[Marxism] Re: Released from prison,Sadr aides inspired by growth

Nick Halliday halliday.nick at gmail.com
Tue Aug 30 02:41:48 MDT 2005

The Wash. Post/MSN piece that Fred posted included this 'what the f-?'

 >>Ahead are difficult questions, namely about Sadr's still-undeclared
stance on the proposed constitution: Support could anger Sunni allies,
but opposition might endanger his Shiite support. One aide hinted that
Sadr may leave his position ambiguous. But for the moment, Sadr
officials say they are reaping the benefits of their position as a
protest movement in a country with plenty to protest about.>>

Muqtada al-Sadr is already officially down as opposing the occupation
by any means available, including armed resistance. He has repeatedly
said that any constitution imposed under the occupation is
unacceptable. And he has rejected the latest version of constitution
writing because he rejects Kurdish or Basran autonomy and he rejects
'federalism' and he rejects the occupation and its political

The main question to ask, rather, is: will his movement encourage
participation in any vote on the constitution if it goes to a
referendum? It's the same question the Sunni side of the Resistance
has to ask ask well. If they officially encourage people to vote (in
order to vote against), but lose the vote (the Bush administration
probably has their Ohio team working under contract in Iraq now), then
they will have helped make seem legitimate an altogether illegitimate
process--and this will be pounced upon by the occupation and the
captive western media (who are afraid to mention al-Sadr's name or his
popularity--with both Shia and Sunni--and who somehow think the best
way to write about the Shia Resistance is to write something about a
day in the life of one of his followers).

In what is mostly a propaganda piece at Radio Free Europe/Radio
Liberty (which ran, and still runs, the US's propaganda broadcasts for
Iraq, out of Prague, Czech Rep) (RFE, 26 August, an internet search
will yield links):

>>It appears that the al-Sadr's core motive is to drive a wedge 
between the Shi'a in an effort to have the draft constitution shot 
down, thus providing an opportunity for a new constitution that is 
more in line with his own goals for an Islamist state in Iraq. 
When speaking to reporters on 25 August, al-Sadr appealed to all 
Iraqi Muslims, saying: "I ask them not to serve Western plots that 
seek to divide Muslims, be they Sunnis or Shi'ites.... Iraq is going 
through a critical phase involving the so-called interim 
constitution, which is not an Islamic constitution if I may say 
so.... The occupation prevents us from pursuing any political 
activities or activities that benefit the Iraqi people because the 
occupation sows sedition amongst the faithful." 

            The Sunni Factor 
While al-Sadr stands opposed to the former Ba'athist regime, he has
built a relationship with the Sunni opposition on the common ground of
opposition to the occupation and to the ongoing political process in
Iraq. Al-Sadr supporters have worked alongside Sunnis in Kirkuk to
reject Kurdish demands for a return of Kurds displaced from Kirkuk
under the Hussein regime, and against Kurdish attempts to  incorporate
Kirkuk into the Kurdish region.
            For al-Sadr, the alliance brings power vis-a-vis the other
Shi'ite groups, and facilitates his goal of becoming the strongest
Shi'ite  leader Iraq. Sources in Iraq have confirmed to RFE/RL the
existence of an alliance between al-Sadr and Sunnis in other areas of
the country. >>end of what little was good in the RFE/RL piece

Much of the RFE piece is predicatably pure garbage. It tries to make
Sadr look like both a pawn of the Sunni Resistance (linking him to
Ansar al-Islam--a militant Sunni resistance group that is of Kurdish
origins--and Ansar al-Sunna, as if the Sunni Resistance was not
something much, much broader) while also depicting him, paradoxically
enough, as a pawn of Iran. He is neither. He is the charismatic face
of the Shia side of THE RESISTANCE. Which is why he has to be
discredited if he can't be ignored. When --or if-- you see Sunni
Resistance holding demonstrations against the constitution, watch for
al-Sadr posters.  Shia-Sunni-One Islam-One Iraq. That is the only
actual Resistance to the US occupation, whether leftists like it or


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