Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Badr Org reports: Government will reverse the sectarian cleansing, by force if necessary, "before year-end"

From the Badr Organization news-site badrtoday.com yesterday (Monday June 23):
The spokesman for the Baghdad security program ... and the spokesman for the multinational [!] forces ... disclosed that next month will witness the group return of families that were displaced in all areas of Baghdad, as part of a plan that has been prepared by the Baghdad law-enforcement program. In a joint press conference on Sunday, [the Baghdad law-enforcement spokesman] said next month will see the announcement of a final deadline for the departure of all occupants of houses of families that were displaced, following which the security forces will enter these houses and clear them of their occupants immediately and quickly. [And the discussion switches to the program for disarming Baghdad residents, later to repeat this plan as follows]:

[The law-enforcement spokesman also said] next month will witness the launch of a comprehensive program that will involve giving a moving-out deadline to the occupants of houses of families that were forced out [and here the discussion switches to the question of protecting embassies and consulates].

[In conclusion, the law-enforcement spokesman] stressed that the law-enforcement program has defined a number of targets that are to be met before year-end, among them settlement of the issue of volunteers in the Sons of Iraq and the Awakening Councils, via the incorporation of the good members into the security forces, and grouping the others into service jobs, in addition to having established a special plan to clear buildings and residences belonging to the state. And he said the leadership of the law-enforcement program is prepared to guarantee the protection of the embassies and consulates that are expected to be opened in the capital.
The article is headed "Comprehensive plan for clearing the houses of those who have been [forcibly] moved". There isn't any discussion of the relation of this to the provincial elections, or to the issue of the bilateral security agreements.

There you have it: A ambitious plan to reverse the post-2006 "sectarian cleansing",

(1) to be carried out "before year-end"

(2) touted by the Badr organization (I haven't seen this reported anywhere else), and

(3) announced at a time when the current governing administration, with the support of the Badr Organization, is as narrowly sectarian as it can be, fighting "outlaws" in the strongholds of opposition groups (Basra, Sadr City, Mosul, Amara).

If there were genuine cooperation between the governing administration and the other interested parties including Sadrists and Sunni groups, this would be another story. But in present circumstances...


Anonymous Steve said...

Perhaps to be read in conjunction with the purported abandonment by SIIC of the Da'awa alliance and an attempt to capitalize on Maliki's unpopularity?

I suppose that some sort of PR initiative would, theoretically, draw Da'awa supporters toward SIIC and leave the blame for the sectarianism with the presently aggressive administration. Maliki is now openly being seen as cynically rolling up the Sadrists (as your post of a few days ago, talking about the Sadrist acceptance of the Amarra campaign - correctly predicted) in the guise of bringing order to lawless area's of the country.

That could also lead to some interesting backlash revelations with regard to who was responsible for the "cleansing" in the first place. Think of your reports from the Lebanese and Kuwaiti papers earlier this year. Would there be more meat on the bones of those allegations? It would certainly test the notion of who the Iraqi people truly believe are responsible for the excesses of 2006/7.

7:21 AM  
Anonymous Steve said...

This from an AFP report:


"In front of us we have a major goal -- to return to their homes the people who have been forcibly displaced... so that Sunni and Shiite may again live together," the premier added.

This is looking like the partitionist project may be on the ropes (or on hold for the duration of the provincial election process) with a rush to rhetorically re-align with the general sentiment of the people. Now, all of a sudden, everyone's a non-sectarian nationalist.....

8:53 AM  
Blogger badger said...

thanks for that AFP reference (clickable version here)

I think you're right about the PR content of this. On the other hand, however, I was also wondering whether this might not end up being (given the current one-sided grip on administrative power that many have noted) a great way of re-igniting the bad old days and postponing the elections...

9:09 AM  
Blogger motown67 said...

I think the real question is if the government goes ahead with this proposal will they bring back "everybody" that was displaced? From what I've read Baghdad went from roughly 65% Sunni to 70-80% Shiite during the sectarian fighting period. If they went through with this plan Shiites would lose control of the capitol. I find it hard to believe they would allow this to happen as the government is still deeply sectarian.

As an example, "Fall in violence lures Iraqis home" from the 5/4/08 USA Today reported that the Ministry of Migraiton and Displaced People, which is in charge of the displaced, was not trusted because its widely believed they only help Shiites and turn away Sunnis.

1:49 PM  
Anonymous Steve said...

Could be hoping that if they're seen to be moving onto the nationalist turf a cancellation of now "unnecessary" elections may become somehow acceptable.

I doubt it will be lost on most ordinary Iraqi's that if the government security apparatus is able to guarantee safe return, why were they unable to prevent the cleansing in the first place? And the answer is??

All in all, this seems to be yet another example of the exile elite tending to see what is a very sophisticated electorate as just a bovine mass waiting to be spun and manipulated. And if that doesn't work (which it usually doesn't, as Sadr has shown on a regular basis)then bring down the hammer.

This repeated, arrogance inspired underestimation of the Iraqi people followed by turning on the violence when the plan goes awry has been a major propellant in the civil war.

3:30 PM  
Blogger badger said...

Exactly. A sectarian administration like Maliki's can't even begin to do something like this in any bona fide way. That's why--if in fact they pursue this--I think the first things to look for will be the PR and other ulterior motives...

3:34 PM  
Blogger badger said...

oops, the above is obviously in reply to motown

3:35 PM  
Blogger badger said...

Steve: I agree with your last comment about this being a potential obstacle to holding the elections on time. And your other point about the mindset of the SCIRI/Dawa elite, also sounds right.

3:45 PM  

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