Thursday, March 27, 2008

Friend or foe?

CNN's analysis of events in Iraq are wonderful example of how to patch up a theory that is rapidly falling to pieces. The theory of course, is that Iran is a poor, misunderstood victim of US aggression in a third country. The facts however, are that Iran is supporting the Madhi Army in Iraq. How to square the circle? Easy. Just read Michael Ware.

"Al-Sadr is involved in a very complicated relationship with the Iranians," said CNN Baghdad correspondent Michael Ware. "The Iranians do provide funding and support for his militia, yet at the same time they're trying to rein him in and get him to adopt a certain political agenda, which from time to time he resists."

Ware said Iran wants to use al-Sadr's populist base to advance its agenda in Iraq. "However, they don't want to see him get too big for his boots or to rise to a position where they can no longer have sway over him."

Iran has weakened al-Sadr by encouraging dissension within his Mehdi Army and backing hardliners -- known as the Special Groups -- who break away and keep up the fight against the U.S. occupation, Ware said.

According to this theory, Iran is supporting Moqtada al-Sadr in order to rein him in. If the US would only leave Iran alone then all would be well. But unfortunately Americans are too stupid to understand that people who are firing EFPs, mortars and rockets are you are not your enemy. By acting against Sadr, America has created the real enemy.

"Iran's very good at putting pressure on you, forcing you to split, and anything that squeezes out the side, Iran picks up and turns into hardline factions," Ware said. "That's exactly what's happened to Muqtada. He's had purge after purge after purge of belligerent commanders, and they've all been swept up by Iran.

"And now the most lethal attacks on U.S. forces, the most coordinated attacks on U.S. forces, the most daring attacks on U.S. forces in the country are committed by Iranian-backed breakaway elements of Muqtada's militia faction."

But if Iran were determined to advance peace by restraining Sadr why would "the most daring attacks on U.S. forces in the country" be "committed by Iranian-backed breakaway elements of Muqtada's militia faction"? If these are two dogs with the same master how can the master be benign in the one case and malign on the other? Inquiring minds want to know.

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Blogger Peter Grynch said...

The Iranian strategy has always remained the same: bleed America but don't let Iraq fall into anarchy. There long-term goal is to become the regional superpower and force America to exit the region.

3/27/2008 03:00:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

Michael Ware buys access to the nutjobs by reporting them favorably. The pattern has been evident since I've been aware of Ware's existence. The other possibility is that he's an idiot.

3/27/2008 03:05:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

I don't think Ware is dumb. He's just being consistent. And there's no way to explain the current turn of events within his frame of reference.

But let me try an alternative explanation without Ware's frame of reference. Iran has supported Sadr as one of its proxies in Iraq. The Iraqi state has now developed to the point where it can protect its turf. There can't be two masters in Iraq, two top dogs in Iraq.

Since most Iraqi presidents eventually want to exercise real power rather than take orders from Teheran a showdown was inevitable.

That showdown is here. In fact, Maliki and the US have been preparing for it for a long time. Mending fences with the Sunnis. Building up the Iraqi Army. Gathering intelligence. Sadr knew this, and to protect his hide he hied off to Qom, where he is ostensibly studying theology.

Question: can Maliki win at all or has he seriously miscalculated, in which case Sadr wins this one. Question: will Maliki smash Sadr completely or having beaten Sadr down enough will Maliki then make him an offer he can't refuse? Question: how will Iran respond to seeing their boys kicked around?

See what you can do if you are free of poor Mr. Ware's mental strictures? I understand he's a very brave and tough man. But in this case I think he's looking at the telescope from the wrong end.

3/27/2008 03:35:00 PM  
Blogger hdgreene said...

I think Iran planned the Civil War for the August-October time frame (to influence the US elections and disrupt the Iraqi elections planned for later in the fall). They wanted terror attacks in April to "commemorate" the fifth anniversary of the invasion, but not burn up their forces in a prolonged conflict. But the Iraqis decided to give them their civil war five months early.

Does Iran attempt to conserve their resources for later or throw them into the fight now? It could be "use them or loose them" time.

3/27/2008 04:06:00 PM  
Blogger RattlerGator said...

It could also be that our supposedly infamous "cowboy," George W. Bush, is about to get his greatest latitude as he exits the Presidency.

Look out, Iran; Big Daddy may have a parting gift ready for delivery. And Mookie's group, hopefully, is getting the first taste.

3/27/2008 05:09:00 PM  
Blogger Elijah said...

66 pounds

3/27/2008 05:44:00 PM  
Blogger El Baboso said...

I sometimes wonder if people like Ware, having worked their whole lives in hierarchical Western organizations, cannot even visualize a system in which multiple factions are played off against one another by a puppetmaster. Or where multiple factions in Iraq represent the conflicting goals of multiple factions in a feudal Iran. Or where governments just plain lie about their true objectives. Maybe I'm being too charitable, but I do know people like that in my own life and many are acting in good faith.

3/27/2008 07:01:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

CNN reports that the uranium was actually depleted uranium, with the fissile component (U-235) removed. I don't think it's particularly dangerous (aside from potential heavy-metals poisoning), and is not suitable for a bomb.

The A-10 Thunderbolt (also known as the Warthog, the Flying Gun and the Tankbuster) was used extensively during Operation Desert Storm, in support of NATO operations in response to the Kosovo crisis, in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

It's primary armament consists of a gatling gun firing depleted uranium 0.43kg API rounds.

The magazine can hold 1,350 rounds of ammunition. The pilot can select a firing rate of 2,100 or 4,200 rounds per minute.

It would be funny to think that terrorists are combing the battlefield, picking up expended rounds, and selling them on the black market...

3/27/2008 07:05:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

Historical perspective:
The war between Iran and Iraq was one of the great human tragedies of recent Middle Eastern history. Perhaps as many as a million people died, many more were wounded, and millions were made refugees.

The war began on September 22, 1980, when Iraqi troops launched a full-scale invasion of Iran. Prior to this date there had been subversion by each country inside the other and also major border clashes. Iraq hoped for a lightning victory against an internationally isolated neighbor in the throes of revolutionary upheaval. But despite Iraq's initial successes, the Iranians rallied and, using their much larger population, were able by mid-1982 to push the invaders out.

In June 1982, the Iranians went over to the offensive, but Iraq, with a significant advantage in heavy weaponry, was able to prevent a decisive Iranian breakthrough. The guns finally fell silent on August 20, 1988.

France became the major source of Iraq's high-tech weaponry, in no small part to protect its financial stake in that country. The Soviet Union was Iraq's largest weapon's supplier, while jockeying for influence in both capitals. Israel provided arms to Iran, hoping to bleed the combatants by prolonging the war. And at least ten nations sold arms to both of the warring sides.

U.S. policy with respect to Iran was more complicated, because it followed two tracks at once. On the one hand, U.S. officials saw "a great potential" for a covert program to undermine the government in Teheran;<58> on the other hand, Washington tried to build ties to that same government.

U.S. actions in pursuit of the first track showed quite clearly that Washington's opposition to the Khomeini regime had nothing to do with its lack of democracy, for the groups that the U.S. backed against Khomeini were often supporters of the previous dictator, the Shah.

Starting in 1982 the CIA provided $100,000 a month to a group in Paris called the Front for the Liberation of Iran, headed by Ali Amini, who had presided over the reversion of Iranian oil to foreign control after the CIA-backed coup in 1953.<59> The U.S. also provided support to two Iranian paramilitary groups based in Turkey, one of them headed by General Bahram Aryana, the Shah's army chief, who had close ties to Shahpur Bakhtiar, the Shah's last prime minister.<60>

In 1980, under the Carter administration, the United States began clandestine radio broadcasts into Iran from Egypt, at a cost of some $20-30,000 per month. The broadcasts called for Khomeini's overthrow and urged support for Bakhtiar.<61> Other broadcasts contained anti-Soviet material.<62> In 1986, the CIA pirated Iran's national television network frequency to transmit an eleven minute address by the Shah's son over Iranian TV. "I will return," Reza Pahlavi vowed.<63>

Simultaneous with these activities, the U.S. pursued its second track: trying to establish ties with the Iranian mullahs based on the interest they shared with Washington in combating the left. The U.S. purpose, Reagan announced in November 1986, after the Iran-Contra scandal blew open, was "to find an avenue to get Iran back where it once was and that is in the family of democratic nations" -- a good trick, as Mansour Farhang has commented, since pre-1979 Iran was hardly democratic.<64>

According to the Tower Commission, "In 1983, the United States helped bring to the attention of Teheran the threat inherent in the extensive infiltration of the government by the communist Tudeh Party and Soviet or pro-Soviet cadres in the country. Using this information, the Khomeini government took measures, including mass executions, that virtually eliminated the pro-Soviet infrastructure in Iran."<65> These massacres elicited the expected level of concern from U.S. officials. "The leftists there seem to be getting their heads cut off," remarked an undersecretary of state from the Carter administration.<66> The U.S. also passed to the Iranians "real and deceptive intelligence" about the Soviet threat on Iran's borders.

Wheels within wheels. The Grand Game continues...

3/27/2008 07:20:00 PM  
Blogger Elijah said...

thanks for the information peter grynch

3/27/2008 07:50:00 PM  
Blogger Yuliya said...

How's this for a theory. Maliki tried to crack down and failed badly.

3/27/2008 08:03:00 PM  
Blogger Coyotl said...

Wretchard, you seem to forget three vital points here:

1. Sadr is far more of an Iraqi nationalist than Dawa and ISCI. In fact, Sadr used to deride his Shiite rivals as "Iranians" for their long gestation period in the safe womb of neighboring Persia while his folk and networks were suffering under Saddam's rule. SCIRI (now ISCI) and Dawa were trained and equipped by the Qods force, and Maliki even served as an Islamist ambassador to Syria for Dawa/Iran. Sadr only fled to Iran once the US forces started to apply the chokehold, up until that point he was not considered a natural ally of the Iranians.

2. Iran is also backing ISCI's Badr brigade and Dawa with logistics, training and intel. Somehow you neglected to mention that or factor it into Michael Ware's analysis, which might lend it more credibility. Do you really deny Iran's profund links with Maliki, Dawa and the affiliated Badr Brigade? I didn't think so, so why exclude it from your own rather frayed mental picture of Iraq?

3. This is all happening before a scheduled election. Is Maliki trying to do by the bullet what he couldn't accomplish by the ballot. Dawa has been corrupt and ineffectual and maybe Maliki didn't have enough faith in democracy to try to push the Sadrists out of parliament. This looks like it backfiring on him . . . for now.

There is another option worth considering and that is to acknowledge the many divisions within the Iranian state, even its intelligence apparatus and the Qods force. Iran is not a totalitarian state, but one with a certain degree of complex elite pluralism that is baffling to outsiders. It is possible that different elite elements in Iran are backing different horses in Iraq.

3/27/2008 08:42:00 PM  
Blogger buck smith said...

It is possible that different elite elements in Iran are backing different horses in Iraq.

The ones backing the horses that are shooting at US troops are gonna get a lot of Iranians killed. The US / Iraqi army can dominate anywhere in Iraq.

3/27/2008 09:31:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

Dear Peter Grynch,

I take serious exception to your characterization of the government of the Shah as a "dictatorship" as though that settles all questions. "The Shah was mean and horrible so that's why he had to go, and the reason Khomeini and the Islamic revolution was welcomed was because the Shah was so mean. He was a DICTATOR!!!!"

Certainly it was an authoritarian government, and yes the shah employed "secret police" called SAVAK against enemies of the administration.

But to imply MORAL EQUIVALENCE or even an approximate equivalence in the use of brutality or comparable levels of humane compassion in the two governments' dealings with their subjects, is grotesque.

In his four decades in power, the Reza Shah Palahvi may have used the Secret Police to execute some thousands of citizens. Some sources estimate fewer than a thousand victims, others estimate several thousand, most of whom died in the rioting associated with the return of Khomeini from exile. I'm not arguing that Savak were not brutal. But the record of Savak dwindles to triviality compared with that of the successor Islamic Government.

The Islamic Revolutionary Government has used the highly compassionate dictates of Shariat (Law based on the instructions of the Qur'an) to condemn and execute hundreds of Iranians EVERY YEAR since they came to power. Mind you this is for such crimes as adultery, fornications, homosexuality, dissent, subversive activities such as being a member of the Communists, union organizer, attempting to convert a Muslim to another religion, Apostasy from Islam, disobedience by daughters, et cetera.

That doesn't even include the thousands tortured or merely imprisoned for years at a stretch.

I have seen for three decades now the brutality and viciousness of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary government, which has sent teams of assassins into countries around the world to MURDER dissidents who had fled, members of the previous government, and, oh, Muslims who are citizens of other countries who dared to criticize them.

Remember when the British Author Salman Rushdie was placed under a sentence of DEATH for his book titled "The Satanic Verses?" That death sentence was issued by the Ayutollah Ruhollah Khomeini, then Supreme Head of the Government.

In other words, the present governors of Iran have made Iran into a police state in which their subjects are constantly monitored by "religious police" to impose stringent limits on public behavior and private, with extreme punishments for infractions. Maybe not so atrocious as the Taliban in its scourging of the Afghani public...

The Shah of Persia tried for decades to modernize Iran, making it legal for the first time since the imposition of Islamic culture about the time of the Death of Mohammed, for women to attend high schools and universities, and hold jobs. He made it legal for women to wear modern clothing. He set up a system making it possible for peasant farmers to purchase land with the assistance of the government, by-passing the earlier monopoly on land brokering exercised for centuries by the Imams.

No wonder the Islamic mullahs hated the Shah. It wasn't because he was brutal, fer Pete's Sake! It was because he was undermining their power to keep the Iranian public under their power!

Now that we've seen just how vicious and bloodthirsty the Islamic governments are, you'd think the liberals who cried for Carter to end U.S. support for the Shah might actually admit they'd got it wrong.

Fat Chance. Have you ever heard a Liberal admit that the "Domino Theory" turned out to be precisely true?

3/27/2008 10:38:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

This is so very very sad. The desperate need to further the ridiculous proposition that Iran is supporting Sadr against the Khomeinist Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council and the Khatamist Islamic Da’wa Party shows how intellectually bankrupt this whole Iraq venture is. Sadr is an Iraqi Nationalist who has been, among other things, trying making alliances with the Sunnis (Iraqi Accord Front and the Dialogue Front led by Saleh al-Mutlak). The idea that Iran would support him over their own handpicked puppets is just plain stupid. Who went to Iran, and fought on the Iranian side during the Iran-Iraq War? (Answer: SIIC (but of course they were then known as theSupreme Council for the Islamic revolution in Iraq) and Da’wa; Sadr stayed in Iraq) Who blew the US and French embassies in Kuwait in 1983 under orders from Khomeini? (Answer: Da’wa).

But to admit the truth that Iran is actually backing its own puppets (Da’wa and SIIC) in the fight against Sadr is to also admit the awful truth that Iraq is now an Iranian client state. Now if a President Obama had responded to a Saudi attack by handing Iraq to Iran then the very substantial critical reasoning abilities of the regular Belmont Club commenters (and host of course) would be employed in explaining just what a disaster Obama had created. But because many here are so ideologically commited to Bush, the lie that Iran is not supporting its own puppets and instead is supporting an Arab nationalist is the only way to avoid the awful reality that Bush has actually given Iraq to Iran on a silver platter.

3/27/2008 11:43:00 PM  
Blogger Whiskey said...

Kevin wants it both ways:

1. Iran is NOT arming people killing Americans and directly (with Quds Force) killing Americans -- Petraeus is a liar. Along with all the other commanders.

Iran is peaceful and loving.

2. Iran controls Iraq through SCIRI and Dawa and thus Maliki. They are evil and unstoppable. We gave Iraq to Iran and should resurrect a Saddam.

Iran is a massive threat.

Note the only intellectual consistency is: Saddam good, US bad, US allies bad.

SCIRI and Dawa are awful, but their interests align with ours not the least of which is not sharing a whole lot of the oil graft with Iran. Sadr on the other hand has run back to his masters in Tehran several times and relies on Quds Force as his enforcers. He's the Franco to Tehran's Hitler.

Ware is like Kevin. A fool made permanently foolish by the belief that the US can do no right, Iran can do no wrong. And that Iran is both peaceful and loving and interested in stability, and at the same time an unstoppable menace that GWB unleashed by getting rid of Ware's hero, Saddam.

I read that Ware wept on Saddam's execution. It would not surprise me. Many on the hate-America Left did.

3/28/2008 12:46:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...


Hey, Dude!
You're Lame!

Rice hits U.S. 'birth defect'
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said yesterday that the United States still has trouble dealing with race because of a national "birth defect" that denied black Americans the opportunities given to whites at the country's very founding.

3/28/2008 12:48:00 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

No Whiskey, it is you who want it both ways. I say that Iran is evil and that they are winning in Iraq thanks to their puppets Da’wa and SIIC.. You say the Iran is evil but that their long-term ideological terrorist puppets are just dandy. Get this, that Da’wa and SIIC are really on OUR side! I have never said that Iran has peaceful intentions; it is you who are saying that their puppets Da’wa and SIIC believe in democracy.

On many issues you show a keen intelligence, but in believing that Da’wa and SIIC are anything but Iranian stooges, what a fool you are Whiskey, what a fool.

You have bought these Islamist lies hook, line, and sinker. Do at least this much for me, google the word “Taqiyya”
And isn’t it strange that on March 2nd, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited Bahgdad and met with Nouri al-Maliki, the head of Da’wa and Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, the head of SIIC. What exactly do you think they talked about? What ever it was these were the comments afterwards:

"We had very good talks that were friendly and brotherly," Ahmadinejad said after meeting with Talabani, who greeted him with an honor guard and a band that played both countries' national anthems. "We have mutual understandings and views in all fields, and both sides plan to improve relations as much as possible."

After a meeting involving Ahmadinejad, al-Maliki and their advisers, the Iraqi prime minister said the visit was "an expression of the strong desire of enhancing relations and developing mutual interests after the past tension during the dictatorship era."

3/28/2008 01:32:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

U.S. Takes Lead in Iraq Offensive
U.S. forces in armored vehicles battle Mahdi Army fighters in Sadr City as offensive begins third day.
BAGHDAD, March 27 -- U.S. forces in armored vehicles battled Mahdi Army fighters Thursday in Sadr City, the vast Shiite stronghold in eastern Baghdad, as an offensive to quell party-backed militias entered its third day. Iraqi army and police units appeared to be largely holding to the outskirts of the area as American troops took the lead in the fighting.
As President Bush told an Ohio audience that Iraq was returning to "normalcy," administration officials in Washington held meetings to assess what appeared to be a rapidly deteriorating security situation in many parts of the country.

Maliki decided to launch the offensive without consulting his U.S. allies, according to administration officials. With little U.S. presence in the south, and British forces in Basra confined to an air base outside the city, one administration official said that "we can't quite decipher" what is going on. It's a question, he said, of "who's got the best conspiracy" theory about why Maliki decided to act now.

In Basra, three rival Shiite groups have been trying to position themselves, sometimes through force of arms, to dominate recently approved provincial elections.

The U.S. officials, who were not authorized to speak on the record, said that they believe Iran has provided assistance in the past to all three groups -- the Mahdi Army; the Badr Organization of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, Iraq's largest Shiite party; and forces loyal to the Fadhila Party, which holds the Basra governor's seat. But the officials see the current conflict as a purely internal Iraqi dispute.

Some officials have concluded that Maliki himself is firing "the first salvo in upcoming elections," the administration official said.

"His dog in that fight is that he is basically allied with the Badr Corps" against forces loyal to Sadr, the official said. "It's not a pretty picture."

3/28/2008 02:13:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wretchard. John Robb's analysis.

3/28/2008 04:01:00 AM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

Mad Fiddler,
You are confusing the excerpts I posted from a somewhat anti-American jewish author with my own views. His paper was extremely well researched, if you can strip out the "blame-America-first" bias.

The Shah was a dictator, but he was also the best hope for peace and progress in Iran. Jimmy Carter's support of Ayatollah Khomeini was the worst political miscalculation since Neville Chamberlein's handshake with Hitler.

3/28/2008 04:44:00 AM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

Do you really deny Iran's profund links with Maliki, Dawa and the affiliated Badr Brigade?

Maliki, like all the Shi'ites, has history. But at this juncture the single most undeniable fact which Ware cannot explain away is that Maliki is at war with Sadr. This means that Maliki is shooting at Sadr. It means that Maliki, so far as we can tell is fighting with Sadr.

And that means Maliki is fighting one Iranian proxy. The rest may come later.

3/28/2008 06:17:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"What struck me as the best commentary on the Bosnia story came from a poster called GI Joe who wrote in to a news blog:
"Actually Mrs. Clinton was too modest. I was there and saw it all.

When Mrs. Clinton got off the plane the tarmac came under mortar and machine gun fire. I was blown off my tank and exposed to enemy fire.
Mrs. Clinton without regard to her own safety dragged me to safety, jumped on the tank and opened fire, killing 50 of the enemy."

Soon a suicide bomber appeared, but Mrs. Clinton stopped the guards from opening fire. "She talked to the man in his own language and got him [to] surrender.

She found that he had suffered terribly as a result of policies of George Bush. She defused the bomb vest herself."
Then she turned to his wounds.
"She stopped my bleeding and saved my life.
Chelsea donated the blood."
- Noonan

3/28/2008 06:22:00 AM  
Blogger buck smith said...

Iran has been at war with the US for 30 years.

3/28/2008 06:28:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

The political dynamics in Basra are more complicated than Maliki v. Sadr. Basra is a very important economic center. The Brits were fairly hands-off and post-Saddam control of oil, transportation and port facilities was taken up by the most influential tribal leaders at the time who rewarded their cohorts with jobs and money.

I don't have the skinny on how the folks who are actually running the different parts of the local economy come down on the political side but you can bet that money is way ahead of ideological politics.

3/28/2008 06:34:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

"It's a question, he said, of "who's got the best conspiracy" theory about why Maliki decided to act now."

"This means that Maliki is shooting at Sadr. It means that Maliki, so far as we can tell is fighting with Sadr."

Maliki isn't fighting Sadr, that job is left to American soldiers who will be instructed from above to take hits and do nothing. The Iranians want the US busy in Iraq. Iran needs more time.

3/28/2008 07:24:00 AM  
Blogger David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 03/28/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the check back often.

3/28/2008 08:19:00 AM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

Sorry for the totally irrational Berserker attack on you, Peter Grynch.

After three decades since the gutless James Earl Carter abandoned the Persian nation to the Murdering Mullahs, and all the tumbling consequences in the Middle East that followed, it's too easy for me to react to "trigger phrases."

I'll ask my Anger Management Counselor to increase my drugs.

RIGHT After we kick the butts of the ENEMIES OF THE AMERICAN WAY OF LIFE!!!!!

(tee hee.)

3/28/2008 09:31:00 AM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

P.S. thanks for the guffaws, Doug.

3/28/2008 09:34:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Fiddler - I understand your pain. I was just wondering myself when Belmont got taken over by foaming-mouthed progressives waving their troother theories around like kamikazee's. Are Move-on and Kos too tame any more that they have to spread their jaundice elsewhere?

At least at Belmont you can see their name ahead of their post, get to know who espouses what and when, and then skip gaily ahead and ignore them.

3/28/2008 09:38:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

So yesterday Maliki was reported to be losing in a rout. Today the Americans are bombing from the sky. Does the fact that the big boys had to step in with their big toys mean that Maliki and the Iraqi army/police *are* losing?

Where are the rockets in Baghdad being fired into the Green Zone coming from? I thought there were no more terrorists in Baghdad, and that if there were they'd be turned in toot sweet by the locals.

3/28/2008 09:41:00 AM  
Blogger El Jefe Maximo said...

With all this media...we're effectively deaf, and blind as to what may actually he happening.

American aircraft in action over Basra, and the helicopters over Baghdad. . .this feels a little like what I've read of 1972 in the Vietnam conflict at least on our side. The enemy (then, NVN through the VC and NVA on the ground there, now Iran through the Sadr crowd) launches an offensive, but the local US ally (ARVN then, Iraqi military now) is about half-ready for prime time, still very dependant on US air and logistical support and advice.

The same lefty crowd here stateside in there kicking, ready to give the enemy politically what he can't win on the battlefield. We can win this one. But can we put off or avoid April 75 ?

3/28/2008 11:03:00 AM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3/28/2008 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

Possible explanation of How'z Cum they couldn't find the people lobbing rockets, Mortars, RPGs, or whatever...

Place: somewhere in Baghdad, near the "Green Zone"

Sayeed and Abd ul-Ghafoor trudge into a courtyard delineated on four sides by high stone walls, pocked with small arms and schrapnel scars. Each man carries an O-D green wooden case with stenciled military markings. In the background, sounds of the Iraqi market, voices, dogs barking, motor bikes and lorries sound their horns and rev their engines.

Sayeed: "Brother, Servant of the Forgiving, I say we set up the mortar here upon this pile of rocks."

Abd ul-Ghafoor: "Afendi Sayeed, I bow to your tactical wisdom. Let us lay down our burdens. Allahu Aqbar!"

Sayeed: "Allahu Aqbar!"

Together: "Allahu Aqbar! Allahu Aqbar! Allahu Aqbar! Allahu Aqbar! Allahu Aqbar! Allahu Aqbar! Allahu Aqbar! Allahu Aqbar! Allahu Aqbar! Allahu Aqbar! Allahu Aqbar! Allahu Aqbar! Allahu Aqbar! Allahu Aqbar! Allahu Aqbar! Allahu Aqbar! Allahu Aqbar! Allahu Aqbar!..." (actually an extended period goes on here in ritual chanting of this lovely phrase, which is not in fact a prolonged spasm of sneezing. In case the reader is unfamiliar with the custom, this phrase is commonly invoked to underscore the merciful qualities of the Great God Allah, in whose name an offending disbeliever or insufficiently obedient Muslim is about to be slaughtered, beheaded, shot, burned, dropped into heated sulfuric acid, electrocuted, pushed from the roof of a tall building, out the hatch of a high-altitude helicopter, shoved onto the tracks before a rushing train, stoned, flayed, hanged, or forcibly catheterized while watching old episodes of "As the World Turns."... To celebrate the Great Mercy of Allah the Merciful, as I may have mentioned...)

... (denoting the passage of several hours)

Sayeed: "Okay, the mortar is ready. Hand me one of those rounds, please."

Abd ul-Ghafoor: "Comin' Atcha..." He rummages in the case at his knees, brings forth a finned rocket, tosses it to Sayeed.

Sayeed catches the round and deftly drops it down the muzzle of the crudely-aimed mortar, which speaks with a sound like an aluminum bat thwacking a softball out of the park, followed by a whispering swhoosh.

Together: "Allahu Aqbar!"

Together, in an intricate and carefully rehearsed ballet of purpuseful movement, the two Warriors of Jihad rain exploding vengeance upon the Infidel for ten minutes. Then...

Sayeed: "Hit me again, brother!"

Abd ul-Ghafoor: "Hold a moment. This one as a bit of rust..." He polishes the fin with the sleeve of his Warrior Garment; tosses the mortar round to Sayeed.

Sayeed is un-ready. He snatches at the round, he has it, he fumbles, juggles...

and drops it.

Sayeed: "Whoops-a-Daisey."


When the smoke clears... A small courtyard is flecked with what appears to be bits of minced pork sausage, with some smoldering scraps of sheet metal among the rubble.

3/28/2008 11:34:00 AM  
Blogger Habu said...

"Al-Sadr is involved in a very complicated relationship with the Iranians," said CNN Baghdad correspondent Michael Ware.

This most heartily risible pronunciamento is not much good at conveying news the readership. After the billions of words written about the ME and the Islamic culture in particular over the last decade plus, is is not a revelation that Koranic sanctioned lying is a cultural imperative.
If according to the Quran,Koran, Cornpone, whatever a party can gain an advantage by lying , then by all means , lie your ass off. That this creates complicated relationships is , well, as I said risible.
Look what it's exposure has done for Hillary the's made things a wee bit more complicated.
I'm not suggesting the fairly godmother of truth preside over political meetings and wars (truth , the first casualty)but for any forward motion, always ephemeral in those arenas, a certain amount of candor must be included in the calculus. In the ME it is not, and I say unequivocally it will never be so.

Bomb Iran after the elections and do the full monty on them, including Qum.

3/28/2008 11:55:00 AM  
Blogger watimebeing said...

The Media leaves us deaf, but LWJ gives us eyes, Bill Roggio and crew have the good stuff on IRAQ.

For much of its short life the Sadr faction in the Iraqi Parliament was all that was keeping Malaki's Administration afloat. Whose political block held the Interior Department's portfolio during the early days of Malaki's Administration? It sort of puts the lie to the notion of Sadr being an Iraqi patriot.

Doug, was that Chuck Norris I saw crying after Hillery numbed his chucks?

3/28/2008 12:31:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

We don't care to watch sausage being made, thank you.

3/28/2008 12:34:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Hard to tell if that's what did it.
Chuck's been through some tough times lately, with the Huckster's Ouster, and now Cousin Clint's been Terminated from the Coastal Commission by the Governator.
They're comin from all sides.

3/28/2008 12:44:00 PM  
Blogger LarryD said...

Big Lizard's take

Let's get to the good stuff first... a line whose significance not even the reporter, Kim Gamel, realizes: "The Iraqi leader made his pledge to tribal leaders in the Basra area..."

What's significant about Maliki's audience is that he is talking to Shiite tribal leaders in Basra... the very people who would have been Sadr's strongest supporters just a year or so before. I highly doubt he would give a speech to his enemies; in Iraq, that's tantamount to suicide (without martyrdom). Thus the logical conclusion is that "salvation councils," by whatever names, are sweeping Shiite Iraq as they did Sunni Iraq, causing the Shia to reject Muqtada Sadr and his Iranian masters just as the Sunni turned on al-Qaeda this year.

Neither in the AP story nor the New York Times version do we find any recognition of this major breakthrough. Nevertheless, it presages a complete defeat of the Shiite insurgents; just as al-Qaeda in Iraq has been driven from pillar to pooch, to the point where they have but a single stronghold left, in Mosul... and in a few months, they will have none.

3/28/2008 01:46:00 PM  
Blogger Habu said...

From Peggy Noonan WSJ opinion piece today on "Getting Mrs. Clinton"

What struck me as the best commentary on the Bosnia story came from a poster called GI Joe who wrote in to a news blog: "Actually Mrs. Clinton was too modest. I was there and saw it all. When Mrs. Clinton got off the plane the tarmac came under mortar and machine gun fire. I was blown off my tank and exposed to enemy fire. Mrs. Clinton without regard to her own safety dragged me to safety, jumped on the tank and opened fire, killing 50 of the enemy." Soon a suicide bomber appeared, but Mrs. Clinton stopped the guards from opening fire. "She talked to the man in his own language and got him [to] surrender. She found that he had suffered terribly as a result of policies of George Bush. She defused the bomb vest herself." Then she turned to his wounds. "She stopped my bleeding and saved my life. Chelsea donated the blood."

3/28/2008 02:20:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

You forgot to take your
Senior Vites
this morning, Habu!
Doug, 06:22:00 AM

3/28/2008 03:37:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Is this the new Tet in this New Vietnam?

3/28/2008 04:25:00 PM  
Blogger Habu said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3/28/2008 09:57:00 PM  
Blogger Habu said...

It all gets so confusing.
First the false teeth have to go in.
Then check the Depends
Attempt to get a steady stream of whiz going.
Wait for the shredded wheat to soften to mush.

Man I can't do everything. Oops was there some solid in that gas?

3/28/2008 10:01:00 PM  
Blogger Nichevo said...

You know, Mətušélaḥ, I'm a little tired of your act here. You're an Israeli, right? Why don;t you turn that high powered cynicism, uh, perception on yourself?

So we can't get the big kill done on Sadr, on OBL, on Ahmadinejad, on the mullahs, etc., etc., etc. So we try to dance with them and from time to time there is the stepping-on of toes.

Okay, now at the risk of Tu quoque, what's your big plan? How are you going to fix Israel's problems? Why don't you cut your own Gordian knots? Why do you fool around with Hamas and Fatah? Why couldn't you get the job done in Lebanon? When are you going to embrace the suck and get rid of all those pesky Pals, eh?

It's a free country but I'm just a little tired of your whining lately.

PS Wretchard or anyone here, how do you encode strikethrough text?

3/29/2008 12:06:00 PM  
Blogger 3Case said...


I am grateful to you for providing me the opportunity to see Fitna


3/29/2008 04:30:00 PM  

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