Huh Quote of the Day

Courtesy Sabrina Tavernise in the NyTimes (my emphasis):

The shift, if it holds, would solidify a transfer of power from Mr. Sadr, who had lorded his once broad political support over the government, to Mr. Maliki, who is increasingly seen as a true national leader.

Huh? The rest of the article outlines how the recent putsch against the Mahdi Army has made Maliki more popular among the Shia and has clearly been a move to undercut the political power of the Sadrist movement. But no mention of either the Kurds (who are cheesed off over the election law) and the Sunnis who either still participating in an insurgency against the government or via the Awakening Councils arming themselves for a future second round against the Shia. How national is that?

Update I: It also occurs to me that in a sorta Hegelian fashion if Sadr has died, Sadr has lived through the new Maliki. iow, Sadr’s movement has been the one to push Maliki-Hakim to push the US for withdrawal. Whether or not Maliki secretly believes what John McCain says he does (which is he wants the US troops in there longer) now that he has publicly stated his opposition, his own timetable, in a foreign press, he (Maliki) can not go back on it domestically or his precarious new found pseudo-support will erode faster than you can say inshallah. Sadr has quasi-died and risen as Maliki 2.0. [Of course I still think Sadr is the cagiest of them all and I wouldn’t underestimate his ability to have 16 lives and come back from the dead as himself yet again].

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Maliki’s power or popularity is by proxy for primarily Ayatollah Sistani and secondarily for Iran. This is why after meeting with Sistani and Iran did Maliki refuse to sign the SOFA and has backed a withdrawal. As-Sadr has hurt himself as he was the main proponent as to why the U.S. was dropping bombs on the densely populated slum and the civil war.

    As far as As-Sadr, I think he sees the writing on the wall, in regards to the eventual withdrawal of the US troops, so he is putting himself in post-withdrawal position and he is studying to become an Ayatollah himself, giving himself a bigger soapbox and more legitimacy amongst even the Shias that don’t reside in Sadr city.

    Your right the next tipping point, is in the North between the Sunni Arabs and Kurds. If the Awakening Sunnis get involved, with their U.S. weaponry and bribe money, and the greater support of the Sunnis in the region, the U.S. would have to put pressure on the Kurds. All the U.S.’ eggs are in one basket, do they have a choice?

  2. e,

    That’s an interesting point with regard to Kirkuk and the Tribesman. And it’s not just pressure from the Sunni countries it would be pressure from above (as it were), namely the Turks who are massively opposed to Kirkuk going to the Kurds.

    Real tinderbox and I don’t know what they do about that because the Kurds want it. They’ve been planning for that takeover for a long time and executed their plan pretty much to perfection following the American invasion.

    And as much as they want it, all the others in the region don’t.

    Very dangerous potential flashpoint.

  3. CJ

    Exactly, I can see it now, in the unfortunate circumstance that violence were to occur between the Kurds and Sunni Arabs, the Awakening tribes, would implicate and equate the PKK with Al Qaeda, and the Turks would support this and the U.S. as they have already at the behest of Turkey has named the PKK as a terrorist group. Also, Iran with their small Kurdish population would actually be against the Kurds also.

    It kind of plays to the Awakening tribes’ hands, as they try to consolidate power, as the Sunni’s lack any real oil, so their mouths would be salivating for play on oil rich Kirkuk.

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