Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Storm clouds over Amara? Or more dis-information?

One of the current-events/policy websites of the Badr Organization (formerly Badr Corps) publishes today a brief report written by someone who visited Amara (Maysan province, southeast of Baghdad) recently. But his report has one point and one point only: He says people in Amara he spoke to expect the Baghdad government will grant them a third implementation of the anti-crime cleanup drives that have been so successful in Basra and Mosul.

The funny thing is that Amara is not particularly known for its crime-rate, but rather for the fact that the local government is controlled by the Sadr trend, who are said to be running one of the better administrations in the South-center region. Anyway, the BadrToday correspondent puts it this way:
It seemed to me when I visited Amara the other day, and met with a number of political and social leaders and citizens there, that the city is in anticipation of the promised day when they will be freed from the gangs of outlaws, especially since talk about them has escalated during the last two months, after the success of the Charge of the Knights in nearby Basra province, and the beginning of a similar campaign that is still going on in Ninawa province, whose success will be the latest to spread stability and security and political movement and positive developments to more areas of Iraq. This comes after the provinces of the South and Center made considerable progress in this, and then they were followed by other provinces including Anbar and Diyala, where the forces of the Iraqi army and police fought battle after battle to pursue the remnants of the terrorists belonging to the AlQaeda organization, and took them apart, not to mention taking down all of the remnants of the defeated Saddamists and the members of the outlaw gangs, restoring all of the provinces to their earlier era of security and stability, so that the efforts of politicians and the specialized organs of the state could turn their attention to struggles in the areas of redevelopment, culture and economy.

Those I met in Amara, including political-party and religious officials, tribal leaders, and government officials who hold important jobs in agencies of the local government, agreed that a quick and limited military operation, not reaching the size of the the Charge of the Knights or the Lions Roar operations, would put an end to the activities of the outlaws and their troublemaking leaders.
Much of this sounds like talking-points for the rightwing milblogs: Generic bad guys everywhere--AQ, Sadaamists, criminals--unrelieved gallantry by the Iraqi armed forces in exterminating them; little or no mention of airstrikes or other American contributions to the effort (none here); little or no mention of the Sadrist/nationalist versus Badr political context (none here), and so on.

By contrast, here (pdf: scroll to p 4) are remarks by historian Reidar Visser on the subject of Amara and the intra-Shiite struggle:
As a substantial component of the social structure of the South, the Sadrists can neither be ignored nor annihilated; so far, even modest operations against tiny southern factions under the Sadrist umbrella have glaringly illustrated the limited capacities of the Iraqi security forces in handling this kind of Shiite-on-Shiite challenge. On the other hand, more positive scenarios can be envisaged. If unobstructed Sadrist participation in the 2008 local elections can be enabled, more predictable trends can once more come to dominate in the south. In that case, the pioneering example of Amara can become relevant as a model: here, Sadrists have run the local government since 2005, and have now reached the point where they boast of being the Iraqi governate with the highest implementation rate for local development projects.
On the other hand, there are also the more negative scenarios. There is, for instance, this report on alleged rumors about "preparations" for a major military strike on Maysan province that would involve not only trying to dislodge the current Sadrist administration, but also a military escalation with Iran. Notice, however, that the person reporting this is the person who headed the research department of Ahmed Chalibi's Iraqi National Congress including the period of time when the Pentagon was devising and implementing the mother of all dis-information campaigns (see Kazimi's bio at, so this should probably be treated as raw material in every sense of the word.


Blogger makewhatyouneedtofind said...

WOW--you predicted it...with your entry storm clouds over Amara and here it is:
Very very very scary.

thank you so much for all of this. also, i just noticed that your link to Reiser Visser's link goes to the Badr website...for readers you can see Visser's paper that badger is talking about here:

5:02 PM  

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