The Blog

Pick One: Sadr or...

So, with redeployment a no go for Mr. Bush, will he back the majority Shiites, and say sorry to Saddam's Sunnis? Place your bets. Just remember, Moqtada al-Sadr has already won.
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

verbatim_al-sadr.jpg

Is it time to pick a team?

Shiites and Sunni are on the menu, pick your poison. Or would you prefer a permanent occupation?

If we stay in Iraq, which Mr. Bush pledged to do again today, what we get is more hatred aimed towards America. That hasn't dawned on him, but nor has the collapse of his fighting over there so we don't have to fight them over here strategery. After all, since civil war in Iraq is now a reality, that means Iraqis are fighting one another, which has nothing to do with aiming their vitriol at us. That is, unless we stay in Iraq, which is what got us into this disaster in the first place. Meaning, we had 10,000 troops in the Muslim holy land of Saudi Arabia, which inspired Osama to hit us in the first place. Does anyone see the writing on the wall here, or at least the irony blasting at high decibels? Not George.

So, we can stay in Iraq and push for reconciliation in the face of an expanding civil war. However, what we'll end up doing is giving Sadr even more power, because Iraqis continue to back away from the U.S. and Maliki, who is Sadr's competitor, as well as a slave to him, as Sadr has 30 seats in the Iraqi parliament, as well as militias and death squads that can cut the government's throat, at least in southern Iraq, any time he wants. Thomas Ricks, author of FIASCO, said today that Sadr has 40-60,000 men in his militias.

... The U.S. invasion had destroyed an economy already crippled by years of international sanctions. Countless young men were unemployed, invigorated by the atmosphere of violent change but also poor and fearful. They wanted to be part of the new order--whatever it would be. The country was also awash in guns and other weapons, including those looted from Saddam's vast and unsecured arms depots. The Sadrist network was perfectly positioned to capitalize on the situation. Sadr himself was determined to lead a national movement--using a potent mixture of anti-occupation militancy and millennial preaching about the coming of the mysterious 12th imam, who Shiites believe will save mankind. "Moqtada is absolutely hooked on the concept of the reappearance of the Mahdi," says Amatzia Baram, the director of the Ezri Center at Haifa University.

(skip forward)

Yet Tehran's main Shiite clients in Iraq are rivals of Sadr, who is often critical of Persian influence. Sadr worries that Iran may be trying to infiltrate his movement, and he's almost surely right. Fatah al-Sheikh, who is close to Sadr, says the boss sent a private letter to loyal imams around Baghdad in the past two weeks identifying 10 followers he believed were suspect. They had been using the Mahdi Army name, but Sadr believes they're really tools of Iranian intelligence, says Sheikh.

Sword of the Shia

Dizzy yet? Read the whole Newsweek article. It will do the rest. You know, reality bites and all.

The Sunni, meanwhile, are screwed. They're the minority in a land of people that remembers the oppression and murderous treatment of their benefactor, Saddam Hussein.

That's lost on Mr. Bush, who insists on pushing for everyone to get along, something that hasn't happened in over one thousand years. But since status quo collapsed on election day in November, as did Mr. Bush's "stay the course," Baker - Hamilton commission or bust, something has to and will be done.

So, if reconciliation between Sunni and Shia has failed, utterly, you might as well back the winner, right? That's Mr. Bush's current ruminations, according to cable rumors, because redeployment would take a look into history's rear view mirror, something Mr. Bush just won't do, because our president wants his name on Iraq's future. He broke it to own it.

So, with redeployment a no go for Mr. Bush, will he back the majority Shiites, and say sorry to Saddam's Sunnis? Place your bets. Just remember, Moqtada al-Sadr has already won.

- Taylor Marsh LIVE! can be heard from 6-7 pm eastern - 3-4 p.m pacific, Mon.-Thurs, with podcasts available.

Popular in the Community