Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Underestimating Muqtada




I saw al-Maliki yesterday on what is supposedly the mouthpiece of the government, al-Iraqiya TV, al-Maliki had a very good bark, I was impressed, he was as pissed off as he was three days ago when he likened he Sadrists to al-Qaeda, sporting an unshaven workaholic look to boot, he was talking about the need to plant democracy through force, ballots-not-bullets and integrity, unfortunately for all of us, and as I expected ; what he sells is just bark with not much bite. I've seen al-Maliki on interviews before, he has got the stern, serious look going but he can roll you a a nice bullshit cigar or two to smooth things over, for all his bravado about going rabid mofo on the militias, all it took was a negligent BOO! from Battal Atari al-Najaf , who waited for six days, via Qum to bring the bravado of the Dawlat to a shameful standstill.

Hey, if al-Maliki is indeed capable of saying what he says is going to do, then I'm all for this guy by all means, the Sadrists, with their strongly supernatural bent and retrograde barbarism isn't something you can negotiate with, let alone be secure in having along in building a meaningful democracy. Unfortunately, the reality on the ground is nowhere near what Mr. Maliki is talking about, he arrested the head of Tharallah, an independent militia today, okay, so you got a petty milita, but I would only approve of what you're doing when you get the Sadrists, and that's not going to happen anytime soon. the Sadrists are way, way more powerful.

Remember when I posted about our Kia driver Omar's Odyssey? During that trip, Omar passed a checkpoint of the Iraqi Army, when he told them that his brothers were taken by JAM, they immediately tucked their tails, told him they're staying out of this one and let him pass. This image matches what happened at Basra, IMO, I didn't know the Badrists were such pansies, but then again, the only thing the people of Sadr City were famous for back when it was still called Thawra was this: they're the toughest dudes on the block, I might even go further and say that they're the dirtiest mofos in the whole Middle East, having been through numerous wars, and judging by the difference between a regular Lebanese and a regular Iraqi, they'd eat up Hezbollah anytime (provided that they have the same years of training of course). The more Iranian-fed Badrists still need to grow the set of balls required to tackle on the notorious streetwise JAM.

JAM's power is today even recognized by America, who dismissed him as a thug in 2004 but are now calling him "Sayyid Muqtada", while many Iraqi Shia have no love for JAM, they view their presence as necessary, it is JAM who was doing things for the Iraqi Shia, providing all sort of civil services, not to mention its populist expression of wrath and Shia power against Sunnis and their insurgency post-Samarra explosions. In other words, Shia fear JAM, they abhor its oppressive streak that sometimes mimics al-Qaeda, but they also need it, because the government is weak and ineffective.

This is a good article, I can't vouch for it entirely, I'm skeptical of the notion that the Iraqi Army is nothing but what we used to call the Badr Brigade, but one does wonder how did the Badr Brigade clean up its act so quickly back when Harith al-Dhari[t] was going shrill in 2005 about their Sunni-drilling pastimes, before their comeback as the sober, sheepishly innocent "Badr Organization"

I'm surprised that there are people who can still wrinkle out a positive spin from this ; just type Basra or Iraq in Google News and behold pandemonium itself. Of course, one should always take into account the loyalties and the backgrounds of the news sources, but such a depressing pandemonium is unarguable, I myself rooted for the surge itself in its early days as the last hope, but as the haze clears you can't help but call a spade a spade, or a civil war a civil war, or the Iraqi Army the Badr Brigade.
the Iraqi government claims repeatedly that the attack was targeting only prepared lists of renegades, rogues and criminals who may "claim" to be affiliated with the Sadrists, however, a congruent reading of all the Sadrist, Badrist, Shi'i websites and general news reports clearly indicate that the same old rivalry Middle-class Da'wa-ISCI/lower-class Sadrists feud is a significant portion of what's happening there.

Loyal Student Fatass Himself appeared on al-Jazeera Saturday, with its boneheaded orthodox Arab-Islamic logic al-Jazeera is notorious between Shi'is as an anti-Shi'i station, so that was like whoa, lesh? he was interviewed by Ghassan bin Jidou, a Tunisian married to a Shi'i Lebanese. Angry Arab said that he was impressed by Fatass's new PR skills, I disagree, clearly Abu Khalil isn't an avid follower of Muqtada al-Sadr as Iraqis, Muqtada is still pretty much the same funny turban-on-a-clown creature I laugh about with my family on YouTube, he still has rotten gargari-persuaded teeth (although somewhat barely visible in the interview), but what caught my attention is the strangely detached, dazed and distinctly canine look in Muqtada's eyes, something that immediately brought back to my memory the drunken ramblings of one Uday Hussein the Iraqi TV used to interrupt the Friday Afternoon Movie. It's uncanny!

Muqtada is an easy man to make fun of, with his extremely crude speech, the habibi and the repetitive uh grunt, but if you excuse his Fish Market mannerisms, you can find that he's coming from some sort of a tangible idea. Here are things that he said which I find interesting, (full Arabic interview on al-Jazeera YouTube channel):

* Our first goal is and have always been to liberate Iraq from occupation.
* I am in complete control of the majority of the Mahdi Army. (something validated twice with his call for cease-fire, which gave the Americans much of their surge success, and his ceasefire command in the Battle of Basra)
* It is not in my hands to [disband, he literally said freeze] the Mahdi Army is an ideological party founded on the idea of the Savior, in all religions there is a savior, and this army is his, and we yearn to be in his service (note the strong metaphysical and simplistic theories of Muqtada, which are also based on the metaphysical and fantastically-bent ideas of his father, Sadr II, both contrasting the more earthly and realistic ideals of Mohammed Baqr al-Sadr.)
* They won't be able to stop my resistance because I will never allow them to have anything to pin down on me.
* the Iraqi government does not consider resistance of the occupier as terrorism, but they cannot just come out and say it publicly, when we see them in private they tell us to do so, as long as it does not target the Iraqi people.
*Our parliament isn't a parliament, it's a sectarian component based on political deals. It hasn't done anything for the Iraqi people, the government takes care of itself more than it takes care of the people. We used to complain about the dictatorship of Saddam, and our government is doing the same.
* [after being asked about JAM's involvement in Sunni cleansing after al-Askariya shrine], thank you for this question, the Sadrist current has nothing to do with this, I admit that there was a massive popular uprising, and a sectarian atmosphere between Sunnis and Shi'is, and I tried to stop it and I will never accept the murder of any Sunni as long as he is Iraqi. Those things weren't just carried out by JAM, it was a massive Sunni-Shi'i war, JAM is blamed the most because the Sadrist current is the largest, biggest, most effective current in Iraq, so everything is blamed upon it.
* There was a strong Sunni-Sadrist alliance, and I hope that it returns, the occupiers and some factions, managed to distance Shia from Sunnis, or let's say Sadrists from Sunnis.
* Everyone interferes in Iraq, and 99% of these are negative, they send armed cars into Iraq, against the Iraqi people, everyone searches for his own interests.
* Arab and Islamic countries must balance their relationship with the Iraqi government, they must have a relationship with it but they must be careful as it is severely pressured by the occupation, so they must look into matters to see whether their demands are really the demands of the occupation, or not.
* Tells a story about US soldiers planting an IED bomb in a civilian car at a checkpoint, and then blames USA for sectarianism and everything bad in Iraq.
* Sadrists are defenders of Islam, not just in Iraq, but in all the Islamic countries. They would help in any trouble that befalls any Muslim country in any possible matter.
* The struggle in Iraq is a sectarian struggle at large but is really political competition between the politicians.
* I am a Shi'i but incidentally many of my bloc's decisions are Sunni-oriented. This is a good patriotic notion, habibi.
* I do everything in public, when I met with Sayyid Khamenei [of Iran] I told him that we share an ideological line, but I shall not an extension of their political and military line. Iran has done mistakes in Iraq, everyone made a mistake, and Iran must adopt a new agenda that helps Iraqi people.

Anyway, let's wait and see.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

wow massively excellent report. essential post.

annie

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

Hey, if al-Maliki is indeed capable of saying what he says is going to do, then I'm all for this guy by all means, the Sadrists, with their strongly supernatural bent and retrograde barbarism isn't something you can negotiate with...

I take it you would prefer Basra to have been turned into another Fallujah or Najaf circa 2004, then? I don't know that the Iraqi military is up to that.

onix said...

All glad with the report to. Thx.
Although i remember i hated a blunt shia or cia reaction on a former post, i think i agree with lynette when i wonder what turns you on about shias.
Ha, i heard muqtada said he is some sort of sunni himself. We live in an era many people get many sectarian traits when they expected to just have none.
or what do you mean with i have witnessed your development into a sectarian person..

The problem when u are a sunni is history coincides to proof ur prejudice you have to react with introspection to find the answer.

The introspection only proofs a thing that was already proven, that irak should not have been invaded. It doesn't really mean you are more right then shia in this.

Gilgamish said...

Agool 3abas, u should really pursue 9a7afa as a career, i see you as mutha8af, writer, columnist, and presenter of some t.v political programme.

keep on the good work :)

Abbas Hawazin said...

onix, i didn't really understand what you said.

What I meant by saying look at the development of my sectarian awareness is that you should read the earlier posts to figure out how I was extremely ignorant of sectarianism, I was only a regular Iraqi.

Mayssam said...

"I was extremely ignorant of sectarianism, I was only a regular Iraqi."

I think the reason for that ignorance is your young age Abbas , you are only 20 now . You grew up in a quiet Baghdadi area that saw no troubles with the regime , you knew little of life in iraq and never travelled inside it . I bet you didn't know that iraqis from the south were ashamed and afraid to say they are from Basrah , Imara , Naseriya .... , you havn't seen youngmen taken from their homes blindfolded to meet their death in less than an hour sometimes , and that was a regular activity in near by Kadhimia in early 1990s .
You have seen nothing like what you are seeing now and you are profoundly touched by it , in a confusing way sometimes , but its quiet understandable.

Bruno said...

Abbas, your posts are some of the best in the Iraqi blogosphere. I greatly enjoy them, and your perspectives. Maybe its because I find a lot in common with your political stance - I don't particularly like Sadr, but I perfer him to the guys from the Badr Brigade any day.

Bruno said...

I LMAO at your skit on Maliki. Maybe you'll appreciate this too:

"Yesterday the story was:

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Thursday he planned to launch more security crackdowns like the one in Basra against "criminal gangs" in Baghdad. Addressing a news conference, he singled out Sadr City and Shula — two Mahdi Army militia strongholds in Baghdad — as likely targets in the future crackdowns, saying they were under the sway of "criminal gangs.

Today the story is:

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has ordered a nationwide freeze on raids against suspected Shiite militiamen. The announcement comes one day after Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr hinted at retaliation if the arrests of his followers did not stop. Al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia fought government troops in Basra and Baghdad last week."

http://rising-hegemon.blogspot.com/2008/04/im-fully-tired-of-always-anticipating.html

Anonymous said...

Hey, if al-Maliki is indeed capable of saying what he says is going to do,

what is it he says he is going to do?? talking about the need to plant democracy through force, ballots-not-bullets and integrity,

ha! so which is it. either way he says nothing about massacering ala falluja lyn, althought the rhetoric might be similar, just going after a few criminals or something.

anyway, while he vasilates and flip flops the americans seem to be on course. fighting crime wherever they find it!

"Sixteen people killed or wounded, most of them members of the Iraqi Police, by American fire south of Baghdad".

why let a little truce stop the progress of a free and liberated iraq! according to military press ("Reports indicate the targeted suspect planned to assassinate Hillah police leaders ") it was a pre emptive strike! kill some police to protect the other police, one would think the police could just kill eachother if they wanted to!

maybe they lack motivation. oh well, i'm sure the US will step in and make sure the fight continues unabated.

anyone in baghdad heard anything about

The Xinhua person apparently tried to get to the site, and reports that everyone was barred by Iraqi police. Compare McClatchy's one sentence (in its dispatch to its Washington office): "At dawn, the American planes bombed some targets in Sadr City, police said." And the "Multinational Force Iraq" website: Zero Other corporate media: Zero

annie

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