://cluelessprof.maine.edu
Was Erb just regurgitating a Juan Cole riff on the Basra fighting? I never could make sense of what Erb was saying then, even when I read the links he provided. I can’t make sense of Juan Cole now, reading Rich Horton’s link.

I would like to see a list of Erb’s golden oldies—things he couldn’t help but get wrong.

* Basra was a failure for Maliki and the US; a triumph for Sadr and Iran.
* The TNR Beauchamp stories were true.
* The Iraq War is a fiasco, an utter fiasco!
* The United States is in decline.

Any others?
 
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
The USA/CIA funded/trained Usama bin Laden.
There was a surplus under Clinton (despite a (real) increase in debt every year).
 
Written By: anonymous
URL: http://
"I would like to see a list of Erb’s golden oldies"

Careful, there. You are verging on some sort of pathological obsession disorder, or perhaps clinical depression. Do you exhibit any other self destructive symptoms?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://

 
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