Tuesday, April 08, 2008
The Fools!!! (Wishing Out Loud)
Can someone ask Petraeus and Crocker about this: "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." [CNN] That looks like Sadr's checkmated Maliki to me. First Maliki tried to crush the Mahdi Army with force. He couldn't. Then both Sadr and Maliki agreed on a political deal to kick the dispute upstairs to the religious authorities. Then the authorities backed Sadr...Sadr's forces are endorsed by the local religious authorities and they're the only ones untainted by collaboration with the extremely unpopular foreign occupiers. That's the position you want to be in.
The hopeless Andrew Sulivan takes this report and leaps to the conclusion that Mookie has been endorsed by SISTANI. Excuse me as I guffaw heartily into my sleeve.
1) FIRST (and this is the important) It doesn't matter WHO has said JAM should not disband; Maliki is not "checkmated." He has the government of Iraq --for the first time it seems-- unified behind him. If necessary, he'll keep drilling Mahdi Army members with hot lead until Sadr City, Basra, and Najaf bloom from the fertilization of their rotten corpses.
2) The Ja'ish Al-Mahdi have been nothing but contemptuous of Sistani since the Askariya shrine was blown. Why he, or his people, would want to help JAM at this point is beyond me.
3) Sistani's sect is (as a rule of thumb) against religious leaders involving themselves in politics.
4) The Sadrist spokesman (exactly how many spokesmen does Mookie have anyway?) does not reference Sistani as one of the religious leaders who doesn't want JAM disbanded.
5) This is within HOURS of Sadr's promise to consult the Shi'a leadership from Najaf to Qom; boy, those conversations must have been pretty short!
Finally, Nibras Kazimi (whose post I really wanted to save for an Iraqi blogger round-up...grrrrr) has recited the chaotic pandemonium of contradictory declarations coming out of JAM:
And yet, the Sadrists keep sending out confusing signals signifying the confusion within their ranks. It happens, when defeat devours one’s will. “We will not disarm”. “We need to calm things down”. “We will fight”. “We will flee”. “No fair!” “We will march!” “We will stay home.” “A Sadrist?! Who me?”
Here is what this latest announcement proves. The Mahdi Army wants Sadr for a figure-head and nothing else. They don't care what he says or Qom says or Sistani says or what their gray-haired granny says: They ain't laying down their arms until they have to. If some "religious leaders" are backing JAM, I wish they would announce who they are. Then the Iraqi Army can make a visit to their mosques and do a detailed search for weapons caches and carbomb factories.