04/07/2008 (10:59 am)
Comments in the wake of Ed Morrissey’s latest analysis of Iraqi President Maliki’s move to erase Moqtada al Sadr’s Mahdi Army from the Iraq equation suggest that current US election politics are driving his timing of the move. It’s a plausible theory, suggested by a reader who calls himself Romeo13:
Key here is that Al-Mal and the other centrist Iraqis understand that they only have a short window of time to rein in these militias.
They can read the tea leaves, and understand that the US’ internal politics, which are beyond their control, are now a ticking time bomb. They have to gain military control of the whole country, BEFORE the US elections, because if a Dem wins, they will not be able to count on US backup even between the election, and the Presidential Inauguration.
One key aspect to the Middle East philosophy and history that most miss is that they will invaribly back the strong horse. Shifting alliances is not looked down on, as it is in the West, and is a much more normal activity. They don’t seem to take is as personally as we do…
With that cultural perception as a backdrop, Al-Mal had our backing, BUT, the Politicians did not know if WE would last long enough to allow him to actually gain control. The surge showed that we were willing to stick with Al-Mal thus making him a “strong horse”, and gaining him more internal back up.
Now, he has to consolidate his power base, and show he will still be able to maintain control IF we leave. So he has about 6 months to get rid of the militias…
Morrissey’s analysis was based on this AP article, that predicts moves to disallow armed militias from running in the upcoming elections. Note my emphasis:
Iraq’s major Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish parties have closed ranks to force anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr to disband his Mahdi Army militia or leave politics, lawmakers and officials involved in the effort said Sunday.
Such a bold move risks a violent backlash by al-Sadr’s Shiite militia. But if it succeeds it could cause a major realignment of Iraq’s political landscape.
The first step will be adding language to a draft election bill banning parties that operate militias from fielding candidates in provincial balloting this fall, the officials and lawmakers said. The government intends to send the draft to parliament within days and hopes to win approval within weeks.
The move against Sadr in Basra clearly had a lot more support from Iraqis than previously thought. Even Shi’ites have had enough of the militia leader and want to see security and control managed from the elected government. The military phase was only the start; the political phase has just begun.
The end may be near for al Sadr’s Mahdi Army. The Iraqi Assembly has prevented full-scale US military action against the Mahdi Army for the last four years, but may be ready to step out of the way.
2 Comments »
Comment by Robert
The Mahdi “Army” wouldn’t last more than about a week against a full on attack by US Forces. Sounds like a good idea, get the whole thing wrapped up by the elections, give McCain an extra large serving of crow to feed to Obama, Clinton, et. al!
Comment by Ecclesiastes
For those who might find it amusing, I announce that I have made a last post on the ‘Race Dialogue I: Affirmative Action’ thread. It mirrors an attempted comment post on the Backyard Beacon’s ‘Affirmative action backlash gets personal’ thread.