Sunday, April 27, 2008

Miscellaneous (Update: US Forces playing chicken with parliamentary group?


There is an article on this in AlHayat this morning, but the site seems to be unavailable right now, so I'll cite this right from the horse's mouth, so to speak. The Baath-party website says Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, head of the main or loyalist wing of the party (described by AlHayat as still the "main" wing of the party, as opposed to the breakaway group headed by Ahmed Yunis al-Ahmed) paid a visit to Wasit province April 10, the fifth anniversary of the American invasion, where he met with tribal and military leaders that are in his camp. His statement to these group-leaders is published in an English-language version by the website (just click on "English" at the upper left corner of the main page), but for some reason I don't see it in Arabic, which is why I was hoping to cite the AlHayat report. In any event, the statement is there to read. He calls for "jihad, jihad, and then jihad, in order to oust the enemy and force him to withdraw, covered with humiliation and defeat, and draped in ignominy, shame, infamy and dishonor." Which is Izzat Ibrahim's way of saying he doesn't think much of the ex-Baathists that have been holding talks with the Americans.

(Comparing in a very broad way the appeals of Sadr and of Izzat Ibrahim, it is noteworthy that Izzat Ibrahim is being very strictly institutional, stressing the "reinstatement" of the Iraqi army, and the historic roots of that institution and so on, as the specific guarantor, so to speak, of the unity of Iraq. Sadr, whose expressed aims are the same--expelling the occupier, no compromise with foreign intervention of any kind--when he says "we" he refers of course primarily to "the followers of Al Sadr" (and he refers to the history of suffering and "patience" just as Izzat Ibrahim refers to the history of glorious triumphs), but Sadr is careful to broaden his appeal to include, for instance, the members of the government security services, and what he called in his latest statement "the honorable resistance"--clearly alluding to the Sunni resistance. For now I merely point out that there is a difference in the breadth of the appeal. Harith al-Dhari, speaking to the Islamist resistance groups, has clearly been trying to broaden his appeal in his own way, but I don't think we have heard from him lately (since the announcement of the Awakening/political initiative anyway).


A group of over 50 parliamentarians staged a sit-in in Sadr City to demand the lifting of the siege on that city, and the attacks on it*. They said if normality isn't restored they will do the same again on Monday. Voices of Iraq takes the trouble to point out that the group included not only Sadrist members of parliament, but also two members representing Sunni groups, the IAF and the Dialogue Front, along with one representing the (remains of the) United Iraqi Alliance.

What is particularly noteworthy here is that no one at the Democratic-party, or center-left, or progressive end of the political spectrum in America has had even one word to say in condemnation of the American policy of blockade and airstrikes against this densely-populated urban area. And as I noted earlier, this includes in particular the two people who are most looked-to for guidance in this, messrs Cole and Lynch, both of whom have conspicuously declined to say anything about this. It's possible they are constrained by relationships of one kind or another with US government people or institutions. If they have conflicts they should disclose what they are. Already too many people assume the Democrats will just continue the universally-reviled policies of the current regime. You'd think these experts would want to show something different.


* A commenter reminded me to check with the AlMalaf version, which originally estimated the group at around 80, but later in the day settled on 50, same as YOI, with this additional information: "A Sadrist member of the group, Maha Al-Douri, said American planes dropped munitions on Sadr City during the sit-in, in spite of the presence of the members of parliament in Sadr City". AlMalaf, which is a traditionally bedrock Sunni-oriented site, describes the sit-in as an attempt "to put a stop to the bloodbaths that are being carried out in Sadr City..." That kind of language, and the presence of Sunni legislators as participants in the group, suggests (to me at least) that if the Sadrists' anti-occupation credibility with Sunnis is an issue, then certainly a continuation of the current barbaric American policy could be just the thing to help clear away that problem.

The same allegations are described as follows in VOI, (which calls the Sadrist member Maha Adel). She told VOI that armored American aircraft "launched a reckless attack on Sadr City" on the eve of the sit-in, and she added that the delegation got to witness the "viciousness of the campaign against Sadr City." She added that they witnessed one Iraqi being shot dead by an American sniper. She said they are going to report what they have witnessed to parliament, and possibly conduct a second sit-in in Parliament.


Blogger annie said...

no one at the Democratic-party, or center-left, or progressive end of the political spectrum in America

it occurs to me siun, w/her sunday posts @fdl probably sheds more light on reality in iraq to a wide left leaning audience than anyone else out there.

9:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I stopped with the Blog because I don't think I am adding anything new, but let me help you with this: actually they are 80 MP's and not 50 as the AI reported it.

see this:

Also, this is interesting:

Secret Iraqi groups meeting in Finland, without further details:

10:50 AM  
Blogger badger said...

annie, you're right, I should have mentioned those, apologies.

anon, thanks. What do you mean you stopped with the blog? You're adding lots new, stuff no anglophone including myself would otherwise see. (For instance the two things you cite). It doesn't all have to be earthshaking, it's important even just keeping up with what's being written here and there. Courage ! (Maybe that's not what you meant)

12:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon, if the blog you are talking about is Roads to Iraq, that would be a great loss!

The meeting in Finland came up on Reuters: Iraqi factions talk peace in Finland Nothing secret, it is the old Martti Ahtisaari thing. Pretensious busybodying in the spirit of White Man's Burden is the feeling I get, though I would be happy to be proven wrong.

3:06 PM  
Blogger Eric Martin said...

no one at the Democratic-party, or center-left, or progressive end of the political spectrum in America

Don't know if I fall into that category, but I have made this case at least twice in recent weeks:

11:06 AM  
Blogger badger said...

that's exciting, eric. I guess you're over your Sadr-the-thug period, and after that your Sadr-inseparable-from-Maliki period. What will you be saying next? That Sadr is an Iraqi nationalist ?!

2:40 PM  

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