[Marxism] WSJ op-ed: let Iraqis vote on withdrawal

g.maclennan at qut.edu.au g.maclennan at qut.edu.au
Fri Dec 1 12:52:36 MST 2006

Hi Marvin,

You may well be right. Yet I am not so sure about the trajectory of the Sadrists. Nir Rosen's analysis, and it is his work that I have been going on, seems to suggest that now al-Sadr is determined to drive the Sunni out of Baghdad and that the moment of unity between the Shia and the Sunni is gone.

I hope he is wrong.  

Moreover from the stuff coming out of Jordan summit between Bush and al-Maliki, as reported by Juan Cole, it would appear that the Americans still believe that they can have another crack at the Sadrists but this time with the open support of Shia forces. Presumably that means that SCIRI or the al-Hakim clan and the circles around Sistani will join in an atack on the Sadrists.

I cannot see it myself. It is true though that in the first American assault on the Sadrists,  Sistani held the ring (from his hospital bed in London) and the well heeled elements of the Shia quietly supported the American attempt to kill al-Sadr.  There does, as well, appear to be fairly open conflict between SCIRI and the Sadrists around Basra at present.  

However I do not think Bush can direct events in Iraq any longer.  SCIRI is pro-Iranian and although al-Sadr has made anti-Iranian noises it is not in the interest of Iran for an open war to break out among the Shia. So I doubt if the Iranians will allow an open war between the Shia. That means that  Bush will not get an attack on al-Sadr led by al-Maliki etc.

So to sum up:  Events in Iraq are far from clear (to me at least).  Despite the terrible sectarianism on the ground a strong anti-American movement among the Shia might produce some kind of unity with the Sunni resistance. As well the attack on the Sadrists by SCIRI etc that the Americans hope for is unlikely to eventuate. But the very suggestion of it will be enough to destroy al-Maliki IMHO.

As always though we shall see.



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