[Marxism] Sadr backs US troops in Iraq

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Jul 15 13:32:00 MDT 2011


Counterpunch July 15 - 17, 2011
The Shia Leader's Ambiguous Position on US Troops in Iraq
Sadr's Game

By GARETH PORTER

The big question looming over U.S.-Iraqi negotiations on a U.S. 
military presence after 2011 is what game Shi'a leader Moqtada 
al-Sadr is playing on the issue.

U.S. officials regard Sadr as still resisting the U.S. military 
presence illegally and are demanding that Sadr call off his 
Promised Day Brigades completely.

But Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's main point of contact with 
Sadr says Sadr is playing a double game and does not intend to 
obstruct the negotiations on a deal for the stationing of 10,000 
or more U.S. troops from 2012 onward.

Sadr made a crucial move over the weekend toward accepting such an 
agreement between the Barack Obama administration and the Maliki 
government, according to a senior Iraqi intelligence official in 
the International Liaison Office (ILO). The ILO is an arm of Iraqi 
military intelligence that is run by a former East German 
intelligence official who was Sadr's political adviser during the 
height of the U.S. war against the Sadrists in 2007-08.

Sadr agreed in an unpublicised direct exchange of views with 
Maliki that he would not exploit a request by Maliki to President 
Obama to station U.S. troops in Iraq beyond this year by attacking 
Maliki politically or threatening his government, the senior Iraqi 
intelligence official told IPS.

The popular Shi'a leader has maintained a longstanding threat to 
withdraw support from the government over the U.S. military 
presence. But when questioned directly by Maliki about his 
intentions, Sadr agreed that there would be no repeat of his 2006 
withdrawal of Sadrist ministers from Maliki's first government 
over that issue, according to an account of the exchange provided 
by the Iraqi intelligence official.

"Maliki called Sadr's bluff," he said.

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