Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 1, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

TALKING TO SADR....Leila Fadel of McClatchy reports that after spending the past four years turning him into Iraq's best known symbol of anti-Americanism, we're finally recognizing reality and trying to open some lines of communication with Muqtada al-Sadr:

The U.S. military is seeking talks with Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al-Sadr directly and through the government of Iraq, according to a top American general.

...."He has a grass-roots movement that he's always going to have; we have to recognize that," Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, the second-ranking American commander in Iraq, told McClatchy Newspapers in an interview this week. "We're trying to talk to him. We want to talk to him."

.... Salah al-Obaidi, a senior Sadr aide, acknowledged that the U.S. has approached the cleric's supporters multiple times about talks with Sadr. He said the requests had been rebuffed.

"This will be a betrayal for the country," Obaidi said. "Any cooperation with the occupier is forbidden."

Sadr's refusal sounds pretty pro forma to me, and I wouldn't be surprised if he eventually his stance. Stay tuned.

Kevin Drum 11:31 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (49)

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Comments

I am not sure if I understand Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno's position. Al-Sadr will never publicly admit to talking to the US, unless the US announces it is getting the hell out. Then of course, Al-Sadr will be glad to take credit for convincing the occupiers to leave. Otherwise, he loses face with his supporters. Are they trying to pressure Al-Sadr? Al-Sadr holds the best cards and he knows it.

Posted by: Joe Klein's conscience on June 1, 2007 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

I thought that we didn't do Humble!

Posted by: R.L. on June 1, 2007 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

The U.S. military is seeking talks with Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al-Sadr directly and through the government of Iraq, according to a top American general.

Just another wonderful result of the Surge. The Surge softened up Sadr and Sadr must now give in to Bush's demands he must renounce violence in pursuit of his goals. The only legitimate way for him to achieve greater power is through the free and democratic political process rather than through violence and that is what he will undoubtedly accept. It is Sadr's fear of the Surge which will lead him to renounce violence and because of this many innocent Iraqi lives will be saved.

Posted by: Al on June 1, 2007 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

I am not sure if I understand Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno's position.

He's a soldier in Iraq who would rather not get in open street battles with several million Shiites. It's not about "winning the war".

Posted by: B on June 1, 2007 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

Kind of ironic.

For years, the Bush/Cheney regime refused all attempts at diplomacy, as it might make the team look weak in the eyes of the base.

They finally breakdown and make an attempt at diplomacy with the insurgents, and are rebuffed because the insurgents don't want to look weak to their base.

Beautiful.

Posted by: TT on June 1, 2007 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

KD: and I wouldn't be surprised if he eventually his stance

Kevin, been taking English lessons from mhr? For shame.

Posted by: mister pedantic on June 1, 2007 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

According to some MSM TV report last night, officers at all levels have been empowered to talk with the insurgents to work out deals with them. It turns out that the insurgents all pretty much want the same things -- their jobs back with the Iraqi army.

Least we forget, one of the dumbest decisions by Bush after the overthrow of Saddam was to dismantle the Iraqi army.

Posted by: Disputo on June 1, 2007 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

Al: "Just another wonderful result of the Surge."

You mean even more swell tan all those extra deaths? You really are a grade-A asshole, aren't you?

Posted by: Kenji on June 1, 2007 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe if we sent Robert McFarlane with a cake and a Bible signed by George W. Bush , Sadr would talk to us.

Posted by: asdf on June 1, 2007 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

Al: "Just another wonderful result of the Surge."

"The Surge" is barely a few thousand into its deployment and won't peak until late August, according to Gen. Petreaus. Meanwhile over the past two months U.S. forces suffered its heaviest casualties since the war began.

Hope you can remove that "wonderful result" from your mother's sofa before she gets home.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on June 1, 2007 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

Al-Sadr is an Iraqi patriotic leader. He is not going to compromise his position and let himself be co-opted into the Quisling Iraqi government the US created from the barrel of a gun. Perhaps the US could have backed al-Sadr's leadership initially after the fall of Saddam, but that assumes they would have been planning to leave Iraq soon thereafter, which was not Bush's and Exxon's plan.

If the US would ask al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army to cover their flanks while they leave Iraq, I think they could come to an agreement. Otherwise, nuts.

Posted by: Brojo on June 1, 2007 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

Line of communication? Picture Chevy Chase in costume knocking on the door and saying, "Candy-gram...candy-gram for Mookie."

Posted by: Land Shark on June 1, 2007 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

Al-Sadr is an Iraqi patriotic leader.

And a brutal, stupid, murderous thug and second rate theologian.

Posted by: Land Shark on June 1, 2007 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

Um, Al? It says we're trying to talk to Sadr, not the other way around. Just switch Sadr's name with Bush's and I think you've got it right.

Posted by: tomeck on June 1, 2007 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

Land Shark: "[al-Sadr is a] second rate theologian."

Just curious: which Iraqi cleric would you consider a "first rate theologian?"

Posted by: JM on June 1, 2007 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

The U.S. enmity toward Sadr has always been of a piece with a general U.S. policy of incoherance and ineffectiveness in picking friends and enemies in Iraq.

At one time, we were supposedly seeking to arrest him for murdering one of the ex-pat clerics we returned to Iraq. What happened to that arrest warrant?

Sadr is the major Shiite "Iraqi nationalist" -- and his nominal opposition to the occupier (that's us) is the central component of that "nationalism", the other piece of his "nationalism" is his willingness to reach out to Sunnis as fellow muslims. If you want Iraq to hold together, Sadr is your go-to guy. Do we go to him? No, of course not.

While the U.S. badmouths the Iranians, the U.S. aligns itself with SCIRI, the Shiite party most aligned with Iran, so closely aligned that they supported Iran in the Iran-Iraq war! How much sense does it make to accuse Iran of fomenting violence in Iraq, while aligning with the Shiite group most closely aligned with Iran -- the recipient of the bulk of Iranian money?

Meanwhile, little or nothing is said about Saudi financing of the Sunni insurgency, which accounts for the bulk of attacks on U.S. forces.

One could go on and on. And, nothing in U.S. policy would make any sense.

Posted by: Bruce Wilder on June 1, 2007 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

Just curious: which Iraqi cleric would you consider a "first rate theologian?"

Not my opinion, really. Just echoing what I read. But Al Sistani wouold certainly get the nod ahead of him.

Posted by: Land Shark on June 1, 2007 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

Land Shark: "...Al Sistani wouold certainly get the nod ahead of him."

Well, yeah, considering that Sistani is a Grand Ayatollah and Sadr is a relatively low-ranking cleric. Juan Cole once suggested that Sistani was analogous to a tenured professor and Sadr was more like a graduate student.

The important issue isn't whether or not Sadr is "second rate" in theological matters (an irrelevant suggestion to begin with), but rather, as Bruce Wilder points out above, whether or not he wields any power in Iraq.

He does. Lots of it. Time to negotiate with him.

Posted by: Jm on June 1, 2007 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

Just curious: which Iraqi cleric would you consider a "first rate theologian?"

All theologians must be considered at least second-rate, as all must accept what they believe on faith alone without proof until they meet that spiritual essence to which they worship in some other realm than this reality which we call life.

Posted by: Nemo on June 1, 2007 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

The important issue isn't whether or not Sadr is "second rate" in theological matters (an irrelevant suggestion to begin with), but rather, as Bruce Wilder points out above, whether or not he wields any power in Iraq.

He does. Lots of it. Time to negotiate with him.

Yep. I'm all for keeping my friends close and enemies closer. Just need to maintain perspective while doing it. The guy's a shitbag.

Posted by: Land Shark on June 1, 2007 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

There is a story that the US is seeking to negotiate seeking cease fires
..."We are talking about cease-fires, and maybe signing some things that say they won't conduct operations against the government of Iraq or against coalition forces," Odierno said from Camp Victory in Baghdad. "We believe a large majority of groups within Iraq are reconcilable and are now interested in engaging with us. But more importantly, they want to engage and become a part of the government of Iraq."...
It sounds like a desperation move.

Posted by: Mike on June 1, 2007 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

...And a brutal, stupid, murderous thug and second rate theologian.

Are you talking about my beloved President again?

Posted by: thersites on June 1, 2007 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

Off topic, but just in case the site crashes again, a kittie-fix can be found here

[/blogwhoring]

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on June 1, 2007 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

Iraqis are in an existential struggle, unlike the US, which is in a covetous struggle. Al-Sadr's father and brothers were murdered by Saddam and the Sunni Baathists who supported him. If al-Sadr has committed crimes against those who have committed crimes against him and his faction, they were committed from the point of view of weak victims against powerful perpetrators. The Shiites, especially followers of al-Sadr, have no intention of remaining the historical majority underclass of Iraq, despite the murderous oppression W. Bush imposes on them.

Posted by: Brojo on June 1, 2007 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

Arrogance. Stupidity. Lack of Planning. Lack of leadership. Disregard for the public. Disregard for the lives of those they "emancipated." Cronyism. Constant muddying of the waters so that people don't know what's going on.
HOW ARE THEY STILL IN POWER??
(Is this what happened to the Romans?)

Posted by: Captain on June 1, 2007 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

Captain,
The Romans were also done in by environmental poisons, such as lead in the water. At least we don't have to worry about, um, well, er...

Posted by: thersites on June 1, 2007 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

"...While the U.S. badmouths the Iranians, the U.S. aligns itself with SCIRI, the Shiite party most aligned with Iran, so closely aligned that they supported Iran in the Iran-Iraq war! How much sense does it make to accuse Iran of fomenting violence in Iraq, while aligning with the Shiite group most closely aligned with Iran -- the recipient of the bulk of Iranian money?..."
Posted by: Bruce Wilder on June 1, 2007 at 12:55 PM

The worst-case scenario for the administration is to have both the Shia and Sunni Arabs united against us, telling us to get out, and not letting us leave bases behind. Moqtada represents such a threat (whether it is possible for him to accomplish that is another matter). Favoring SIIC puts a wedge into Moqtada's plans and the Shia alliance. Hakim was in Washington not long ago for a visit... and they took "revolution" out of their name, etc. It is possible that we may use SIIC as a "broker" of sorts with Iran to make some deal. The thorny part of this is what will happen to the Sunnis? Will SIIC be able to strike a deal with them?

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on June 1, 2007 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

Iraqis are in an existential struggle, unlike the US, which is in a covetous struggle.

Al-Sadr's father and brothers were murdered by Saddam and the Sunni Baathists who supported him. If al-Sadr has committed crimes against those who have committed crimes against him and his faction, they were committed from the point of view of weak victims against powerful perpetrators.

Saddam and his faction have been removed for 4 years, and many are pushing up daisies. How many years of revenge killings of Sunnis (including Sunnis who had nothing to do with Saddam) before you suggest he stop his "untidiness"?

The Shiites, especially followers of al-Sadr, have no intention of remaining the historical majority underclass of Iraq, despite the murderous oppression W. Bush imposes on them.

Murderous oppression? Last I checked, the Shiites won a majority in the democratic election held in Iraq. The majority is theirs.

It'd be nice if they (Sunnis and Shia) stopped acting like medieval animals and joined the 21st century, that's all. Maybe a quick phone call to Nelson Mandela would help.

Posted by: Land Shark on June 1, 2007 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

"Captain,
The Romans were also done in by environmental poisons, such as lead in the water. At least we don't have to worry about, um, well, er..."
Posted by: thersites"

The Romans didn't have lead poisoning. Their pipes were made of lead it's true, but the water quickly coated the insides of the pipes with calcium carbonate which prevented their water from coming in contact with the lead. The idea that the Romans fell because of lead in their water is completely wrong. Just a misconception that's been past down for centuries.

We, on the on other hand, have many hundreds of dangerous environmental poisons in our water and food. We haven't fallen yet... Still those test scores keep on going down and we keep talking about the dumbing of America.

Posted by: slanted tom on June 1, 2007 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

The Sunni death squads that target Shiites have something to do with Shiite death squads that target Sunnis. And vice versa. However, the Shiites have endured decades, if not centuries, of this kind of abuse, while the Sunnis have 'just' a few years of it.

Many Iraqis have good reasons to kill their sectarian foes. It is kill or be killed for them, thanks to the US invasion. Americans have no such reasons to use violence, yet they kill and torture just as brutally as any Medieval satrap. Americans cannot condemn any Iraqi for using violence without first condemning and insisting their own shitbags who use violence stop.

Posted by: Brojo on June 1, 2007 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

The Sunni death squads that target Shiites have something to do with Shiite death squads that target Sunnis.

Absolutely no arguing that the Sunnis have brought this on themselves, and that Sistani showed enormous restraint in encouraging the Shia withhold retribution.

However, the Shiites have endured decades, if not centuries, of this kind of abuse, while the Sunnis have 'just' a few years of it.

I'm sure somewhere you can find an oppressed Sunni minority who can rationalize a multi-year killing spree based on crimes committed against their forefathers. But it'd be nice to realize that peace ultimately requires moving beyond the cycle. Again, reference Sistani.

Americans have no such reasons to use violence, yet they kill and torture just as brutally as any Medieval satrap.

Eh? So you would place humiliating an Iraqi by posing them naked with Western women equivalent to using small forks to pry out eyeballs, squeezing heads in vices, drilling out joints, cutting off hands, etc?

http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,21792439-2,00.html

Americans cannot condemn any Iraqi for using violence without first condemning and insisting their own shitbags who use violence stop.

Sure we can. We threw out one the history's more brutal dictators and brought democratic elections to Iraq. I don't care if it was just for the oil or not. We brought freedom to Iraq, whether it was a main purpose or a byproduct. It is just a shame the Islamists of all flavors are too stupid to appreciate it or know what to do with it. For guys lie Sadr, it means the freedom to be his own brand of thug.

Posted by: Land Shark on June 1, 2007 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

So you would place humiliating an Iraqi by posing them naked with Western women equivalent to ....

I'm thinking more of waterboarding and electrodes on genitals, but thx for revealing your wingnut credentials by way of the wingnut false equivalency meme.

Posted by: Disputo on June 1, 2007 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

We threw out one the history's more brutal dictators

Saddam doesn't even rate in the top twenty historically. Even just in the 20th century he's only an also-ran.

Sure, he was a thug, but there are lots of thugs out there. We do business with most of them.

Posted by: tomeck on June 1, 2007 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not a frequent visitor and read the earlier post by Al and thought it was satire. "...another wonderful result of the surge" is so over-the-top I assumed it was farcical.

I guess he is one of those far-right fanatics who haunt leftist blogs. He can't seriously believe that - can he?

Posted by: elfantgirl on June 1, 2007 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

...you would place humiliating an Iraqi by posing them naked with Western women equivalent to using small forks to pry out eyeballs, squeezing heads in vices, drilling out joints, cutting off hands, etc?

I must admit that I'm having difficulty establishing an appropriate league table by which to rank various forms of torture. For example, I agree that "posing a guy naked with a woman" is not equivalent to "prying out his eyeball," but I can't quite figure out where "raping a child" fits on the list. Would it be equivalent to "drilling a guy's knee" or "squeezing a guy's head in a vice?"

http://boingboing.net/2004/07/15/hersh_children_raped.html

Posted by: JM on June 1, 2007 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

I'm thinking more of waterboarding and electrodes on genitals...

We don't do electrodes on genitals. Are you saying waterboarding and prying someone's eyes out with small forks is equivalent? Or cutting off a hand? Drilling out someone's joints? You're right about hte false equivalence. They aren't equivalent, thank you.

Saddam doesn't even rate in the top twenty historically. Even just in the 20th century he's only an also-ran.

Maybe not in total numbers killed. After all, he only had 25 million to work with while Mao had over a billion. But using chemical weapons on his own people gives him a special place on the list.

but I can't quite figure out where "raping a child" fits on the list. Would it be equivalent to "drilling a guy's knee" or "squeezing a guy's head in a vice?"

I'll help you with the difference between the two. One is a crime against the group's laws that is or should be punished, the other is a method explicitly described in a manual published by its group which implies endorsement.

[please stop feeding the RSM troll]

Posted by: Land Shark on June 1, 2007 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

[please stop feeding the RSM troll]

Thx. I was wondering who he was.

Posted by: Disputo on June 1, 2007 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

I'll help you with the difference between the two.

Thanks, but I'm interested in ranking the techniques in terms of equivalence, not in terms of criminality (hint: they're all crimes).

Posted by: JM on June 1, 2007 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

[please stop feeding the RSM troll]

So just what exactly makes my posts trolling? The fact that I disagree on points? I like to argue? I back up my arguments with facts.

Is it your job to enforce thought discipline here? Worried that someone might "stray off the farm" so to speak and entertain an idea not wholly supported by the DNC? Is this site only for liberals? What are you scared of?

[what are YOU scared of? Why do you need a new name every time you post?]

Posted by: Land Shark on June 1, 2007 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

hint: they're all crimes

Within the Islamic State of Iraq, I don't think you're right on that. And probably about Saddam's Iraq too. I think they considered it perfectly legal, whereas we've got perps serving time in Leavenworth for their actions.

Posted by: Land Shark on June 1, 2007 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, the shark, babe, has such teeth, dear
And it shows them pearly white
Just a jackknife has old MacHeath, babe
And he keeps it … ah … out of sight.

Ya know when that shark bites, with his teeth, babe
Scarlet billows start to spread
Fancy gloves, though, wears old MacHeath, babe
So there’s nevah, nevah a trace of red.

Now on the sidewalk … uuh, huh … whoo … sunny mornin’ … uuh, huh
Lies a body just oozin' life … eeek!
And someone’s sneakin' ‘round the corner
Could that someone be Mack the Knife?

A-there's a tugboat … huh, huh, huh … down by the river don’tcha know
Where a cement bag’s just a'droopin' on down
Oh, that cement is just, it's there for the weight, dear
Five'll get ya ten old Macky’s back in town.

Now, d'ja hear ‘bout Louie Miller? He disappeared, babe
After drawin' out all his hard-earned cash
And now MacHeath spends just like a sailor
Could it be our boy's done somethin' rash?

Now … Jenny Diver … ho, ho … yeah … Sukey Tawdry
Ooh … Miss Lotte Lenya and old Lucy Brown
Oh, the line forms on the right, babe
Now that Macky’s back in town.

Aah … I said Jenny Diver … whoa … Sukey Tawdry
Look out to Miss Lotte Lenya and old Lucy Brown Yes, that line forms on the right, babe
Now that Macky’s back in town …

Look out … old Macky is back!!

Posted by: Brojo on June 1, 2007 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

[what are YOU scared of? Why do you need a new name every time you post?]

When in Rome...

People here have been bouncing around with names since I showed up two years ago. They've been spoofing continuously, and adopting temporary new names to fling especially vitriolic commentary. See "heavy" and "RSM". I've never seen them (members of the Groupthink) called on it or have their posts deleted. You do feel free to apply your heavy hand to those who don't fall into the party line.

You want people to use consistent names? Require registration. Want them to use real names? Actually moderate the forums, and moderating means more than just deleting posts that don't meet your Groupthink criteria. It means keeping things civil.

Since you don't do any those things, I'll just keep making up topical handles as I see fit.

Posted by: Land Shark on June 1, 2007 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

elfantgirl: I'm not a frequent visitor and read the earlier post by Al and thought it was satire. "...another wonderful result of the surge" is so over-the-top I assumed it was farcical.

There used to be a right-wing commenter named Al who posted comments more-or-less like this, but for quite some time it has seemed, to me and to some other regulars, as thought the "Real Al" has been replaced by a satire who always uses language that it just beyond what the "Real Al" would have written. In the line you quoted, for example, the word "wonderful" clearly exceeds the language ("promising", "good", "beneficial") that Al might have written. The "Fake Al" is so close to the "Real Al", and these linguistic departures so cleverly chosen, that "Fake Al" is pretty funny. Especially since he always posts early in the thread and lots of people respond to him -- or her.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on June 1, 2007 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

Brojo,
Thanks, bud. Now people want to know why I'm going around the office snapping my fingers going huh, huh, huh. Can I mention your name? ;)

Posted by: thersites on June 1, 2007 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

Sadr's refusal sounds pretty pro forma to me,

Any reason for thinking so?

His party hasn't done really well in elections, and he has not run as a candidate himself. Wherever his militia have been contested by US/Iraqi forces, Iraqi citizens turn against the Sadrists in significant numbers. It looks as though his only hope for power is to force a civil war and win it.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on June 1, 2007 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

[Sadr's] party hasn't done really well in elections

Well sure, if you discount the fact that his party entered late and still won the third most seats in parliament, was a powerful member of a critical alliance, and controlled six vital ministries.

I mean, what you say is exactly true -- if you discount all the facts.

and he has not run as a candidate himself

And yet he is arguably the most powerful figure in the Iraqi government. Maliki doesn't use the loo without asking his permission first. Fancy that. Why run for office when you wield real power?

Wherever his militia have been contested by US/Iraqi forces, Iraqi citizens turn against the Sadrists in significant numbers.

Sweet, sweet crack. Zip. Snowbird. Peruvian Flake.
I recommend you just enter a treatment program and say no to the White Lady.

It looks as though his only hope for power is to force a civil war and win it.

Yes, "the only hope," the last desperate gamble for Iraq's single most powerful figure is to blah blah blah. Sadr, for all his faults, is sitting quite pretty, and has been playing the Bush administration like a fiddle.

I think you meant to write: "It looks as though Bush's only hope for power is to force a civil war both here and in Iraq and win it."

In fact, that has been the Rove playbook all along.

Posted by: trex on June 1, 2007 at 10:09 PM | PERMALINK

trex: And yet he is arguably the most powerful figure in the Iraqi government. Maliki doesn't use the loo without asking his permission first. Fancy that. Why run for office when you wield real power?

running for office in contested elections is the test of popularity. Whenever the Americans campaign against the Sadrists they receive plenty of help from the local citizens. So we don't know whether the majority support him or oppose him, only that he has his opponents in many places outgunned.

The situation is analogous to the Nazis in 1932. Their leader had never run for elective office, and they held only 33% or fewer seats in the legislature. He was the most powerful man in Germany. A similar case may be present in Indonesia where JI holds only 25% or so of the seats, but where they exert power by routinely beating their opponents and torching opposition establishments.

There are in fact many instances of rulers holding power, often for long periods of time, without holding freely conducted and contested elections.

al Maliki, by contrast, was elected to his position, by the representatives who had won the contested election. He has the limited power most prime ministers have (consider the long list of prime ministers in post-WWII Italy, not one of whom ruled as magnificently as Mussolini; or the PMs of Spain, not one of whom has had the power of Franco.)

Demagogues frequently appear to have more popular support than they do because they bludgeon their opponents into silence and promise to solve all problems if permitted to govern without compromise. Al Sadr may be such a demagogue. He was indicted by Iraqi courts for (complicity in) the murder of the senior Ayatollah that occurred in about May 2003.


his party entered late and still won the third most seats in parliament, was a powerful member of a critical alliance, and controlled six vital ministries.

Fair enough. Somewhere between "not that bad" and "not that good". If he ran for office and won, then he might be elected prime minister. Al Maliki was his ally, and reportedly no longer is.

I recommend you just enter a treatment program and say no to the White Lady.

Wouldn't it be more straightforward to deny the assertion, as you deny some others, and provide a link? You're not denying that the US/Iraqi forces drove the Sadrists out of Najaf, or that they have recently arrested Sadrist henchmen in Sadr City, are you? They certainly have done that, and they have received substantial help from local Iraqis who themselves are not strong enough to challenge the Sadrists.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on June 2, 2007 at 11:04 PM | PERMALINK

Wouldn't it be more straightforward to deny the assertion, as you deny some others, and provide a link?

It's impossible to disprove vague handwaving. Wouldn't it have been more straightforward to actually provide some substantiation for your idiotic claim?

Pointing to the fact that your post had all the insight of someone in a drug-induced haze was probably the most germane position I could have taken on the matter.

You're not denying that the US/Iraqi forces drove the Sadrists out of Najaf, or that they have recently arrested Sadrist henchmen in Sadr City, are you?

WTF does this have to do with the claim "Iraqi citizens turn against the Sadrists in numbers"?

Answer: nothing.

American and Iraqi military ≠ Iraqi citizens.

Whenever the Americans campaign against the Sadrists they receive plenty of help from the local citizens.

No they don't. I don't know what to say beyond that to such an absurd claim. They so don't get help that Maliki has even reneged on promises to disarm this very small, unpopular group that you're portraying them as.

It would probably be more accurate to say that whenever the Americans campaign against the Sadrists, they engender resentment both from the Sadrists themselves as well as sympathy from rival factions who would not otherwise be inclined to give it.

The Sadrists main goal -- Americans out of Iraq -- is shared by their allies and their rivals.

This alternative take on reality has been a fascinating if revolting peek into the workings of your mind, however.

The situation is analogous to the Nazis in 1932 blah blah blah

No it's not. The only way it's analogous is that you are happily feeding Iraqis into metaphorical ovens in the name of the safety of the Fatherland.

Banality.of.evil.

Posted by: trex on June 2, 2007 at 11:23 PM | PERMALINK

running for office in contested elections is the test of popularity

On the Popularity of Moqtada al-Sadr:

“You know the popularity of the Sadrists from Basra to Baghdad,” “I think the Sadr tide will rule the country. They are the majority and they have a good background and that gives them a chance to take control. Once we take power we will be merciful with Sunnis. Our way is to kill somebody only when we suspect he has a link to insurgents.”

A bare majority of Iraq's 275-member parliament recently signed a petition promoted by al-Sadr that called for a timetable to be established for the U.S. troops to depart

I'd say that bending the parliament to your will in defiance of the express wishes of the Prime Minister is the test of popularity.

That and having a majority of the country willing to fall behind you, if not take up arms to support you.

So we don't know whether the majority support him or oppose him, only that he has his opponents in many places outgunned.

But a US-sponsored poll reported in June 2004 that 67 percent of respondents supported [al Sadr] (with 32 percent offering "strong support", and 36 percent saying they "somewhat support" him). He was the third most popular political figure, behind Ali Sistani but far ahead of Iyad Allawi

Yeah, I could post the links to the Salvation Council of Anbar reaching out to Sadr because of his critical importance and large following, or of the rival parties in the government bewailing the departure of his party members, but I think this has been sufficient humiliation for one day.

Posted by: trex on June 3, 2007 at 12:20 AM | PERMALINK
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