:: Saturday, August 14, 2004 ::
Allawi Fails Critical Test
Iraq the Model, Hammorabi and Zeyad have continually urged the interim Iraqi government to put an end to the maniacal Muqtada Al-Sadr. At one time or another, all three blogs have predicted exactly this outcome should the CPA and IP fail to quash Al-Sadr and his small "Mahdi Army". Because of Allawi's timid response, Al-Sadr is given yet another opportunity to retrench and stockpile munitions and feed Al Jazeera. Zeyad comments on the Najafis caught in the crossfire and what the standoff in Najaf may portend for the future of Iraq:
"Al-Sadr might as well announce his victory Saddam-style since he is still alive and negotiating despite his military defeat. Now he wants Najaf to turn into a 'Hawzawi protectorate' with Al-Mahdi in control, joining Fallujah, Sammara, and Sadr city as an independent safehaven for insurgents with its own local government, Sharia laws, and private courts and prisons. And the interim government is offering him that opportunity, sealing its own fate in the process.
As if the suffering of thousands of Najafis who were caught in between and the deaths of Iraqi policemen and soldiers were all in vain. As if the silent approval of Najafis and the marji'iya meant nothing. The Iraqi government has failed its first test. I know it is probably too early to say that, but that's what we also said in April and May. A 20 something year-old outlaw is free to do whatever he pleases and gets away with it just because he has a black turban on his head and can claim a couple of thousand armed followers. What kind of a farce is this? And what kind of precedent is it going to give others?
Sadr had already refused to participate in the National Conference. He doesn't need it. All he has to do is to take refuge in the sanctity of a holy Shi'ite shrine, send thousands of disgruntled young men to their death, give fiery inconsistent sermons now and then, and emerge unscathed and stronger than ever."
This really is bad news for Iraq--if the wheels fall off the wagon there will be hell to pay at the polls next November. Given this distinct possibility, Koffi Annan and Jacques Chirac are probably clinking their Champaign glasses right now in a loving toast to Muqtada Al-Sadr, the oil-for-food program--and John F. Kerry.
Update: Here is Newsweek's latest version of events [>]
:: Max 10:37 PM [+] ::