Sunday, November 26, 2006
Sadr Kicks It Up A Notch
Muqtada al-Sadr, who not all that long ago was dismissed as just another warlord by the same smartypants that thought invading and occupying Iraq was a brilliant idea, has just seized the Iraqi government's own TV channel and is using it to call for all-out war against the Sunnis. All the pundits punditing this morning about how we can't just abandon the Iraqi people like we abandoned the Vietnamese (Dolchstoß, Dolchstoß, über alles...) have been shown, once again, to be buffoons. And we may be pulling out of Iraq a lot sooner than pretty much everyone but Steve Gilliard anticipated. UPDATE: Even the people at Newsweek are finally admitting that Sadr is a force -- and the biggest force -- to be reckoned with in Iraq. And they even state the biggest reason why: It's because, unlike the exiles who parachuted back into Iraq with much fanfare after not having seen the place in decades, he has credibility with his fellow Shia, with whom he suffered under Saddam (and who are suffering even more under the US occupation).
I don't think you are reading the Mercury News story that closely.(Maybe Gilliard isn't either.)
Although it's pretty clear that the persons who seized the TV station are politically affiliated with al Sadr, it's by no means clear that he was involved, or responsible. The McClatchy reporters even comment about this, questioning whether al Sadr still has any influence.
There's also a Reuters story(from the day before), that says that al Sadr spoke on Friday, demanding that Sunni religious leaders denounce the violence against Shi'as.
Bremer tried to kill Sadr in 2004. He failed. And that was when Sadr had much less power than he does now.
Sadr has been continually underestimated by the "smart people". And he keeps growing in power and influence.
He has easy access to Iraqi police uniforms, so much so that his Mahdi Army are passing them out to their adherents in Sadr City so they can move freely once the curfew is lifted. That was another thing in the article Gilliard cite which the Sadr-pooh-poohers overlooked. Oh, and the US has been training the Iraqi Army and police, most if not all of whom are now beholden to militias, the biggest faction being Sadr's. It's not like 2004, when he just had a bunch of untrained kids at his back. His people are battle-hardened now.
More blogs about politics.