Monday, February 18, 2013

Mookie Redux

Before spliting Iraq pre Surge, perhaps the most intractable enemy Great Satan repeatedly enjoyed visiting death and destrcuction in urban combat and counter terrorist operations, was the infamous Mahdi Army.  

Led by Mookie, who proved really adept at killing other preachers, tormenting girls, cussing Great Satan and gathering his minions in one place just in time for Great Satan to sweep in and annihilate them, it could be interpreted that Mookie was actually an agent of Great Satan.  

Mookie was a big fat epic fail on estabbing a caliphate, preacher's 7th century paradise. 

Mookie admitted Iraqis were more hotter to prep for this life instead of racing off to the next and hauled assets out of Dodge to escape a murder warrant and any chance encounter with especial Opresso d'Libre cats while asymmetrically hooking up his stay at home cats with a murderous mentorship via Hiz'B'Allah

Mookie chickened out and hit the books at Qom for the Persian version of getting fully crunk as a jumped up Ayatollah. And pretty much stayed undercover except for a few day trips to Turkey and hitting on his old roomie from back in the day - Hiz'B'Allah's equally overtly robust, bespectacled spectacle Body Part Collector General Nasr'Allah

Now - 
Iraq’s nascent democracy faces a new dilemma: whether or not to embrace the political comeback of a former militia leader. Muqtada al-Sadr, the firebrand Shia cleric, has launched a public relations campaign, rebranding himself as a voice of sectarian harmony. Should Iraqis welcome Sadr with open arms, or be wary of his new persona?
From the perspective of Maliki’s rivals, Sadr’s new persona presents a conundrum. If they embrace the new Sadr, they risk empowering a former enemy with blood on his hands. But if they reject him, it is possible that he will return to his old, violent ways. Iraqis would be wise to assess the sincerity of Sadr’s inclusive tone. There are a number of conceivable litmus tests. For starters, Iraqis should urge Sadr to broaden his movement into a cross-sectarian party that welcomes non-Shia members. Actively including Kurds, Sunnis, and other groups would signal to all ethnic minorities and sects that Sadr views them as equals, not inferior heretics.

On Sadr’s part, he could mollify his skeptics by demonstrating his commitment to the Iraqi constitution and the rule of law. One way of doing so would be to help Sunni Arabs and Kurds pass legislation on the functioning of Iraq’s Supreme Federal Court (comparable to the U.S. Supreme Court), which has been held hostage by fundamentalists’ demands to allow sharia scholars to possess veto power over legislation. Supporting such legislation would help demonstrate that Sadr believes in Iraq’s constitution and its emphasis on power sharing among factions.

Furthermore, Sadr could try to win Sunni Arabs’ trust by approaching the question of de-Baathification (the process of purging members of Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party from political positions) in an impartial fashion. Previously, Sadr demanded amnesty for, and secured the release of, hundreds of detained Shia militiamen as part of his bargain to support Maliki for another term. But Sadr continues to voice strong opposition to the reintegration of former Baath officials into Iraqi society. By punishing Sunnis for past abuses more than Shia, Sadr has undermined political reconciliation in Iraq.

Finally, to win the Kurds’ trust, Sadr could offer support for their causes, namely, a more robust role for regions and provinces in the development of oil and gas resources, a more equitable distribution of energy profits, and control over disputed territories. In this vein, Sadr could join the Kurdish parties in parliament to push through new hydrocarbon-investment and revenue-sharing laws that could resolve the chronic and destabilizing disputes between Erbil and Baghdad over energy contracts and budget allocations. The Iraqiya bloc, the Kurds, and the Sadrists previously succeeded in defeating Maliki in parliament when he attempted to dissolve the country’s independent High Election Commission in 2011, so it is conceivable that the three blocs could jointly muster enough votes to pass other laws, too.

Will Sadr continue his surprising transformation from a violent, sectarian demagogue to an advocate for inclusive dialogue? His past record of killing civilians, military confrontation against the Iraqi government, and attacking U.S. personnel necessarily brings into question the credibility of this fresh persona. Nevertheless, his revised tone could also reflect an honest change in ideology and objectives that bodes well for Iraq’s democratic transition. Iraqis would be wise to welcome Sadr’s new message with caution, and they should press him to prove his sincerity through concrete actions, not just words.

Pic - "Mahdi Army!"


Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Can you guys write a review of the above ebook on Benghazi? Thanks!