[Marxism] Sadr backs US troops in Iraq
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
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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