Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Political correctness

By way of background to the assassination of the governor of Muthanna province, Al-Hayat on Tuesday printed an overview of Shiite power relations in the south of Iraq, the key paragraph being this one:
Everyone today admits the existence of a big Iranian influence in the south of Iraq, and that the intelligence centers control indirectly the keys to events via politicians connected to various different centers of power in Tehran. And it is very likely that Iranian influence extends to all of the parties that are involved in the conflict, and some of the people in the south say all of them are connected to influential Iranian agencies, like the "Al-Quds Brigade", the "intelligence agency," the "army", the "political authority" which actuate all of the parties as appropriate.
Which the headline for the story summed up this way: "Iran rules in the Iraqi south: The streets belong to Sadr and the local governments to Hakim". In other words, the struggles in the South are between entities all of which, in one way or another, are controlled by Tehran. That may or may not be true, but it is important to understand the point of view.

Iraqslogger printed a fairly thorough summary of the Al-Hayat piece, with a remark by their writer complimenting the Al-Hayat writer on a good piece, but giving the heading as "The street for the Sadrists and the local governments for Hakeem," leaving out the "Iran rules..." part, and leaving out any reference to the paragraph quoted above. In other words, shying away from Iran-rules angle, presumably out of a concern for political correctness.

Of course not everyone agrees that the Iranian influence in the South is that pervasive. Take Juan Cole, for instance. Today he wrote:
Since some observers don't get this right, I just want to underline that these assassinations have been strikes against Iranian influence in Iraq, by nativists probably at least loosely connected to the Sadr Movement.
That's possible too, although as usual you have to accept his boldface in lieu of evidence.

But the Reuters story Juan cites includes this:
Hadi al-Ameri, an Iraqi parliamentarian and head of the Badr Organisation, which he insists has renounced violence, blamed remnants of Saddam Hussein's Baathist regime for the killing. "The purpose behind these assassinations is to create Shi'ite-Shi'ite strife," Ameri told Reuters.

There isn't any evidence who was behind the latest assassination. What I find interesting is that the big anglosphere blogs (and naturally the corporate media too) shy away from acknowledging the Sunni point of view, which is that Iranian influence is already pervasive in the South, and from acknowledging the possibility, given that view of things, that Sunni resistance fighters or others could be doing this as part of resistance to what they consider to be Iranian occupation.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, it obviously could also be U.S. designed attacks along the line of the "strategy of tension"

2:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The divisions among Iraq's Shi'a factions are probably greater than between the Sunni and Shi'a in the country. The Sadrists and SIIC have been fighting each other since the start of the occupation (when Badr attempted a takeover of what was yet to become Sadr City).

B could be right and that would certainly reflect recent US frustration at the hands-off policy the Maliki government has effected toward the Sadrists. That the US has recently chosen to go after "rogue elements" of the Mahdi army (apparently "rogue" because they attack Americans, curiously...)may have the effect of driving the Sadrists back into an alliance with the nationalist resistance. Much effort was needed to drive wedges between the Sadrists and the Sunni Arabs and the events of the past couple of weeks could go a long way toward unraveling all that hard work.

A great deal is alleged - and denied - about Iranian involvement in Iraq but looking at the situation as it has stood for the past 3 years, how much do they actually need to do besides sit back and allow events to take their course whilst, at the same time, maintaining amicable relationships all round.

1:19 PM  

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