Wednesday, June 25, 2008


"American relapse [or deterioration] in Iraq", says the heading on the lead editorial in AlQuds alArabi this morning. The editorial writer notes that although AlQaeda in Iraq is in a period of retrenchment and reflection on its many errors, not least its kneejerk support for the ISI and takfiiri impositions on a traditionally diverse country, there is no guarantee that it won't recover from this period, just as it did in Afghanistan. But that isn't his main point. His main point has to do with the Sadr trend, and he puts it like this:
Perhaps the key turning point in the Iraqi political map is the revolution within the Iraqi Shiite group, with the Sadr trend leaving the alliance that is loyal to the occupation and that supports its projects under the leadership of the Supreme Council. Because this trend's aligning itself with the principle of resistance to the occupation, with the support of a foreign power (Iran), and with domestic support--this perhaps puts the American forces in a war of attrition that will be very costly in human and political terms.

[The Americans have again blamed Iranian finance and weapons following yesterday's Sadr City blast; but] what that means is that the new resistance front that has been opened against the Americans will be perhaps more dangerous to them than AlQaeda itself.

That is because these Shiite groups, in contrast to AlQaeda, have the direct support of a regional power that has not only a long border with Iraq, but also an interest in wrecking the American projects, and in draining America financially and in human terms via internal wars [meaning in Iraq and presumably Afghanistan], because in the final analysis this will lead to strengthening of Iranian influence in Iraq.
One point to notice is that this is a paper that has been among the staunchest supporters of the Sunni resistance in Iraq, and from time to time, at least in their coverage of some of the Sunni-resistance groups, it has reflected the anti-Iranian animus of some of those groups. With a new focus on Shiite resistance groups, that animus is shelved, if not abandoned, and their focus continues to be on the American occupation.

The editorialist concludes:
The political and military equations facing the Americans are changing rapidly and sharply, with allies of yesterday and today gradually becoming enemies, and enemies of yesterday, or some of them (Sunni) becoming allies, even if only for the moment. And all of this is happening because of the Americans' stupidity, and their wading into the swamp of occupation in a country that is among the most intractable in the world.
If one were to take the argument a step further as far as the Washington center-left consensus is concerned, the American stupidity currently takes the form of refusing to acknowledge the seriousness of resistance based in the Sadr movement. There are two reasons for this: (1) There has grown up an AlQaeda specialty in the academic and pseudo-academic circles, and the inertia works against focusing on the Shiite side; and (2) there seems to be some kind of an allergy at work here, whether owing to class-based distaste for the "slum-dwellers"; or intellectual distaste for a proto-millenarian undertone to the movement that isn't understood; or to infection by Sunni-sectarian assumptions; or for other reasons, personal or otherwise, I do not know.

Just in passing, I note that the above editorial was thumbnailed by Marc Lynch this morning, and he had this to say about it:
AlQuds alArabi reviews the balance sheet in Iraq...mixed for all sides--AQI in a period of self-criticism over the rush to declare ISI and alienating of Sunnis, US still trapped in a disaster of its own making despite changes, and then Iran.


Blogger Bruno said...

Thank you so much for your service, Badger. It is an invaluable window into what is being said in Arabic that would otherwise be inaccessible to us. Great job!

12:33 AM  

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