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Iraqi Militias Disbanding Under Pressure?

Could the Mahdi Army and other key Iraqi “militias” disband? Signs are pointing in that direction.

Iraqi Militias Disbanding Under Pressure?

Iraq’s top leadership council issued a call over the weekend:

A top leadership council called Saturday on Iraqi parties to disband their militias or risk being barred from taking part in elections and participating in political life. A statement by the “Political Council for National Unity” also urged parties that withdrew from Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government to send back their ministers to the cabinet. The council is made up of President Jalal Talabani, a Sunni Kurd, the two vice presidents – Sunni Arab Tariq al-Hashemi and Shiite Adil Abdul-Mahdi – as well as al-Maliki, parliament Speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani and leaders of the parliamentary factions. The council’s decisions have no force of law but are significant because they represent powerful political interests.

In the statement, the council called on all parties “to immediately disband their militias and hand over their weapons to the government…as a condition for their participation in the political process and elections.” Since 2004, several attempts have been made to convince Iraqi parties to disband armed groups they sponsor, but with limited results.

Most Iraqi political parties are believed to maintain ties to armed groups although none acknowledges maintaining a “militia.” For example, the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, a powerful Shiite party, says it has disbanded its Badr Brigade militia and transformed it into a political organization. However, former Badr militiamen have joined the security forces and the militia is widely believed to maintain a clandestine command structure. At least one police commando unit is made up exclusively of members of al-Maliki’s Dawa party.

So, this call is logically not only futile but hypocritical as well, since the Badr Brigades aren’t going away.

James Hider of the Times of London, though, reports that the most important rival warlord may be prepared to step down.

Iraq’s largest and most dangerous militia will voluntarily disband if Shia scholars advise its leader to do so, officials said yesterday — a dramatic move that could quell much of the fighting in the war-torn country. Aides to Hojatoleslam Moqtada al-Sadr said that he would send delegations to Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, a moderate religious leader in Najaf, and to senior clerics in Iran to consult on whether he should stand down his 60,000-strong al-Mahdi Army.

The sudden announcement — the first time that the rebellious cleric had offered to disband his forces — came as US and Iraqi troops were poised for a key offensive into his Baghdad stronghold of Sadr City. Yesterday streams of refugees were pouring out of Sadr City as automatic gunfire and mortar bomb blasts ripped through the giant slum that is home to 2.5 million people. Terrified residents scuttled down side streets as tanks trundled along the main thoroughfares, shooting at guerrillas. A massive American and Iraqi security presence had ringed the area, with police and soldiers guarding every exit with many predicting a final, bloody showdown as popular support drained from al-Mahdi Army.

The position of Hojatoleslam al-Sadr, whose fighters fought government forces to a standstill in Basra, was looking precarious. His former erstwhile ally Nouri al-Maliki, the Shia Prime Minister who personally led the Basra crackdown, saw his standing bolstered by his tough approach to the militias. Despite the inconclusive results of his Basra offensive, Mr al-Maliki has refused to back down and this weekend stitched together a rare consensus of Kurds, Sunnis and Shias to back a law banning from future elections any party that maintains a militia.

Hider hasn’t been a cheerleader for the war, so I take his reports seriously. If this pans out, it’s welcome news, indeed.

Austin Bay, for one, isn’t surprised by any of this. He cites his personal experience and several media reports in support for an argument that the NYT and other “defeatists” simply aren’t grasping the major progress being made on the ground.

Obviously, I hope that’s right. We’ve had enough false hope over the years that curbing one’s enthusiasm seems warranted. But maybe David Brooks has it right: “There has been political progress. It just doesn’t look the way we expected it to.”

UPDATE: It appears that Sadr is off the hook: “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.”

Photo: “Mahdi Army militiamen march in Basra” via Michael J. Totten. Copyright Nabil al-Jurani.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He earned a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Hal says:

    As usual Juan Cole is far more relevant and informed on this subject than Austin Bay or any of the other right wing pundits

    Baghdad, and perhaps thousands of those troops deserted rather than fight. So the Mahdi Army won big and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki lost. Also the US military trainers of the Iraqi troops lost face.

    So the next thing we hear is that al-Maliki is talking big and demanding that the Mahdi Army be dissolved. Usually you get to talk big if you win the military battle, not if you lose.

    Then the US press went wild for this supposed report that Muqtada al-Sadr said he would dissolve his militia if Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani ordered it. Folks, he always says that when there is a controversy. (He said the same thing in spring, 2004). He says it because he knows it makes him look reasonable to the Shiite public. He says it because he knows that the grand ayatollahs are not going to touch the matter with a ten foot pole. They are not so foolish as to take responsibility for dissolving a militia that they had nothing to do with creating. And that is probably the real meaning of this CNN report that they ‘refused’ when asked. I doubt the grand ayatollahs in Najaf actively commanded Muqtada to keep his militia. They just declined to get drawn in.

    So the idea that, having lost militarily, al-Maliki and his political allies (who are a minority in parliament now) could just a couple of days later jawbone Muqtada into giving up his paramilitary was always absurd.

    I swear y’all always are smoking the primo stuff.

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  2. Bithead says:

    As usual Juan Cole is far more relevant and informed on this subject than Austin Bay or any of the other right wing pundits

    Why, because he’s making the noises you like to hear?

    Please….

    Could the Mahdi Army and other key Iraqi “militias” disband? Signs are pointing in that direction.

    They certainly are, regardless of what the ‘lose the war at all costs’ crowd has to say on the matter. Hal’s response, while being insubstantial, does back the point that they are willingly ignoring any sign that doesn’t point to their own defeatism.

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  3. Hal says:

    Bithead, you really are an idiot. The man is an *expert* on the middle east and Iraq and Iran in particular. He speaks persian and the relevant languages.

    Your welcome to your tragically ill informed rants, but I wager you know even less on this subject that ignorance you’ve displayed in other areas.

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  4. axt113 says:

    For Sadr its a win-win, if Sistani tells him to disband he looks like the peacemaker and true follower and rides the road to becoming the next Ayatollah and winning the elections in the fall.

    If he tells him not to disband, then Sadr can say that the religion wants him to continue the fight against the evil occupiers and he’ll have the support of the shia people, because sistanti is their religious leader.

    those who think that he’s backing down under pressure don’t understand how politics works. Maliki tried to outmanuevar him but ended up playing right into Sadr’s hands

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  5. Michael says:

    Why, because he’s making the noises you like to hear?

    Or perhaps because Juan Cole is reporting on more recent events, particularly reports that the top Iraqi clerics have _not_ told Sadr to disband the Mahdi army, while Austin Bay is still reporting that they might. But then again, Cole’s piece is written a day after the Austin Bay piece, so it’s not like Cole is more prescient.

    They certainly are, regardless of what the ‘lose the war at all costs’ crowd has to say on the matter.

    The ‘lose the war at all costs’ crowd is not substantially different than the ‘stay in Iraq at all costs’ crowd, so you don’t get to much credit there.

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  6. Bithead says:

    Bithead, you really are an idiot. The man is an *expert* on the middle east and Iraq and Iran in particular. He speaks persian and the relevant languages.

    So? And Hider isn’t?

    It’s as Ive said; the good news gets ingored, because it doesn’t fit the mantra. And the thing is, it’s not like there isn’t a history of such nonsense, here… the pattern has held for years, now.

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  7. Hal says:

    And Hider isn’t?

    No, he is simply a journalist. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t speak persian or arabic, but since I can’t find out much about his bio I can’t be sure. But it’s a very good bet he doesn’t because they’re both extremely hard languages to learn and doubtful he could have picked it up since 2003 and there wasn’t much call for it before it in the journalist trade. Further, as a journalist he certainly does have expertise, but he isn’t an expert on the middle east in any material sense of the word. If you can find evidence to the contrary, I’d appreciate being enlightened.

    the pattern has held for years, now.

    That’s something I’d agree with you on. The pattern is a) someone thinks something good is going to happen b) it never does c) blame it on the liberal’s sucking our purity of essence and will to fight.

    Lather, rinse, repeat.

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  8. Michael says:

    It’s as Ive said; the good news gets ingored, because it doesn’t fit the mantra. And the thing is, it’s not like there isn’t a history of such nonsense, here… the pattern has held for years, now.

    So you’re saying that Iraq today is in better shape than Iraq a couple of years ago?

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  9. Dave Schuler says:

    The man is an *expert* on the middle east and Iraq and Iran in particular. He speaks persian and the relevant languages.

    Uh, no. Juan Cole is an expert on religious movements in the Middle East. He’s probably the foremost American expert on Shi’ism. When he speaks on those subjects I listen carefully and give his opinion substantial weight.

    He’s not a generalized expert on Middle Eastern history, politics, the linguistics of Arabic or Farsi, or military strategy.

    Further, he hasn’t actually been to Iran or Iraq in a generation. He knows what he’s being told just as you or I do.

    Just to be clear on my position on this subject: I think that Juan Cole is an expert on Shi’ism, I think that his opinion is worth listening to, I don’t think he’s an oracle, and, particularly, I think his political judgment, whether about Iraq or this country, is questionable.

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  10. Hal says:

    I don’t think he’s an oracle, and, particularly, I think his political judgment, whether about Iraq or this country, is questionable.

    Yes, and your political judgement has proven far more prescient than his. Fine, I’m sure you have your reasons, but seriously. Where’s he been wrong? Where have you had issues with his work in this area? What has he done which is questionable.

    Using the passive voice is really cool, Dave, but quantitatively useless.

    BTW, you might want to check out his resume and bio before you start misclassifying him


    Education

    1975 B.A. History and Literature of Religions, Northwestern University
    1978 M.A. Arabic Studies/History, American University in Cairo
    1984 Ph.D. Islamic Studies, University of California Los Angeles

    Professional History

    1984-1990 Assistant Professor of History, University of Michigan
    1990-1995 Associate Professor of History, University of Michigan
    1992-1995 Director, Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies, University of Michigan
    1995-2007 Professor of History, University of Michigan
    2007- Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History, University of Michigan

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  11. Dave Schuler says:

    It’s irrelevant, Hal. You resorted to an “Appeal to Authority” fallacy which I responded to. I’ve defended Dr. Cole from time to time on my blog; I’ve criticised his views from time to time. You’re welcome to go there and review. I have no interest in recapping now.

    And, yes, my political judgment has been excellent, thank you.

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  12. CBS Said To Consider Use Of CNN In Reporting…

    CBS is publicly saying it isn’t true but an article in the NY Times says otherwise. Will this be another example of “don’t believe something until it’s been officially denied”?
    ……

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  13. Hal says:

    Dave, I didn’t make an appeal to authority. What I said was that he was far more informed and relevant on the topic discussed than Austin Bay because he happens to be an authority on the subject at hand. That’s merely pointing out that someone who has some expertise on the subject is, as I said, more relevant. I didn’t claim Cole was right and I’m still waiting for more than Bithead’s”Always with the negative waves Moriarty, always with the negative waves.” as a response to Cole’s post on the matter.

    In any event, I’m glad your political judgement is excellent. Personally it just seems like a strategy based on inertia and coy revelation after the fact, but I suppose in the long run that it isn’t a particularly bad strategy if simply a particularly passive one.

    And thanks for the non-recap. It’s really kind of bizarre how you respond to pretty much every request for further info in the same way in comments. Googling provides way too much noise for us poor commenters to sift through efficiently. Would be nice to have a pointer – but I guess you have your nails to file or something and a few hyperlinks are way too much work for someone of your valuable time.

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  14. Hal says:
  15. Bithead says:

    So you’re saying that Iraq today is in better shape than Iraq a couple of years ago?

    No.
    The people on the ground there are saying that. I merely observe.

    Dave, I didn’t make an appeal to authority. What I said was that he was far more informed and relevant on the topic discussed than Austin Bay because he happens to be an authority on the subject at hand

    But that’s not an appeal to authority.
    Got it. Right.

    Waiter…. check please.

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  16. Hal says:

    Got it. Right.

    Check out the actual definition, Bithead. In particular

    Since this sort of reasoning is fallacious only when the person is not a legitimate authority in a particular context

    Now Dave argues that Cole isn’t an authority on the subject, but he’s got his nails to file and the margin of the blog is much to small for any expanded explanation. You, on the other hand, just give me your best Donald Sutherland impression and walk off in a cloud of bong smoke.

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  17. James Joyner says:

    Hal,

    From your source, it’s only not a fallacy if multiple conditions apply. Among them,

      2. The claim being made by the person is within her area(s) of expertise.

      3. There is an adequate degree of agreement among the other experts in the subject in question.

      4. The person in question is not significantly biased.

    I’m not sure any of those obtain here. Further, Dave characterizes Cole’s expertise thusly:

    Juan Cole is an expert on religious movements in the Middle East. He’s probably the foremost American expert on Shi’ism. When he speaks on those subjects I listen carefully and give his opinion substantial weight.

    He’s not a generalized expert on Middle Eastern history, politics, the linguistics of Arabic or Farsi, or military strategy.

    Further, he hasn’t actually been to Iran or Iraq in a generation. He knows what he’s being told just as you or I do.

    A listing of his degrees and job titles doesn’t address those concerns. Cole’s a knowledgeable observer of the Middle East and presumably has a better grasp of the sectarian dynamics than the average observer, myself and Austin Bay included.

    Bay, certainly, has more expertise in the art of war, counterinsurgency, and so forth than Cole.

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  18. Bithead says:

    Second answer, on an after thought:

    So you’re saying that Iraq today is in better shape than Iraq a couple of years ago?

    No.
    Let’s let this guy do the talking, as a part of the brand new game… “Name that quote”:

    Since Ambassador Crocker and I appeared before you seven months ago, there has been significant but uneven security progress in Iraq. Since September, levels of violence and civilian deaths have been reduced substantially, Al Qaeda-Iraq and a number of other extremist elements have been dealt serious blows, the capabilities of Iraqi Security Force elements have grown, and there has been noteworthy involvement of local Iraqis in local security. Nonetheless, the situation in certain areas is still unsatisfactory and innumerable challenges remain. Moreover, as events in the past two weeks have reminded us and as I have repeatedly cautioned, the progress made since last spring is fragile and reversible. Still, security in Iraq is better than it was when Ambassador Crocker and I reported to you last September, and it is significantly better than it was 15 months ago when Iraq was on the brink of civil war and the decision was made to deploy additional US forces to Iraq.

    A number of factors have contributed to the progress that has been made. First, of course, has been the impact of increased numbers of Coalition and Iraqi Forces. You are well aware of the U.S. surge. Less recognized is that Iraq has also conducted a surge, adding well over 100,000 additional soldiers and police to the ranks of its security forces in 2007 and slowly increasing its capability to deploy and employ these forces.

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  19. Bithead says:

    From your source

    I can’t top that… and I won’t bother kicking the now dead horse.

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  20. Hal says:

    James, it’s hard to see how my comment

    As usual Juan Cole is far more relevant and informed on this subject than Austin Bay or any of the other right wing pundits

    is somehow destroyed by your logic. Cole *is* better informed on this subject than Bay, seeing as how this isn’t anywhere in his expertise, and actually *is* in the expertise of Cole, seeing as how it has to do with the interaction of the purely religious side of this issue.

    A point of view, which I must point out, which has been completely vindicated given this headline, Religious leaders tell al-Sadr to keep militia intact.

    Now, since Dave even admits that Juan Cole is an expert on religious movements in the Middle East. He’s probably the foremost American expert on Shi’ism. When he speaks on those subjects I listen carefully and give his opinion substantial weight. and given that the whole reason Bay makes his “defeatist” argument has to do with Sadr’s religious ploy, it’s hard to see how 1), the claim being made is not within Cole’s expertise. As to #2, I don’t see a lot of other middle east scholars – religious, political or historical – who’ve blogged on the subject, but given the fact that he’s already been proven to be absolutely correct in his analysis, it seems like it’s rather silly to keep on arguing as to whether or not I made an appeal to authority, fallaciously or otherwise.

    I mean, really. The dude was frickin’ proved right within hours and Bay + Hider were on the losing end of the prediction…

    But I guess that’s just more negative waves, man. Always with the negative waves.

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  21. James Joyner says:

    Dave wasn’t taking exception to Cole’s argument but rather your description of him as a generalized Middle East expert. My guess is that’s a pet peeve of his, as Cole is frequently cited as such when his actual expertise is more narrow and historical.

    I don’t doubt that Cole’s understanding of Shi’a helps inform his analysis of current news coverage. But Dave’s right: He’s making his judgment on current events on the basis of that coverage rather than personal expertise.

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  22. Michael says:

    Since Ambassador Crocker and I appeared before you seven months ago, there has been significant but uneven security progress in Iraq.

    And as many people, including James have pointed out, security progress was not the goal of the surge, it was the means. The goal was political progress.

    Moreover, as events in the past two weeks have reminded us and as I have repeatedly cautioned, the progress made since last spring is fragile and reversible.

    What good is fragile and reversible security progress, when it needs a continued elevation of US and Iraqi troop levels? Iraq needs sustainable security, security that exists without the need for US and Iraqi troops in the streets of Baghdad. Until you can point to that happening, you’re just putting your finger in the cracks of a damn and calling it fixed.

    If the present security situation is Iraq will deteriorate without the presence of US troops, then the present security situation in Iraq is an illusion.

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  23. Michael says:

    A point of view, which I must point out, which has been completely vindicated given this headline, Religious leaders tell al-Sadr to keep militia intact.

    That article was linked to in the Cole article you quotes (in fact, this is the third time you’ve posted that link), so it hardly shows prescience on Cole’s part, as that article was the source of his argument, not the vindication of it.

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  24. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Does anyone else here think Hal sounds like a Patriots fan at the Super bowl who bought a bunch of 19-0 shirts noticing the score with 35 seconds left in the game and Brady was just sacked. To think someone who studied a subject knows more than someone who visited, at length, the subject is the kind of thinking I have come to expect from the “Hals” of the world. Hal, if you rely on someone else’s opinion of what is happening, you are just parroting their opinions. If you were half as smart as you think you are you would understand how to investigate stories, not just listen to the part you want to hear, then form an intelligent opinion. Concerning you ref. to the drug use of others. I guess in your case the E you used did cause brain damage.

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  25. Hal says:

    My guess is that’s a pet peeve of his, as Cole is frequently cited as such when his actual expertise is more narrow and historical.

    Which is funny, because Dave specifically claimed Cole is not an expert on middle eastern history, which is why I quoted his resume, which delineates a nice record as such a historian. As to the rest of Dave’s pet peeve, it’s perhaps instructive to reiterate that the expertise in question revolves around religion, which even Dave admits is well within Cole’s area of expertise. It’s hard to see how this is a purely political question, or a military counter insurgency question. Rather, it was quite obvious that it all had to do with religion and how Sadr is using it to gain political and military advantage.

    But Dave’s right: He’s making his judgment on current events on the basis of that coverage rather than personal expertise.

    Again, that isn’t the issue here, and if Dave wants to burn those straw men down because it’s his pet peeve, he’s welcome to it. The issue under examination, however, is quite clearly within his domain and Dave’s going off on a tear because he’s got a burr up his butt is just simply poisoning the well – so to speak.

    Finally, WRT “coverage” being the source of Cole’s information, you mean to say that Austin Bay isn’t doing precisely the same thing? Or pretty much everyone commenting on this issue? It’s rather odd that this is a failing of only Cole’s on the particular subject at hand. No doubt Austin has his personal contacts, but I seriously doubt that Cole is limited to simply what he reads in the press and has many of his own contacts as well.

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  26. Michael says:

    In addition, Cole’s take of the headline seems more skeptical than yours (or even the update posted by James.) From the CNN article:

    But al-Sadr spokesman Salah al-Obeidi said al-Sadr has consulted with Iraq’s Shiite clerical leadership “and they refused that.” He did not provide details of the talks.

    To which Cole’s analysis is:

    They are not so foolish as to take responsibility for dissolving a militia that they had nothing to do with creating. And that is probably the real meaning of this CNN report that they ‘refused’ when asked. I doubt the grand ayatollahs in Najaf actively commanded Muqtada to keep his militia. They just declined to get drawn in.

    So they’re not telling him to keep his army, they’re saying they won’t get involved in this political infighting, that they are not responsible for Sadr or his Mahdi army.

    Now it will be interesting to see what the decision is in Qom.

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  27. Hal says:

    that article was the source of his argument, not the vindication of it. My mistake.

    In addition, Cole’s take of the headline seems more skeptical than yours

    My point is simply that the people pushing the line that we’ve finally seen light and political progress is now here, replete with a full formal pony guard is lunacy to declare. Sadr is involved in a rather interesting and subtle political game which he seems to be winning quite handily. To quote axt113’s comment in this thread

    For Sadr its a win-win, if Sistani tells him to disband he looks like the peacemaker and true follower and rides the road to becoming the next Ayatollah and winning the elections in the fall.

    If he tells him not to disband, then Sadr can say that the religion wants him to continue the fight against the evil occupiers and he’ll have the support of the shia people, because sistanti is their religious leader.

    those who think that he’s backing down under pressure don’t understand how politics works. Maliki tried to outmanuevar him but ended up playing right into Sadr’s hands

    Which pretty much sums up my position on the subject.

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  28. Bithead says:

    And as many people, including James have pointed out, security progress was not the goal of the surge, it was the means. The goal was political progress.

    No, it was and remains the prerequisite.

    It appears that Sadr is off the hook: “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.”

    And so now, Sadr finds himself bewteen Iraq and a hard place. What we see here, is Sadr, not Maleki trying to capitulate,and his Iranian masters telling him no. But why would he try to capitulate, if he had the uper hand? Clearly, he doesn’t think he does.

    It strikes me his position is not unlike Saruman in LOTR.

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  29. Michael says:

    Hal,
    Only Sistani seems to have done neither. By giving no orders to Sadr, he not only marginalizes him religiously, it also makes him entirely responsible for either the disbanding or continuation of the Mahdi army. Probably Sadr’s people expected this, and already had the spin of “they refused that” ready to go, betting on Sistani’s people not publicly correcting them and thereby jumping into the political fray.

    What we see here, is Sadr, not Maleki trying to capitulate,and his Iranian masters telling him no.

    Sadr has thus far not seemed inclined to be subservient to Iran, and as I noted above it doesn’t seem they’ve told him much of anything, let alone telling him no.

    It strikes me his position is not unlike Saruman in LOTR.

    LOTR references don’t exactly help make your case Bit. Nor do star trek or star wars references, in case you were thinking of using one of those next time. In fact, it’s probably best to stick with history and facts, rather than pop culture.

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  30. Hal says:

    Probably Sadr’s people expected this, and already had the spin of “they refused that” ready to go, betting on Sistani’s people not publicly correcting them and thereby jumping into the political fray.

    Indeed. And if Iraqis are as poor at following politics as US citizens are, this will work exactly as if Sistani had said it himself.

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  31. […] Trackposted to Outside the Beltway, Rosemary’s Thoughts, WayWard Fundamentalist Christian, Right Truth, Shadowscope, […]

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  32. Bithead says:

    Sadr has thus far not seemed inclined to be subservient to Iran, and as I noted above it doesn’t seem they’ve told him much of anything, let alone telling him no.

    I’m not convinced. He basically laid the question at the feet of Iran, and told us he’d act at their directive. Still, he may ahve his own motivations….

    LOTR references don’t exactly help make your case Bit

    Perhaps, but the similarity is striking, none the less…a nd I for one can’t think of a real life stirep that is similar enough to remark on. He strikes me as doing Iran’s bidding, with the idea of being a high up part of that food chain when all is said and done. As I say, he’s acting like he’s got his own motivations. And I suppose given the numbers that LOTR turned in, the reference is a little better understood than are most Trek memes. Indeed; is there anyone here who does NOT understand it?

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  33. Michael says:

    I’m not convinced. He basically laid the question at the feet of Iran, and told us he’d act at their directive. Still, he may ahve his own motivations….

    Not Iran, just Shiite clerics in Iran. After all, his delegation was sent to Qom, not Tehran. I imagine that they will do much the same as the Najaf clerics did, and refuse to be drawn into Sadr’s politic fight, despite how much Tehran would like to see Maliki and the Badr corps solidify their authority in Iraq.

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  34. Bithead says:

    Not Iran, just Shiite clerics in Iran. After all, his delegation was sent to Qom, not Tehran

    True, but then again, there’s the issue of how much influence Qom has on Tehran….

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  35. Barrack Obama – 100 years of *fill in the blank*…

    Obama and his campaign (along with Hillary!) have been making much of John McCain using the term 100 years in regard to Iraq. The claim being that McCain is ok with war lasting 100 years. But in a case of perhaps hell is seeing ……

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  36. The facts don’t matter, Just the feel…

    Reposting this from 2006.

    The world of politics is never pretty and often very ugly.

    One of the most ugly features is how the politicians switch facts around to protect their argument.  They determine a conclusion that fits their needs, …

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  37. […] 2008 Cliff Kincaid – All Rights Reserved Trackposted to Outside the Beltway, Rosemary’s Thoughts, WayWard Fundamentalist Christian, Right Truth, Shadowscope, […]

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  38. China: Beijing Olympic Torch Relay is Great Succes…

    Just when IÂ’ve been hearing how the United States feeds people what they are supposed to think from people who say they havenÂ’t got the freedom to speak openly even while they are openly speaking Â…. I see a press release from ChinaÂ’s official Olymp…

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  39. Christopher Traverse Survives Wilderness Thanks to…

    My husband is a Survivorman fan so that means IÂ’ve watched Les Stroud mark his territory more than once myself. You know how it is, we women watch what our men watch. Its just a fact of life, men control the remote.

    Interestingly, there is a story….

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  40. Reverend Eric Lee Belittles Jewish Philanthropist…

    Blacks continually claim racism is still alive and undaunted in America. 

    They should know….

    From LGF via the Jawa Report

    Barrack Obama’s friend and minister Reverend Wright appears not to be the only one claiming oppre…

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