Monday, December 25, 2006

Iran's Men in Iraq

The US, according to the New York Times, captured at least 4 Iranians, "including men the Bush administration called senior military officials, who were seized in a pair of raids late last week aimed at people suspected of conducting attacks on Iraqi security forces." One raid was on the Baghdad compound of Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, an Iraqi theologian and politician and the leader of SCIRI, the largest political party in the Iraqi Council of Representatives. Hakim traveled to Washington three weeks ago to meet President Bush. He declined to comment on the raids. Two of the Iranians were accredited diplomats there on invitation from the Iraqi government.


In one raid, which took place around 7 p.m. that day, American forces stopped an official Iranian Embassy car carrying the two Iranian diplomats, one or two Iranian guards and an Iraqi driver. Iraqi officials said that the diplomats had been praying at the Buratha mosque and that when it was stopped, the car was in the Allawi neighborhood, a few minutes from the Iranian Embassy to the west of the Tigris River.

All in the car were detained by the Americans. The mosque’s imam, Sheik Jalal al-deen al-Sageir, a member of Parliament from Mr. Hakim’s party, said the Iranians had come to pray during the last day of mourning for his mother, who recently died. He said that after the Iranians left, the Iranian Embassy phoned to say that they had not arrived as expected. “We were afraid they were kidnapped,” Sheik Sageir said.

They were subsequently released to Iraqi authorities, then to the Iranian embassy. The nondiplomats, who may have been seized in another raid, possibly the one on Hakim's compound, remain in American custody. The New York Times says, " A Bush administration official said the Iranian military officials held in custody were suspected of being members of the Quds force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. It has been involved in training members of Hezbollah and other groups that the Americans regard as terrorist organizations."

In other news, one thousand British soldiers raided a Basra police station's serious crimes unit, releasing hundreds of prisoners. The serious crimes unit is suspected by the British of being a murder organization aimed at liquidating unnamed enemies. According to the BBC:

Soldiers from 19 Light Brigade supported by Iraqi forces surrounded the police station before the Royal Engineers used a combat tractor to breach the walls. Then, warrior vehicles from Staffordshire Regiments entered the compound and troops stormed the buildings. A Ministry of Defence spokesman said 1,000 troops were involved and hundreds of seized files and computers have been taken as evidence.

An Iraqi security official said: "The interior minister decided to cancel the serious crimes unit in Basra city and replace it with a new one based inside the headquarters of Basra police. "The decision was made two days ago on the grounds of security violations by the serious crimes unit." The Christmas Day raid on the police station took place at about 0200 local time (2300 GMT) and was a "very significant move" according to Maj Burbridge.

Commentary

The New York Times article attempts to portray the American raids as a faux pas, coming at a time when Iraq and the US are trying to "engage" Iraq. But the unconvincing outrage of key Iraqi officials, the obvious nature of the targets -- a prominent compound, a diplomatic vehicle and a police station -- and the simultaneity of the raids by British and American forces, leave little doubt that the raids are all deliberate. This does not necessarily mean that America has decided to confront Iran instead of talk. But it does suggest that America has decided to pressure Iran in addition to talking.

25 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wretchard quoted, "A Bush administration official said the Iranian military officials held in custody were suspected of being members of the Quds force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. It has been involved in training members of Hezbollah and other groups that the Americans regard as terrorist organizations."

Back when we actually fought wars instead of doing nation-building operations, if two non-uniformed members of the Waffen-SS were found wandering around in Kent training Irishmen to sabotage the pre-Normandy invasion build-up they would have been summarily shot. But no, these two guys will be released in Iran by Condi to prove our good faith for future negotiations.

12/25/2006 03:56:00 PM  
Blogger 3Case said...

I want to know the reason we don't parade them around like the show-pigs they are. Then WC can shoot them.

...and...surprise, surprise...they were found in a Sadrite compound.

12/25/2006 04:09:00 PM  
Blogger al fin said...

The traditional way of doing war is if you catch a country aiding your enemies, you make war on that country, and so on until you've cleaned the rats' nests. The middle east has become one big rats' nest over the past 27 years, since Jimmy Carter welcomed Ayatollah Khomeini into power.

12/25/2006 04:15:00 PM  
Blogger Lord Acton said...

What are the odds that these men and some of the documents/info captured with them make it into Bush's upcoming speech to the nation? Gulf of Tonkin anyone?

12/25/2006 04:17:00 PM  
Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

the games are begining..

pass the popcorn it's going to be a fun ride....

12/25/2006 05:14:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

My guess is that this is "talk and fight", which is probably an improvement over just "talk and talk". It's also possible that the Basra police station was a base for Iranian operations whose files are now in coalition possession.

The Quds people will be pumped for intel until the ACLU people file on their behalf.

12/25/2006 05:15:00 PM  
Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

Why we are failing in Iraq and in the war against Islamic fundamentalism

12/25/2006 05:47:00 PM  
Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

I am just sick sitting here waiting to see another blow fall upon the United States so that our political class can find some backbone. No doubt that blow will fall upon NYC and my sister. At that point this won't be merely a matter for discussion for me.

12/25/2006 05:49:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

...political class can find some backbone

Be interesting to see if the Democrats currently "in power" actually remain in power, or become assassinated themselves so that some sort of George Patton person who promises something more than jaw-jaw can step up to the plate. I predict after any future atrocities the "political class" will shut up, step back and allow Dubya to do whatever he wants to do.

I haven't figured out yet if Dubya or the Pentagon's generals are the more blood-thirsty, but at that point, we'll be rotating through generals until we find one who *IS* blood-thirsty.

Can't you just imagine the caterwauling that will come from the United Nations and the French about the need for multilateral dialogue? That is, if we give them time to breath in order to caterwaul.

If the world thought we were pissed off after 9/11, *that* was an infuriated blood rage. Next time will be a cold as ice, calculating rage. Wouldn't want to be them.

12/25/2006 06:11:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Sen Chris Dodd made a big speech over the weekend calling for immediate withdrawal. Well, maybe he didn't say "immediate" plainly, but his meaning was clear.

Simultaneously about, Sen Kerry said more or less the same thing in a WaPo article.

A separate reality.

12/25/2006 06:30:00 PM  
Blogger warhorse said...

Hey, Pierre, if you want something to feel *really* sick about, try thinking about what a modern Western nation is physically capable of if they get provoked badly enough to take the gloves all the way off. *Any* of them could go into the middle east and make the Nazis look like a footnote, and there's nothing the locals could do to stop it. Then think about how the antiwar crowd are going to behave when something finally makes them see the error of their ways. Restraint is not going to be high on the agenda ... :-(

12/25/2006 07:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Us Beta Bloggers don't have trashcans anymore:
My other link for this thread is mistakenly stuck in the
Karaoke Thread Sorry
---
They Toil to keep us safe.

...in which top F.B.I. officials drew blanks when asked basic questions about Islam. One of the bemused officials was Gary Bald, then the bureau’s counterterrorism chief. Such expertise, Mr. Bald maintained, wasn’t as important as being a good manager.

A few months later, I asked the F.B.I.’s spokesman, John Miller, about Mr. Bald’s comments. “A leader needs to drive the organization forward,” Mr. Miller told me. “If he is the executive in a counterterrorism operation in the post-9/11 world, he does not need to memorize the collected statements of Osama bin Laden, or be able to read Urdu to be effective. ... Playing ‘Islamic Trivial Pursuit’ was a cheap shot for the lawyers and a cheaper shot for the journalist. It’s just a gimmick.”
---
Representative Jo Ann Davis, a Virginia Republican who heads a House intelligence subcommittee charged with overseeing the C.I.A.’s performance in recruiting Islamic spies and analyzing information, was similarly dumbfounded when I asked her if she knew the difference between Sunnis and Shiites.
“Do I?”
she asked me.
A look of concentration came over her face. “You know, I should.” She took a stab at it: “It’s a difference in their fundamental religious beliefs. The Sunni are more radical than the Shia. Or vice versa. But I think it’s the Sunnis who’re more radical than the Shia.”

12/25/2006 09:35:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

3case:

Er, excuse me, but Mr. Hakim is an archrival of Moqtada as-Sadr. The House of Hakim and the House of Sadr have a strong rivalry within Shi'ite Islamist ranks that sometimes becomes violent.

Iran is supporting more than one faction. Supporting several violent factions whose only common similarity is their dependency upon a foreign power is a highly effective means to keep Iran from suffering the same fate the Soviet Union did when Yugoslavia's Communist Party seceded from Stalin's grasp.

As much as the Sadr faction has been guilty of many crimes in the past few years, I suspect Moqtada as-Sadr is in the process of getting set up as the fall guy for the crimes of all Shi'ite factions. I doubt the Sadrists are alone in committing atrocities...

12/25/2006 11:57:00 PM  
Blogger 3Case said...

Sorry, Alexis, Shoulda read Badrite compound.

12/26/2006 08:11:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Well, sure they are Iranian agents, but 2 were invited in with full diplomatic immunity by the "noble purple-fingered" freedom-lovers Bush and the Neocons said were capable of running "a democracy that will be a beacon to the rest of the Arab world". The other two will be arrested and interrogated, but given we have US troops in close contact with Iran along a 3,000 mile poorly defined land and nautical border, we won't do any more to those other 2. Iran caught and released 7 British special ops sorts who accidentally entered Iranian space a few years ago.

It would be better if the US called the shots on Iranians entering the combat zone, not Bush's beloved "noble purple-fingered democracy leaders".

Just as the Sunni judges in Baghdad and the Triangle the Bush people put in back in the "robe business" practice "catch and release" of killers of our troops.

Hard to take this sort of shit or CHurchillian rhetoric "this is the defining struggle of our times" (for those Americans lacking economic opportunities outside the military) talk, seriously.
*************************
Pierre - Just remember your part. Shop. Travel. Enjoy your tax cuts if you are in a socioeconomic strata that gets huge tax cuts vs. having to join the military. Do something nice for a neighbor.

If NYC does get hit, just remember this is the City that hosts the NYTimes, the ACLU's largest office, the largest Far Left NGOs, the anti-American intelligensia. As well as overseas Zionist activities, and globalization forces.
If they do get hit, hopefully some of radical Islam's enablers get hit, too, and are reminded that this is more than a task of banning smoking, trans fatty acids, enjoying huge tax cuts, and shopping more often.


********************************
Doug - This is an FBI that did not even issue a reprimand, let alone demote or fire anyone for 9/11 lapses. Why should they learn anything about Jihadis? What is the incentive? Their culture does not value such knowledge and is even suspicious of those FBI agents that "deviate" in becoming knowledgable. They are no DST or MI-5. They are set up to CYA above all, and work with deals with liberal lawyers over criminals - not enemy operatives.
It was visiting FBI agents that were "shocked and horrified" and leaking to Congress and the press about Gitmo denying hot meals to terrorists or "making uncooperative ones 'shiver' in cool cells".

12/26/2006 09:21:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> if two non-uniformed members of the Waffen-SS were found wandering around in Kent training Irishmen to sabotage the pre-Normandy invasion build-up they would have been summarily shot.

During world war II, we didn't shoot Soviet facists, but instead called them "allies". We shipped them weapons to fight the Nazi facists, weapons that we desperately needed for our own defense.

Because that's the way the real world works, lots of facists all over, lots of bad guys, and sometimes it's better to fight them one or two groups at a time.

All the Shiite groups in Iraq have some ties to Iran, while the Sunni groups have ties to Al Qaeda. There are no good guys.

Sorry, but this seems to me a big deal about nothing. The only important thing is that the Bush administration chose to publicize it, something everyone already knew. The message seems to be that they are really an Shiite government, not an Iraqi government.

Bush could also be reacting to Sistani and the Shiites apparent rejection of forming a coalition government of moderate Shiite / Sunni / Kurd Iraqi groups.

12/26/2006 02:34:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

And there is a lot of discussion that just as we sided with the Soviets in World War II, we might soon take sides in Iraq, becoming allies with the Shiites and Kurds. Supposedly vice president Dick Cheney talks about this "80% solution" a lot, joining with groups that make up 80% of Iraq.

There are lots of arguments for this approach. One of the main ones is that the Sunnis have been the main insurgents since the beginning, while the Shiites and Kurds supported the central government. So having the US join forces with the Shiites & Kurds to suppress the Sunni insurgency seems like the most direct approach to stabilizing Iraq. This would also focus on wiping out Al Qaeda in Iraq, which is allied with the Sunnis, as well as preventing one of Saddam's Sunni cousins from taking over Iraq, something that would be seen as a massive loss to the US, as well as a big security risk. The Iraqis Sunnis have also killed more Americans than any other group in Iraq, so this would be both a defensive maneuver and pay back.

Of course there are no easy answers since the Shiite government we would be supporting is currently doing Hitler-like ethnic cleansing in Baghdad, eliminating all Iraqis who are not of the "master race", I mean "preferred Muslim group" And as pointed out, they have ties to Iraq and various Shiite terror groups. The Brits have also pointed out some nasty Shiite corruption down South, blowing up the police station because they were corrupted beyond redemption.

12/26/2006 02:58:00 PM  
Blogger Utopia Parkway said...

One can blame Bush, Rumsfeld, and Abizaid for not doing this two years ago. Rumsfeld was talking then about IEDs being made in Iran. Why weren't they catching Iranian agents in Iraq then and parading them on TV and putting them in jail and threatening Iran?

Another thing Bush isn't doing is very openly supporting dissidents in Iran. What's he waiting for?

12/26/2006 05:38:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

"It's also possible that the Basra police station was a base for Iranian operations whose files are now in coalition possession." - Wretchard

Yes, that's a real possibility. I think it time for a little water boarding of said Iranian spies. Let's see what information comes out of them.

12/27/2006 03:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Waaaaa freaking waaaa:

"Iran is experiencing a staggering decline in revenue from its oil exports and, if the trend continues, income could virtually disappear by 2015..."

12/27/2006 01:29:00 PM  
Blogger Clausewitz100 said...

Subject: Perspectives on ISG report and Iraq

Received several interesting emails in recent weeks...........thought I
would share some of the more thoughtful ones.

IRAQ IMPRESSIONS FROM A SOLDIER ON THE GROUND:
A lot of you have asked for my current assessment, this is it. I'm not
an expert and I admit that I often miss the "big picture". My
Brigadier, a Brit, often reminds me of that, as does one of the local
State Department weinies, an oxygen thief of the highest magnitude. I
remind the Brigadier that the "troubles" in Ireland were only going to
take a year to solve, weren't they? I'm not a "big picture" guy, I'm a
"sight picture" guy, so my apologies to you deep thinkers. Me I prefer
the "Bull" Halsey form of mission statement. When he was asked by the
press in 1944 what his mission was, he replied, "Kill Japs, kill Japs
and kill more Japs.". If only we had that kind of clarity today.

As the Counter-Terrorism Advisor to the National Command Center, I see
and hear it all from the Iraqi side. I help them with targeting,
planning and execution, which, by the way, since the Ministry of
Interior is vastly Shia in all levels of leadership, involves only Sunni
targets (go figure). The Ministry of Defense, which is vastly Sunni,
targets who? Anyone want to venture a guess? Of course, Shia targets.
So is there a reasonable thinker out there who believes that when we
leave, which will now be sooner than later, this will automatically stop
and these two organizations will suddenly join hands, work together and
go after the "terrorists"? My terp and I overheard a conversation
yesterday where the Iraqi Generals that work in my building and who had
just been watching Al Jazeera and receiving the "truth" of the
Armstrong/Baker Report were saying, happily, that we, the US, would be
leaving soon and they could now solve their "problem" the "Iraqi"
way. With these Shia Generals, who are Al Sadr worshippers, anybody
want to take a guess as to what their "problem" is, or what the "Iraqi"
way entails?

Anyway, here's the assessment.

This place; big picture - hopeless. Wrong plan, wrong place. 2003-2004
was done so wrong that we can't recover. The Iraqi leadership doesn't
really want us here, they just want our money and equipment and they
want us to get out of their way so they can accomplish their own
personal agendas.
Everything is about positioning themselves for when we leave. And they
know we're leaving, every invader/occupier always has and this current
one isn't shy about stating it in the press. Corruption is an art form
here and we just keep playing into it.

In our collective arrogance, and our administration is pretty arrogant
about projecting our democracy throughout the world, we thought that
we'd be able to hand these folks the big "binder" on democracy, they'd
thank us and immediately transition to it. Don't worry about 6K years
of culture and history, surely they're smart enough to see that the 250+
year history of success in the U.S. trumps theirs. Surely the majority
Shias, who had been repressed and murdered for 40 years by the minority
Sunni Baathists, were big enough to overlook that short period of
history. After all, everybody was killing everybody for the previous
5600 years, what's a mere 40 years?
I guess we thought that the 5600 years of history had grown out of them
during the Saddam era when he was killing people just out of suspicion
or for the sake of killing. His two sons, evil murderous barbarians
that they were, lived near here where I am and the stories from the
locals abound with horror. However, I digress.

The Bremer plan sealed our fate, particularly when we decided that
anybody who had held a position of leadership in the "former regime" was
tainted and, therefore, ineligible for anything other than unemployment.
We also assumed that just because the majority of the populace had been
suppressed, didn't mean they didn't have potential governmental skills.
Wrong. They were sufficiently skilled enough to become government
street sweepers. The one thing they were ready for was black markets,
stealing, corruption and militias. They all belonged to militias.
Mahdi, Muhammed, Badr, Peshmerga, everyone belonged. If they didn't
belong they died. Security in neighborhoods was accomplished my
militias, not by police. Police were nonexistent during Saddam's time.

The successful model for here is the Marshall plan, essentially Germany
after WWII. By the way, that's what the Iraqi wanted. Every
invader/conqueror/occupier in the Iraq's history provided for the
people.
Iraq was never without a "foreign" power in control until after WWII.
Iraq has always been provided for by their occupiers. I can't even
begin to express how many Iraqis have said that we need to fully play
the role of the "big dog". According to them, we should kill more
often, we should break the will of the militias, we should force the
people to accept our leadership. We are trying to do the exact opposite
and it's a recipe for failure that has been well cooked. We should have
come in, taken power, established our own government and stood an Iraqi
counterpart next to us for
5 years (it was 10 in Europe post-WW-II). We should have taken command
of their armies and police forces, instead of trying to be the
half-hearted and unable advisors that we've been. We should have forced
the Sate Department to play ball with DOD, instead of allowing them to
create an internally subversive system behind the scenes (if you don't
believe that State Department types hate military types, you just have
to attend a few meetings here). We should have employed lots more
Special Forces and SF type leaders to destroy the militias, in the
surgical manner that SF is capable of. We should have, we should have,
we should have...

Anyway, any place that can use Black and Decker drills with practiced
skill to torture people over nothing more than their branch of the
religion, and then finish them off with a shot in the back of the head,
is a long ways froom democracy. Any place where 15-20 people die
whenever Iraq wins a soccer game, due to the falling bullets from
massive volumes of celebratory gunfire, and yet they continue to do it
anyway, has little hope. Anyplace where the general populace cheers and
dances in the streets when the news shows a Palestinian suicide bomber
killing innocent Jewish women and children, has little hope. Anyplace
where the police force acts as the kidnapping and execution arm of the
militias and no one, not even the Prime Minister will do anything,
anything, about it, has little hope.

We just need to figure out an exit strategy that will keep casualties to
a minimum and get out, quickly. Then in 5-10 years, we'll be back to
try to break the back of the extremist Muslim regime that has been
committing genocide on other Muslims and has enabled/empowered terrorism
against Jews, Christians and America. Maybe we'll get it right on the
return trip.

FROM A RETIRED CASE OFFICER on ISG Report:

I don't know whether there is a classified version of this report, but
the two pages on intelligence are, imo, astounding in their
superficiality.

They focus only on cultural/linguistic preparation, and analytic
expertise developed over time, recommendations that affect every
intelligence problem the u.s. faces or has ever faced. They fail to
address the larger organizational and conceptional issues involving
espionage, counterespionage, and clandestine operations in a war theater
and teamwork between dod and cia elements.

The humint "portion" of the report, a sentence, is egregious in this
regard.
What does the phrase "humint has improved from 10 to 30 %"
mean? "humint", given my background, has to start and end with
privileged and valuable secret intelligence acquired by human sources
working inside the insurgency and its various elements, supplemented by
the softer forms of humint, such as information from LE, detainee
interrogations, and liaison.

The report totally overlooks the absence of hard humint and fails to
even attempt to identify the causes for this lack secret intelligence.

FROM A SOLDIER COMING HOME from IRAQ:
>This was the easiest deployment in some ways. This was the hardest in
>some ways.
>
> Safest tactically, best food, best place to run, great weather, best

>living quarters, great email connectivity, a short straight-forward
>simple mission. No weird quirks or nuances. Just be a doc. No higher
>HQ next door bugging us. Sensible competent commander. Unit is low key,

>professional, good morale.
> Easy.
>
> Hard to stay motivated when you know you are losing.
> Hard to stay motivated when you sense American influence has passed
>high-tide in the Mideast and is waning.
> Hard to stay motivated when you know the American public lacks the
>gumption to fight to win.
> Hard to stay sharp when no imminent danger.
> Hard to stay sharp in a support unit.
> No excitement, no newness, no new life experiences.
> Hard.
>
> In conclusion, I observed a phenomena within myself. Over these four

>combat deployments and 15 years, I have gone from respecting Arab
>culture and Islam to despising them. From curiosity, respect, and
>interest to overt contempt. Perhaps akin to the soldiers who came home
>from the bitter Asian wars (Japan, Korea, and Vietnam) hating the
>"Japs" , the "Chinks", the "Gooks", till the day they died, long after
the conflict had passed.
> Left to myself..........I would crush Syria, Iran, Pakistan; all our

>enemies. Utterly destroy their infrastructure and governments. I feel
>no impulse to re-order Iraq, no wish at all to negotiate, nor to
>rebuild anything; just to kill our enemies.
>
> But, typical of America in the last thirty years, we straddle the
>fence, mouthing moral platitudes......while our enemies wax stronger
>every day and plot our demise.
>
> Looking forward..........life looks really good.
> Home, work, family, friends; all those things are awaiting me.
> I did my job to the best of my ability.
> In the court of my own conscience, I fulfilled my duty.
> No regrets. No guilt. No pangs of "if only I had....".
> I still like the guy I see in the mirror.
> I might have lost that if I did not take this mission.
>
> Another one in the bank. Hope it is the last. Time will tell.

12/27/2006 02:49:00 PM  
Blogger John Samford said...

Waterboard them. Let them earn their 'silver surfer' pins by giving up a smuggling route or three.

12/27/2006 04:09:00 PM  
Blogger John Samford said...

"What are the odds that these men and some of the documents/info captured with them make it into Bush's upcoming speech to the nation? Gulf of Tonkin anyone?"

They certainly need to be there. It's a President's job to point out we are at war and who our enemies are.

12/27/2006 04:13:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

Speaking of Iran, this was posted at http://corner.nationalreview.com

FROM IRAQ: A MARINE’S NOTES [Cliff May]

The IED: The biggest killer of all. Can be anything from old Soviet anti-armor mines to jury rigged artillery shells. … Most were detonated by cell phone, and the explosions are enormous. You're not safe in any vehicle, even an M1 tank. Driving is by far the most dangerous thing our guys do over there. Lately, they are much more sophisticated "shape charges" (Iranian) specifically designed to penetrate armor. Fact: Most of the ready made IED's are supplied by Iran, who is also providing terrorists (Hezbollah types) to train the insurgents in their use and tactics. That's why the attacks have been so deadly lately. Their concealment methods are ingenious, the latest being shape charges, in Styrofoam containers spray painted to look like the cinderblocks that litter all Iraqi roads. We find about 40% before they detonate, and the bomb disposal guys are unsung heroes of this war.

12/28/2006 07:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

clausewitz100, good post. Even if I don't exactly agree with all of the emails there, there are a few salient points to take note.

wu wei, speaking of IEDs, here's a closer look at it.

Perhaps Bush is finally beginning to see that speaking to Iran without force to back it up is ineffectual, and to detain the Iranians despite protests from the Iraqi government - which has been extraordinarily quiescent with foreign agents of dubious, even insidious, intent - represents a slight shift in the approach towards dealing with Iran.

The lack of further measures or rhetoric from the Iraqi government suggests that Sistani and al-Sadr are only all too happy to see al-Hakim and the Iranians humiliated; after all, Sistani wants to preserve Shiite unity, and his reluctance to back the anything-but-Sadr coalition seems to show that he is willing to acquiesce with the Sadrists if it would ensure our withdrawal. Not to mention that al-Sadr desires for the Badrists to be sidelined, since he views them as a threat to Iraqi sovereignty.

12/28/2006 08:41:00 PM  

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