Warning: Constant ABSPATH already defined in /home/public/wp-config.php on line 27
Iraq Voter Registration Drive Over — Why Now?
On-line Opinion Magazine…OK, it's a blog
Random header image... Refresh for more!

Iraq Voter Registration Drive Over

Of course, Dr. Cole has his round-up, Iran Brokers Call for Ceasefire; Bush reduced to Irrelevancy in Iraq; Fighting Continues, and Noah Shachtman of Danger Room has a nice catch in his post, Is Iraq Still an Insurgency?

My reading is that Prime Minister al Malaki is the biggest loser. He launched this attack and it failed to achieve anything; his own party, Da’wa, and ISCI had to ask their Iranian sponsors to intervene; he is left isolated and will eventually be thrown under the bus.

The US is also a loser, because the force it trained and supported was ineffective, and it’s support killed more civilians, which is not good for a “hearts and minds” campaign.

Iran stayed neutral, but once again demonstrated that it is the power in the region when it comes to Iraq. It has been a major backer of ISCI and the Da’wa party, but it can also talk to al Sadr, so it may shift its support.

The Mahdi Army won by not losing. It withstood the attack and defended itself, while punishing the Iraqi Army/Badr Brigade, and attacking the Green Zone.

Moqtada al Sadr won in a big fashion by maintaining a moderate, reasoned stance publicly, as his forces held their ground. He received concessions from his opponents, and Iran now has to take him seriously.

Apparently al Sadr’s graduate advisor has sent him to Qom. Perhaps the Hawza at Najaf transferred important manuscripts to Qom for safekeeping during the unrest, or the Hawza felt he would attract violence to the institution, but al Sadr has not been shy about expressing his belief that Iraq should be controlled by Iraqis and his disdain for those who fled Iraq while Saddam was in power. He apparently is wise enough not to push his current advantage, but to wait for the elections. He has to please his graduate advisor to advance, so he has to appear to be level-headed and judicial.


1 Michael { 04.01.08 at 1:45 am }

I agree with this analysis. Iran is obviously interested in having peaceful and ideally friendly relations with its neighbor, and were it not for the US interference they might be able to help everyone sit down at the table and negotiate for something stable — but any such plan is not going to economically advantage the US right now.

If we are patient once we are ready to withdraw, I think all parties will be happy to help us out the door. I think under those circumstances we’d also have a seat at the table for at least diplomatic purposes, if not a deciding vote. If we wait until we are chased out we won’t have any say at all.

2 Jack K., the Grumpy Forester { 04.01.08 at 1:12 pm }

…I stumbled across this piece on the Time.com website that talks about just how sweeping was the victory that al Sadr achieved in the botched Basra offensive. Can’t say that I disagree with any of it. The US, both up front and behind the scenes, has been trying to defeat, marginalize, and/or imprison al Sadr for the better part of four years, and the fruit of our efforts is that he is probably in a more politically advantageous position now than he ever has been…

3 Bryan { 04.01.08 at 3:31 pm }

Actually, Michael, a stable Iraq would help to stabilize the world oil market which would be good for everyone’s economy. Most of the recent spikes are the result of stupid tricks by the Hedgemony that threaten oil producing areas.

Jack, the Sadrist have always been the people we should have been talking to, because they were the group that stayed behind in Iraq and opposed Saddam. We kept backing the ex-pat groups of the Iraqi National Congress which had no credibility with the people of Iraq. I don’t doubt we will do the same stupid thing when Cuba finally decides to become democratic. No matter how many times an idea is proven to be wrong, it keeps getting tried.

The Sadrist are the only Shi’ia group that still tries to communicate with Sunnis and Kurds, and the only group that really thinks the idea of Iraq as a single nation is a good idea. Bremer et al. kept listening to Chalabi, Malaki, and Hakim about Sadr, and attacked him. It was stupid and ill-informed from the start.