Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Why the war-party's reading of this is wrong

The point that Moqtada has emphasized consistently in all of his recent statements is that the Sadr trend is at war with the occupation only, and not with the Iraqi forces. The strategy is to drive out the occupation (1) without triggering civil war between Iraqi groups; and in fact (2) use the process as preparation for an Iraqi government freed from the filth of the occupation. You can see this in his statements of April 8; April 19; and April 25. (Discussion of the latter here). I won't bother to quote the relevant parts again, because the strategy is clear: Fight the occupation without triggering an intra-Iraq war.

So it should have come as no surprise that the May 12 Sadr/UIA agreement has the same structure. The commitment is the same as it was in the document that ended the Basra fighting: the cease-fire is limited to Iraqi institutions (civil institutions, army and police); it does not extend to the occupation forces. In the case of the most recent agreement, it is true that the Green Zone is included among the institutions that is not to be attacked. But there is no possible reading of this agreement, or of any of the earlier statements, making this any kind of a capitulation to the occupation forces.

It is made to appear that way in the corporate media, the milblog world and elsewhere, because there are two things are particularly hard for the war-party to understand: (1) that the Sadrist approach does not assume a relationship of enmity between the Sadrists and the government forces, but rather a cooperative one, or at least one that has to become cooperative and will become cooperative in the process of purging the American involvement; and (2) general expressions respecting cease-fire and so on do not implicitly include the American forces, which first of all are not party to the agreement, but more important, since the Americans are in Iraq for an aggressive and destructive aim and no other, a cease-fire with them would be a contradiction in terms.

The purpose of this post is merely to gather together the above links to earlier statements, so as to point up the consistency in Sadr's position in this. And also to point up the propagandistic character of the latest media theme, namely "can Moqtada control his people"? The relevant question is not that, but rather how the Americans will go about resuming their attack on, and exposure to, this anti-occupation group, and what happens then.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would be very skeptical of this 16 point agreement posted on a Sadr website because they lie while looking into your eyes. What do you expect of a group that operates private torture cells? Did they ever come out and explain that to the press, besides a lame "those were rogue units"?

Until the GoI publishes the points, I would take this "agreement" with a grain of salt.

Forget about what the agreement says about US troops. We all know very well that what makes Sadr/Mahdi death squads to behave is force and not fluffy niceties and appeal to Imams. Without US forces, there will be no teeth to this agreement.

The real question is what does it say about heavy/medium arms? This is what keeps Mahdi and Sadr afloat as their popularity is tied to how much they can extort and intimidate the population - and this cannot be done without arms.

Badger, can you translate the clauses related to heavy/medium arms - thanks.

Kazemi

1:34 PM  
OpenID echochambers said...

Good post! Sadr's intention is clear: end the occupation and western 'corporate-ization' of Iraq. As an American, I support his struggle for true Iraqi independence and self-determination! Long live the resistance!

1:42 PM  
Anonymous gj said...

Interesting Badger, but the millblogs are beginning to read and quote you! Whoever would have thought.

6:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

great post badger, some very important distinctions illuminated.

anna missed

7:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

after seeing what happened last week in lebanon with a popular, anti-american populist leader kicking the asses of the US supported regime in beirut after US backed govt made disabling demands on hezbollah; the US is horrified that something similar will happen in iraq if sadr is left unchecked. the ceasefire was a feeler to see what limits the maliki gang can impose on sadr. there was never an intention of maliki's gang living up to their end of any agreement - maliki has, afterall, not even officially condoned the ceasefire negotiation. also, iran is doing little more than giving lip service to the maliki gang's demands. they will not quit supporting sadr as long as they may eventually need him to play the nasrallah role in iraq. the other factor that drives the US/maliki combine is, unlike lebanon, iraq has an electoral law that assures a disaster for US interests come election time. the iraq elections are a guillotine over the neck of the US.

7:59 PM  
Anonymous Shirin said...

Badger, thanks! You are a gem, and what you are doing is beyond important - it is priceless.

12:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heh, al-Sadr with all his pomp, self-importance, and cheap self-righteousness is sueing (actually begging) for peace! I have never seen a self-labelled "leader of the poor" being so desparate and humiliated. He is a defeated proto-fascist.

I guess the Iranians have told him to behave and hand over the Mahdi army to Ahmadinejad and the Qods force. Or he will be put under house arrest like with the boys of Osama bin Laden who are in Iran under house arrest since 2001.

And Sadr, who calls himself "nationalist" first ordered his Mahdi to slaughter innocent Sunnis, and now he stooges for the Iranians. Some nationalist.

More like a national-socialist.

Kazemi

12:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good grief Kazemi, while I can understand a grievance against the Sadr trend from the Sunni perspective, lets not forget that the ethnic cleansing of Baghdad was initiated by the Maliki/Badr/US in operation Forward Together - that has in large part, disarmed the Sunni resistance (call it awakening). The same alliance that now pounds on Sadr, in an attempt to degrade the last formidable resistance to permanent occupation - either via U.S. or Iran, in front of mandated elections. Your animosity toward Sadr should be tempered by the understanding that as so goes Sadr, so goes Sunni resistance, and so goes Iraqi nationalism.

anna missed

1:39 AM  

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