3 weeks ago the absentee leader in exile Mookie cried out for Mahdi Army and fans to throw a lo down ho down every Friday Prayer Day to protest the Iraqi gov's demands that Mahdi Army get out of the armed militia game and into the political ballots only game.
Since the inaugural kick off on 27 May - Mahdi Army's attendance has seen a steady drop in fans.
Just like magic Mahdi - Mookie disappeared and promised to return one day.
Getting chased down, gunned down and captured by the new Iraqi Army guys and Great Satan on a nigh daily basis - supporting Mookie or Mahdi Amry is being marginalized.
But Sadr’s call for demonstrations has failed to draw many
The U.S. military released imagery of the demonstrations which occurred the
past three Fridays. The first week, the military estimated Sadr had 10,000
protesters in attendance on May 30; about 3,000 on June 6; and 1,500 today.
These numbers are paltry, as Sadr City contains an estimated 2.5 million Shia,
and his protests in 2006 would draw hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.
The military also noted that some Iraqis in Sadr city were “coerced” to
join the demonstrations. “Clearly the number of participants is decreasing,”
said Lieutenant Colonel Steve Stover, the spokesman for Multinational Forces
Baghdad. “The steady drop might suggest increasing support for the GoI
[government of Iraq] and less support for Muqtada al Sadr.”
While talks in the status of forces agreements appear to have stalled due
to concerns expressed by Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki, it doesn’t appear
Sadr’s opposition is having much of an impact.
This is significant. AWOL Ayatollahs bring no bling. Does the ancient concept of honour and shame have a bit here?
Exhorting comrades and cadre to race to the next life instead of prepping for this one far away - safe as milk - in an especial, clerical compound in Preacher Heights in Tehran could be called shameful.
Meanwhile, grinding attrition of attitudes, battlefield reality and the hope of something better with zero fashion posses, secret police, religious police or intolerant militias may very be the honourable path to pursue.