Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 07, 2008

Sadr's Options

There are heavy attacks on Sadr city by U.S. forces and Badr militia gangs which were hired by Maliki to substitute for unreliable government troops.

Via Guerillia Guides:

There is very heavy fighting going on in Sadr city. The Americans have it under siege and are refusing all access to the city. American helicopters have bombed the city repeatedly. American snipers are being deployed on the roof tops. Imam Ali spokesmen say they are now desperately short of medical supplies. The Red Crescent attempts to get emergency medical supplies to the city which we reported yesterday have failed because the Americans will not let them through.

There are reports that the fires caused by the American bombing of the Jameela market are spreading and that there is no water being pumped to the city.

With the city under siege and the wholesale food market ablaze, there will pretty soon be death from lack of food.

This is clearly all out war again and it is not only in Sadr city but spreads from Basra, where British troops redeploy and an air attack last night killed eight people, up to Mosul.

Some U.S. spokesperson said yesterday that the current action was just to conquer fire positions used to mortar the Green Zone. That's bull - mortars and rockets are mobile.

Accordingly:

A military official said two U.S. troops died and 17 were wounded in the attack on the Green Zone, which houses the U.S. Embassy and the Iraqi government headquarters in central Baghdad.

Another American service member was killed and 14 were wounded in the attack on a base in the southeastern Baghdad area of Rustamiyah, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to release the information.

The conflicting interests here:

  • Maliki wants to eliminate the Sadr movement so he and his friends can win the provincial elections in the south, unite these provinces and attach them to Iran.
  • The U.S. wants a puppet government in Iraq that has enough support in the parliament to be able to "invite" the U.S. military to stay as occupier when the UN mandate runs out at the end of 2008.
  • Sadr wants to win the election in the south, no close attachment to Iran and the U.S. to leave Iraq.

Badger notes that some Sunni politicians from the Iraqi Accord Front now support Maliki in taking on Sadr. One wonders how much money was exchanged to facilitate this.

Maliki threatens to disfranchise Sadr followers unless the Sadr's forces are dissolved.

"A decision was taken yesterday that they no longer have a right to participate in the political process or take part in the upcoming elections unless they end the Mehdi Army," al-Maliki said.

Unless the Kurdish peshmerga and the Badr militia also dissolve, Sadr is unlikely to bow to that demand. His militia protects him and his people.

Petraeus will try to implicate an Iranian role in the fighting and some Brits fear that this will be the precursor to widen the war.

Tomorrows hearing with Petraeus and Crocker will be a major propaganda effort. With three presidential candidates attending, it with also be domestic political posturing that will have little relevance to the situation on the ground.

The real decisive things happen in Iraq.

Sadr's best military option to defend Sadr city in Baghdad is to cut off the attackers supply line from Basra to Baghdad. I assume that this is happening right now.

Politically Sadr called for a huge demonstration to take place in Baghdad on Wednesday. A good option might be to let it march onto the Green Zone.

What are the U.S. and Maliki willing to do to prevent this taking place?

Posted by b on April 7, 2008 at 06:04 AM | Permalink

Comments

The question of a siege of Sadr City is not so simple. As far as I remember Sadr City is a vast rectangle on the flat plain, several km a side, open in all directions, though there's a canal on one side I think. The reason you can talk about closing it off, is the way Baghdad has been divided up by concrete walls, with limited entrances. However, as anybody who knows the Middle East appreciates, there are probably hundreds of 'informal' entrances not obvious. They wouldn't be going seriously hungry in Sadr City, without there being some massive reaction elsewhere in Iraq.

Some U.S. spokesperson said yesterday that the current action was just to conquer fire positions used to mortar the Green Zone. That's bull - mortars and rockets are mobile.

Nevertheless, the firing on the Green Zone is certainly the big issue here. As you showed yourself, b, the Green Zone has become only semi-tenable. The GZ under attack is a grave set-back for the US, and, I would think, an important hindrance to US operations. They have to do something to stop the bombardment, if they can.

Posted by: Alex | Apr 7, 2008 7:23:26 AM | 1

Banned from Politics

Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki has warned that the radical Muslim cleric, Moqtada al-Sadr, will be banned from participating in the country's political process unless he disbands his militias.

In an interview with the American CNN network, al-Maliki said he would pursue members of al-Sadr's Mahdi Army across the country, including those in Sadr City.

"We will not stop until we have full control of these areas," he said.

"The operation has started and will not stop until a decisive victory is achieved ... a victory that will not allow these people to attack the Green Zone or other areas."

The Green Zone of Baghdad is where the Iraqi government and several embassies are located, has been the target of intense attacks.

Three US soldiers were killed on Monday and over 30 were injured by rocket attacks in the Green Zone and another military base in the capital, the US military has said.

Al-Maliki recognised that Iraqi forces were still far from winning control of the militias.

"Confronting the militias still needs more effort. Our readiness is not at full level yet," the prime minister told CNN.

Wednesday will be bloody.

Posted by: Cloned Poster | Apr 7, 2008 7:27:49 AM | 2

Hey b you forgot to mention the Awakening Council malitias which the US is arming and funding. Anyways the charade is over as Maliki gave CNN an interview and signalled out the Mahdi Army specifically. It speaks volumes though that the Sunni bloc support this demand. Even the Saderists are worried:

"We, the Sadrists, are in a predicament," lawmaker Hassan al-Rubaie said Sunday. "Even the blocs that had in the past supported us are now against us and we cannot stop them from taking action against us in parliament."

Sadr party faces rising isolation

I suspect the Sunni support is a direct result of the Mahdi Army buying into the Sunni AL Queda blew up the Samarra Mosque meme and participated in the subsequent slaughter of Sunni Iraqis. But Sadr isn't isolated yet and he just raised the stakes again:

Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr will consult senior religious leaders and disband his Mehdi Army militia if they instruct him to, a senior aide said on Monday.

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani is revered by all of Iraq's Shi'ite factions

Will he tell his people to disarm? My guess is no. It's that Saddam thing if you disarm you get hung.

This morning on CNN they had live coverage from Sadr City with American forces prodding reluctant Iraq army troops to take the lead in attacking their fellow Iraqis. It was a pathetic display really. They have no shame whatsoever.

Posted by: Sam | Apr 7, 2008 9:31:27 AM | 3

What does this mean


NAJAF, Iraq (Reuters) - Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr offered on Monday to disband his militia if the highest Shi'ite religious authority demand it, a shock announcement at a time when the group is the focus of an upsurge in fighting. ...

...Senior Sadr aide Hassan Zargani said Sadr would seek rulings from Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq's most senior Shi'ite cleric, as well as senior Shi'ite clergy based in Iran, on whether to dissolve the Mehdi Army, and would obey their orders.

Does he offer this thinking they will not give such an order? Sistani hasn't done much of anything recently, but I don't recall him being a fan of Sadr during the summer of '04. Also, doesn't this link him too closely to Iran, precisely at a time when the U.S. is accusing him of just that?

Posted by: Lysander | Apr 7, 2008 11:44:59 AM | 4

All one can say for the moment, through the dense fogs of war, is that whoever is making decisions among the US-Mailiki factions, is in way over their heads. Actually, maybe that applies to the US faction alone, or to some faction within the US war contingent; Maliki may understand, at least, some of the game.

The simple premise, which US decisions seem to continually neglect, is that all the Iraqis, including Sadr and his many followers, live there. They are staying. The Iranians live there. They are staying. Sooner than later the US is leaving, if only because they have burnt up all their forces pretending they are staying. Or believing it?

A broad resistance cannot be eliminated by banning it and shooting at it. Esp with so many "friends" throughout the region helping to keep all sides armed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BcXJe1-Zznk>Nuke 'em? What is left?

Posted by: small coke | Apr 7, 2008 11:53:52 AM | 5

Here is an interesting comment from Badger's latest post by the Palestinian Pundit:

Many supporters of the resistance earlier had hoped that he would join the "Sunni" resistance in a nation-wide resistance against the occupation. But then, the Mahdi army became a sectarian Shiite militia with its death squads and instead of fighting the occupation it engaged mostly in ethnic cleansing and the slaughter of Palestinians.

Are we supposed to forget this very dark chapter of Muqtada and embrace him again as a nationalist leader? And how about Iran's twists and turns? Are we to believe that Iran really wants the end of the US occupation and a free, united Iraq?

And lets not forget that during the first siege of Fallujah the Saderists brought food aid in support of the resistance and during the seige of Najaf the Sunni resistance aided the untrained Madhi Army in their resistance. Both uprisings were rooted in the execution of Hamas paraplegic leader Yassin. Sadr's newspaper wrote critical comments on it and was shut down and one of his leaders commenting on it was arrestted. Interviews with the Fallujahns on the day they hung the bodies of the 4 contractors said they were doing it in revenge for Yassin. Even in Canada they burned a Jewish School.

It's the oldest strategy in the book commonly known as divide and rule. He should be familiar with it considering the battles between Fatah and Hamas and the complete absence of any gains for the Palestinian people. This is why they hire the Lincoln Group and others in Iraq not to influence the American public which already has a pro war media. This is why I think Sadr declared the truce in order to refocus the Mahdi Army on the nationalist resistance it started with.

The answer to the Pundit's question is obvious and I am surprised he even asks it. The alternative is to just keep on Killing each other.

Posted by: Sam | Apr 7, 2008 12:14:25 PM | 6

Lysander:

Sistani hasn't done much of anything recently, but I don't recall him being a fan of Sadr during the summer of '04.

It was Sistani that ended the fighting. His forces even shot some of the Iraqi Army troops.

Posted by: Sam | Apr 7, 2008 12:19:50 PM | 7

I think the idea that the Sadrists are isolated is certainly media spin, coming from the US command in Baghdad. If Sadr is willing to disarm under the order of the Shi'a "authorities", it is because of the tradition of obedience in Shi'ism, and his own tendency to negotiate rather than fight. But of course, he won't actually disarm; his people would refuse to do so

Posted by: Alex | Apr 7, 2008 12:28:25 PM | 8

https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2008/04/malikis-threat.html#comments>Pat Lang thinks Sadr's decision to seek council from the mullahs is brilliant. I would agree.

Posted by: anna missed | Apr 7, 2008 1:26:33 PM | 9

I think the idea that the Sadrists are isolated is certainly media spin, coming from the US command in Baghdad.

bingo. the 'Sadr party faces rising isolation' link reads like it came straight out of central spin. they refer to banning him from politics as a 'bold move'! can you imagine if it was chavez making such an order? the 'free trade' pro dictator crowd would be screaming in the msm. also note the hysterical "banning parties that operate militias from fielding candidates". ha! the peshmerga will roll over i presume, as (alamet?) pointed out yesterday. plus the absurd Such a bold move risks a violent backlash by al-Sadr's Shiite militia. they don't call airbombing sadr city a violent backlash.

as i recall AP correspondent QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA is usually good for this kind of drivel.

Does he offer this thinking they will not give such an order?

lysander, a very good question. sistani doesn't give orders, he recommends,/A>. he is not going to recommend shite slaughtering shite. even if sadr ask them to disband they are still going to defend themselves? likely!

It was Sistani that ended the fighting. His forces even shot some of the Iraqi Army troops.

sistani's forces? that would be a neat trick.

the link has a more 'balanced' approach.

alex They wouldn't be going seriously hungry in Sadr City, without there being some massive reaction elsewhere in Iraq.

when i posted this rueters link 8 hrs ago it included this next sentence which seems to have disappeared.


Another strike unleashed a huge fire in the Jamila market, a vast wholesale bazaar that provides food for much of the eastern half of Baghdad.

meanwhile, it is not as if most iraqis are in love w/sadr. they aren't. but the alternative?

I mean, who would you prefer? the crazy fool or the creepy medusa?

Posted by: annie | Apr 7, 2008 1:48:53 PM | 10

sorry

Posted by: annie | Apr 7, 2008 1:50:07 PM | 11

here is an interesting passage i read yesterday Aroads to iraq

“Iran to set strict conditions and ignores all the American calls for new negotiation rounds about Iraq’s security unless the requests come directly from Baghdad”, for sure this was a direct answer to the U.S. Gates call for meetings and talks with Iran, and a good opportunity for revenge.

Nahla Al-Shahal on Al-Hayat says:

Recent confrontations shows that Iran is organizing its elements in Iraq for the coming U.S. - Iran war, which is is already going on silently….does this mean that Iran is the winner? ….kept good relations with Muqtada Al-Sadr and demonstrating to Al-Hakim and his Badr Brigades -formed by Iran- that they are replaceable.

Continues Al-Hayat Baghdad Office Chief Mushriq Abbas, who agreed with the previous article suggesting that Iran involvement to calm the situation was another demonstration of its ability and influence in Iraq.

Sooner or later the Americans are going to negotiate Iraq-security with Iran, but on the Iranian terms and conditions.

Posted by: annie | Apr 7, 2008 1:58:35 PM | 12

@annie #10
Another strike unleashed a huge fire in the Jamila market, a vast wholesale bazaar that provides food for much of the eastern half of Baghdad.

If I remember correctly, yesterday they were blaming the market fire on gunmen who were running around setting fires there. Looks like that piece was an attempt to cover-up the air strike causing it, and now they are trying to phase out the air strike as well. Spontaneous combustion, perhaps?

Posted by: Ensley | Apr 7, 2008 2:10:41 PM | 13

Lang's opinion:

Sadr's response has been to ask for the guidance of the senior ayatollahs in Najaf and Qom as to whether or not he should disarm. (Irony Alert - one would hope that he will also seek the guidance of the Mahdi in this matter) This appeal to Najaf and Qom is a strong move. He can hardly lose in this. If he is advised by the ijma' (consensus) of the hawza to retain his forces, then he will do so with religious sanction. If advised to disarm, then Maliki will be in the position of either allowing Sadr to run his candidates relatively unmolested or of being seen to have "rigged" the election against the consensus of the hawza.

Sadr is now in Qom seeking to sharpen his religious and political credentials. The Iranians' fine, complex, Florentine hand is in this somewhere.

Posted by: b | Apr 7, 2008 2:14:03 PM | 14

badger covers the story of the day.

hadley:

¶Continue our diplomatic efforts to keep the Sunnis in the political process by pushing for the negotiation of a national compact and by talking up provincial council elections next spring/summer as a mechanism for Sunni empowerment;


this section offers a pdf underlining the ratchet effect behind hadley's quote

Quite apart from whatever the IAF and its ilk may have been offered by way of "empowerment" or bribe-money or what have you, it's also good to remember that presumed Mahdi Army rockets killed two American soldiers in the Green Zone yesterday, so it isn't surprising on that visceral level that parties centered in the Green Zone would back efforts against "the militias". But what about the "Awakenings"...

Perhaps what has been happening with the Awakenings is similar to the "negotiating" process with the Sunni parties and others: The Americans are probing and sifting them to see which will agree to participate in the Green Zone occupation, and which need to be eventually taken on militarily.

Posted by: annie | Apr 7, 2008 2:41:43 PM | 15

Looks like that piece was an attempt to cover-up the air strike causing it

also w/the borders sealed who controlled the water to put out the fire? smoke 'em out! w/american sniper sitings on the rooftops... something out of the old west?

after reading the hadley memo one doesn't have to stretch one's imagination to figure out how long this operation has been in the works. makes me dread what campaign this summer will bring. operation unity?

Posted by: annie | Apr 7, 2008 2:50:31 PM | 16

Looks like the https://www.uruknet.info/?p=m42835&hd=&size=1&l=e>Clerics think Sadr can keep his army / and participate in elections.

Posted by: anna missed | Apr 7, 2008 2:53:54 PM | 17

anna missed, re #17 (Al-Ubeidi had said that any effort to prevent Sadrists from political participation would be unconstitutional.). something badger said in one of his recent comment sections..

Hasn't Sadr already said they won't be contesting the local elections as a party? Rather, they will be a "movement". The GZ people might have to figure out another way to disqualify candidates...

not sure how that works.

Posted by: annie | Apr 7, 2008 3:08:16 PM | 18

gotta go to work now :(

Posted by: anna missed | Apr 7, 2008 3:12:02 PM | 19

Whatever happens, I indeed think people shouldn't underestimate Sadr.
I've read people claiming Obama shouldn't be underestimated in general election's nastiness because he survived Chicago politics and came on top.
Well, Sadr survived Saddam's Irak when he was one of the key opponents, and remained in Iraq even after his relatives were assassinated by Saddam's goons - unlike Maliki, Chalabi, Allawi and even the Hakims. The only others to have done so are the Kurdish leaders, who benefitted from the no-fly zones and de facto autonomy in their area.

Posted by: CluelessJoe | Apr 7, 2008 3:54:19 PM | 20

annie:

sistani's forces? that would be a neat trick.

Yes he calls them the "believers" and when he called on them to march on Najaf it produced the bloodiest day of the siege. Most of them were unarmed but many were not. The Iraqi army arrestted all the foriegn reporters in Najaf and did everything they could to try and stop them. The amount of disinformation in the media trying to hide what really happened was massive but some info got through:

The Reuters agency reported a similar fatal exchange of gunfire involving supporters of Ayatollah Sistani in Najaf itself.

That means they shot at the Iraqi army

The Reuters story seems to have gone down the rabbit hole but there were others at the time:

In another march, this one in Najaf, some demonstrators shot at Iraqi forces, sparking a gunbattle, witnesses said. The fighting killed 15 people and wounded 65 others, according to Hussein Hadi, an official in al-Hakeem hospital in Najaf.

And lots of people died

I remeber reading a report where a shooting also coincided with Sistani's motorcade showing up but I couldn't find it. I did find this though:

AFP - The gates of Najaf's Imam Ali shrine were forced open Thursday by a sea of weeping and chanting Shiite Muslims, ending a siege of the shrine which had lasted for days and weeks of fighting with US forces.

He and the others were greeted like heroes by the 300 besieged Sadr militiamen inside.

"We have been on the road since yesterday. When we reached the area, the national guard and the Iraqi police tried to prevent us from heading towards the shrine, but there was nothing they could do," said 20-year-old Hussein Noma, from the town of Amara.

And that happened right in the middle of the fighting

continued next post

Posted by: Sam | Apr 7, 2008 7:54:29 PM | 21

And not only did it cause US forces to back off and the Iraqi government to accept the Sadrists as a political entity but it also produced this:

The agreement would allow Mr. Sadr and his fighters to keep their guns and go free.

That's quite the "neat trick" wouldn't you say?

Posted by: Sam | Apr 7, 2008 7:55:15 PM | 22

RE my post @ 21 - isn't it amazing that the Iraqi Army is allowed to arrest our Western Reporters in the new democratic and free Iraq?

RE my post @ 3 - regarding the US troops trying to urge Iraqi troops to go fight in Sadr City:

UNIDENTIFIED SOLDIER: There is no reason that you cannot do this. We are behind you 100 percent, but you need to move forward.

UNIDENTIFIED SOLDIER: We provide support, but we need you to action it.

Definitely sounds like they are commited to backing up the Iraqi troops to me. Then the shooting starts:

ROBERTSON: Ready for backup. Raging into a store for cover, he loses contact with the Iraqi captain.

Geez what happened to the promised backup? There hiding in a store. With allies like that it's no wonder they don't want to fight:

ROBERTSON: Ten minutes later, the Iraqi troops returned. Three soldiers are injured. They say they killed one of the gunmen.

More likely they were ambushed and retreated. I am surprised they would actually print a story like that. I wonder what all those Iraqis watching CNN in the Green zone think about that?

Can't blame those soldiers for looking out for themselves

Posted by: Sam | Apr 7, 2008 8:20:14 PM | 23

some of your framing is interesting sam

when he called on them to march on Najaf it produced the bloodiest day of the siege.

it produced? you mean this day?

AFP Photo shows a demonstrator brought to Kufa’s Middle Euphrates hospital. As tens of thousands of peaceful demonstrators march to Najaf from Kufa, in answer to Grand Ayatollah Sistani's call, US tanks and Iraqi police open fire in several places causing 16 deaths and 120 injured.

Posted by: annie | Apr 7, 2008 8:24:25 PM | 24

Definitely sounds like they are commited to backing up the Iraqi troops to me.

that's quite an gripping interview, so realistic. i like the ending


UNIDENTIFIED SOLDIER: I'm proud of your men after what they (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED SOLDIER: I swear you have my (INAUDIBLE).

Posted by: annie | Apr 7, 2008 8:46:06 PM | 25

"They have to do something to stop the bombardment, if they can."

they can do something to stop it - leave. they have no goddamn business being there to start with.

Posted by: ran | Apr 7, 2008 9:18:02 PM | 26

annie:

it produced? you mean this day?

Yes they tried to stop them and killed them in several places. It continued even after they got there:

By noon, the city returned to a kind of siege. Demonstrators - all unarmed, according to journalists present on the scene - marched toward the US bases at the edge of Najaf, and were cut down by gunfire.

They came by the thousands

In other news the Sunni reveal the basis for their support of Maliki's order to disband malitia or get banned from local elections:

Parliamentarians representing Ninewa province on Monday called on the Iraqi government to force the Kurdish Peshmerga fighters return to Iraq’s Kurdistan region or to be treated as militias, and to take appropriate measures to dissolve them.

“In case the government is unable to force the militias to leave Kurdistan or to dissolve them, it should then not permit the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) to take part in the local and general elections until such time that these orders are implemented,” he continued.

There's always a catch isn't there

Posted by: Sam | Apr 7, 2008 9:30:53 PM | 27

we will see if the western press picks up that peshmerga story.

sam, have you noticed the blockquote feature?

Posted by: annie | Apr 7, 2008 9:40:40 PM | 28

sam, have you noticed the blockquote feature?

Yes its longer to type. I guess I could copy.

Posted by: | Apr 7, 2008 9:45:39 PM | 29

isn't najaf the scene of a slaughter every year? we had that 'mistake' of airbombing hundreds of women and children, another whoops the next year, and the next.

Yes they tried to stop them

argh

Posted by: annie | Apr 7, 2008 9:46:17 PM | 30

i just thought if you were going to be citing lots of news source you might want to know on this blog we normally try to use that feature.

Posted by: annie | Apr 7, 2008 9:49:29 PM | 31

annie:

isn't najaf the scene of a slaughter every year? we had that 'mistake' of airbombing hundreds of women and children, another whoops the next year, and the next.

I don't remember the numbers but that wasn't in Najaf but near there. Najaf is relatively quiet and prosperous.

Posted by: Sam | Apr 7, 2008 10:05:47 PM | 32

As a side note Sistani travelled to Najaf in an armored vehicle with armed guard. I remeber reading they shot at least one Iraqi soldier when they arrived. They confronted him but backed off as soon as shots were fired. That's the problem with the coverage any negative stories get scrubbed. It's like the reporting of the Interior Ministry troops taking over the security of the Samarra Mosque only weeks before the bombing. It was mentioned in a article covering "Camp Alamo" the local school occupied by US troops just before the incident. The same article now doesn't mention it.

Posted by: Sam | Apr 7, 2008 10:15:29 PM | 33

Testimony to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
by General (ret'd) William E. Odom

ex-General Testifies: Withdrawal is Only Sensible Strategy

Iraq after the Surge: "The only sensible strategy is to withdraw rapidly but in good order."
...

Congressional Quarterly, CQ Congressional Testimony
US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
April 2, 2008

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Apr 7, 2008 11:30:30 PM | 34

Secret US plan for military future in Iraq

A confidential draft agreement covering the future of US forces in Iraq, passed to the Guardian, shows that provision is being made for an open-ended military presence in the country.

The draft strategic framework agreement between the US and Iraqi governments, dated March 7 and marked "secret" and "sensitive", is intended to replace the existing UN mandate and authorises the US to "conduct military operations in Iraq and to detain individuals when necessary for imperative reasons of security" without time limit.
...
Iraqi critics point out that the agreement contains no limits on numbers of US forces, the weapons they are able to deploy, their legal status or powers over Iraqi citizens, going far beyond long-term US security agreements with other countries.
...

Posted by: b | Apr 8, 2008 4:05:34 AM | 35

None of this who's up who and who is siding with who means anything at all on the amerikan side of the equation and one must imagine that most of the Iraqi leaders are fully cognizant of this. At the moment it suits Maliki to side with the amerikan demands to 'root out' Moqutada otherwise he prolly won't be bossfella after the next elections local or national that the Sadrists are going to participate in. The Sunnis will be saying one thing and doing another as they attempt to finesse control outta the hands of the always arguing Shia side.

But all sides are being pragmatic. They understand amerika will never let peace break out lest that mean the occupation seems un-necessary.

Today's Grauniad has a piece on 'leaked' USuk documents which have fallen into their hands outlining the strategy for McCain's 100 years war.

"A confidential draft agreement covering the future of US forces in Iraq, passed to the Guardian, shows that provision is being made for an open-ended military presence in the country.

The draft strategic framework agreement between the US and Iraqi governments, dated March 7 and marked "secret" and "sensitive", is intended to replace the existing UN mandate and authorizes the US to "conduct military operations in Iraq and to detain individuals when necessary for imperative reasons of security" without time limit.

The authorization is described as "temporary" and the agreement says the US "does not desire permanent bases or a permanent military presence in Iraq". But the absence of a time limit or restrictions on the US and other coalition forces - including the British - in the country means it is likely to be strongly opposed in Iraq and the US.

Iraqi critics point out that the agreement contains no limits on numbers of US forces, the weapons they are able to deploy, their legal status or powers over Iraqi citizens, going far beyond long-term US security agreements with other countries. The agreement is intended to govern the status of the US military and other members of the multinational force.

Following recent clashes between Iraqi troops and Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi army in Basra, and threats by the Iraqi government to ban his supporters from regional elections in the autumn, anti-occupation Sadrists and Sunni parties are expected to mount strong opposition in parliament to the agreement, which the US wants to see finalized by the end of July. The UN mandate expires at the end of the year. . . "

". . .It is also likely to prove controversial in Washington, where it has been criticised by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who has accused the administration of seeking to tie the hands of the next president by committing to Iraq's protection by US forces.

The defence secretary, Robert Gates, argued in February that the planned agreement would be similar to dozens of "status of forces" pacts the US has around the world and would not commit it to defend Iraq. But Democratic Congress members, including Senator Edward Kennedy, a senior member of the armed services committee, have said it goes well beyond other such agreements and amounts to a treaty, which has to be ratified by the Senate under the constitution. . . "

Well Hillary Obama is likely to find mush more fault in it now than he/she will after the election. As for anyone else, well there will undoubtedly be the usual wailing and gnashing of teeth accompanied by some particularly recherche hand-wringing before the 'next big thing to campaign against' appears. You can bet yer bottom dollar that the Iraqis won't demonstrate the suitable appreciation for these protests as they go about their dying.

Natch it will contain a nifty little workaround to avoid tired old memes like congressional approval to wage war. This should provoke at least 57 angry columns.

Administration officials have conceded that if the agreement were to include security guarantees to Iraq, it would have to go before Congress. But the leaked draft only states that it is "in the mutual interest of the United States and Iraq that Iraq maintain its sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence and that external threats to Iraq be deterred. Accordingly, the US and Iraq are to consult immediately whenever the territorial integrity or political independence of Iraq is threatened."

Can't be embarrassing potential prez from the A or B side of the imperial party by making them vote on continuing this illegal (in international law) occupation of sovereign territory so The A and B side will allow this avoidance by way of a prez signing statement or somesuch after throwing a few hissy fits about the erosion of liberty etc. Deep sighs of relief all around then the big 'move on'.

One could be quite sanguine about this (pun intended) and consider historical precedent. In which case the Iraqis, Palestinians, Syrians, Lebanese, Jordanians, Moroccans, Libyans, Algerians et al will eventually do what they always do in the end. Cast aside their petty rivalries and unite behind a Saladin type and rip the invaders to shreds, toss out all infidels and restore the al-Aqsa Mosque to it's glory.

So McCain won't get his hundred years, but a lot of humans are going to die as amerika fails to prove it's criminally selfish notion that the amerikan lifestyle is non-negotiable.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Apr 8, 2008 4:19:34 AM | 36

It's on...


Iraq's Sadr calls for anti-US march

Sadr has now called for a national demonstration against the occupation on 9 April 2008, shit or get off the pot time...

good to see ya did...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Apr 8, 2008 5:39:59 AM | 37

Dear MOA,

In case you haven't seen this article about Israel buying lots and lots of Iranian oil over a longtime:


https://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/richard_silverstein/2008/04/israels_tehran_connection.html


Johnf

Posted by: johnf | Apr 8, 2008 6:32:39 AM | 38

well stated debs

Posted by: annie | Apr 8, 2008 12:50:30 PM | 39

goes well beyond other such agreements and amounts to a treaty, which has to be ratified by the Senate under the constitution. . . "


we discussed this 6 months ago when maliki and bush signed this thing agreeing to finalize it this spring. i don't even know if their parliament has to vote on it. completely illegal. they don't want to call it a treaty. this is cheny/addington all the way. just create rules out of thin air.

Posted by: annie | Apr 8, 2008 12:54:35 PM | 40

The comments to this entry are closed.