Splitting the scene pre surge, Mookie has been hanging (hiding? ) in a comfy compound in Tehran's Preacher Heights hood. Leaving his Mahdi Army(v4.0) to face Great Satan's military might and marginalizing influence, things may not be so sweet for Iran's future plans.
"It normally takes at least 12 years of intensive studies to become a "mujtahid"
(who can offer religious guidance). And the title "Sign of God" can't be secured
solely by studying: Ayatollahs bestow it on only a few individuals in each
generation. The candidate must author a "resaleh" (dissertation), with at least
one grand ayatollah publicly acknowledging its theological value.
Traditionally, no man under 40 could pretend to be a "Proof of Islam," for it
was at 40 that the Prophet Muhammad was approached by Archangel Gabriel and
informed of his divine mission.
But the "Muqtada Project" envisages shortcuts. Sadr is to complete the 12-year course in four or five years, by which time he'd also be 40. Someone could write a resaleh for him and someone else could attest to the work's authority. He could then receive endorsement (tasdiq) from ayatollahs close to the Tehran authorities.
Sometime in 2012 or so, we may meet Ayatollah al-Sayyed Muqtada al-Sadr
al-Mahallati al-Tabatabai. By then, Najaf's four aging grand ayatollahs could
have passed on, thus making it easier for Tehran to market Muqtada as a
religious authority for Iraqis."
Yay. The Holy city of Najaf is key for a caliphate in Iraq - so far Iraqi Ayatollah's haven't really took up with a hook up with Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (also a crash course cleric by order of the Grand Old Ayatollah Khomeini himself). The Mahdi Army is splintered and fragmented, key cats are missing, captured or reclining on green sofa's with dozens of white raisins and silken youth in Paradise. No surprise, the Mahdi Army loses all the time.
Great Satan just cut deals with Iraq and is killing enemies with the new Iraqi army buds. She will most likely be there waiting for him to arrive. Mookie has a lot to consider. Like his first try in Najaf.
"On 23 Aug 2004 at least 15 explosions, many sounding like artillery
shells, rocked the area, as shrapnel fell in the courtyard of the gold-domed
mosque and gunfire echoed through the alleyways. On August 26, 2004, two F-16s
flying out of Balad dropped four 2000 pound JDAMs (Joint Direct Attack
Munitions) on two hotels near the shrine which were being used by the
insurgents. The successful airstrike dealt a devastating blow to Sadr and led to
a hasty settlement with Sistani the following morning."
Though Sadrists honked in nearly 11% in the last elections they will have some pull. But do they really want to become Iranian minions for life?
"Muqtada faces a tough choice. Should he continue with the Iranian project, in hopes of winning big in four or five years - at the risk that others will fill the vacuum in his
absence? Or interrupt the Iranian project and return to Iraq to reactivate his
armed gangs - possibly exposing himself to the Americans' full fire - which,
with Sunni pressure almost gone, could crush him?"
Does he even have the freedom of choice to choose? Or do the Mullahs have their hooks in him for life?
"He might be a virtual prisoner, along with his new Persian bride,
in that villa facing the snow-capped Towchall mountains."