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Re: [casi-analysis] Turning the Muqtada Crisis into a Milestone for Iraqi Sovereignty

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While every analysis and comment on the Iraqi problem
should be welcomed, this analysis unfortunately
suffers from major defects and misunderstandings. Its
basic argument is faulty.

What is happening in Iraq is not a “Muqtada Crisis” as
has been stated, but a de facto uprising against an
illegal occupation abhorred by the absolute majority
of Iraqis. Claims that the resistance to the
occupation is the work of “Saddam’s supporters” or
“remnants of the regime” or “foreign elements” have
proven to be false, when the resistance is now one
hundred percent Iraqi; Shi’a and Sunni. It would be
too much asking those who spread the lies to admit
having done so..

When the analysis states “the US-led coalition has the
opportunity to transform the situation into a defining
moment that demonstrates to Iraqis their willingness
to hand over sovereignty”, it shows a lack of
comprehension of what the US has publicly stated. By
July 1, the US would hand over “power” to Iraqis, but
not “sovereignty”, and there is a great difference
between the two. Supporters of the IGC, who are the
same supporters of the war, want us to believe that by
July 1, Iraq would be free of occupation and a
sovereign state. That is not going to happen,

What the US intends to do by that date is to hand over
power to a group of “selected” Iraqis, seemingly the
same people making up the occupation-appointed IGC,
who would then arrange elections in Iraq to choose a
national assembly and consequently an elected
government. That would be a front, while the real
power would still be in the hands of the US, which
would control Iraq’s economy and retain a strong
military presence (about 100 000 soldiers) in the
bases it is building all over Iraq. The new Iraqi army
would be under an American commander. The US is saying
it will stay in Iraq until “democracy” is restored,
which could be forever...

Now that is not the definition of a sovereign state.
No sovereign state signs a constitution drafted by a
foreign occupation power, in which it undertakes to
sign binding agreements with that power that can not
be cancelled later on, including giving up its army to
that power!!
How is Iraq going to regain its sovereignty, if the
occupier decides whom the contracts go to, which
political parties are allowed to participate in the
“democratic process”, and what can be published and
what can not? How is sovereignty achieved if the US
will continue to decide Iraq’s future from the largest
US embassy, in Baghdad?

Some would argue that there are US forces in many Arab
states, as well as in Germany, Japan and Korea,
without those countries loosing their sovereignty.
That may be true, but in those countries the US has
not appointed a Governing Council, nor are the armies
under US command. Furthermore, Governing Councils in
those countries are not composed of people who have
pledged allegiance to the flag of the US or the Queen
of Great Britain, like the majority of Iraq’s
Governing Council’s members have…

A very good example of the level of (dis)respect the
US has for the IGC and the Ministers, is the arrest
warrant issued for Muqtada as-Sadr. The CPA has
announced that it was issued by an Iraqi judge, yet
the Iraqi Minister of Justice, Hashim as-Shibli,
announced that he doesn’t know of such a warrant and
threatened to resign because a warrant was issued
without his knowledge and behind his back.

The analysis states “..the coalition agreeing to one
of the demands of Al-Sadr's people, which was to leave
Shuala”, without stating that the US bombed part of
that district from Apache helicopters and tanks,
killing five civilians, before withdrawing. That is
not a very honest way of explaining things.

As-Sadr’s background is mostly correct, except for
some omissions. In the late 1990s, Muqtada's father,
Mohammed Sadiq as-Sadr, started a new tradition
rejected by the main stream Shi’a clerics, that of
conducting the Friday prayers. Shi’a clerics oppose
that on the grounds that they should be performed only
by the Imam himself, in this case Imam al-Mahdi.
As-Sadr’s move faced opposition and criticism from
Shi’a clerics, and his supporters accused Baqir
al-Hakim of being behind his assassination with two of
his sons in 1999. The assassination remains a mystery,
though the majority believe that Saddam Hussein feared
as-Sadr’s increased power and had him gunned down.
However, when Baqir al-Hakim went to Qum to pay his
condolences on the death of as-Sadr, he was attacked
by his followers and he had to escape! It should be
pointed out that as-Sadr family is the only Arab
family among the clerics at Najaf; the rest being of
Persian origins, like Sistani, al-Hakim etc.. This may
explain some of the animosity and lack of trust
between clerics.

The analysis goes on to imply that as-Sadr’s support
comes only from the uneducated, not the intellectuals!
Yet, it was in the name of those “uneducated” and poor
masses of the Shi’a that both main Shia’a parties
claimed to speak and whose interests they were
protecting… It was those same people who rose against
Saddam’s regime in 1991.. It was those same people who
allowed the US tanks to march to Baghdad through the
streets of ath-Thawra city, later as-Sadr city..
Suddenly we are made to understand that they are
worthless people, lacking in intellectual maturity,
and therefore their support for Muqtada is because of
this immaturity and lack of education.. What hypocrisy
and how shameful..

Muqtada, we are told, “lacked his father's religious
authority, political understanding, and foresight”,
but the same statement was NOT made when Abdul-Aziz
al-Hakim took over the “party” after his brother’s
assassination! He took lacked (and lacks) religious
authority, political understanding, and foresight..

The analysis uses language suitable for school kids,
when it states that Muqtada “behaved himself very
well” before the appointment of the IGC. Muqtada was
not a naughty boy first…

We are also led to believe that Muqtada’s attitude
changed “when he was not included in the 25-member
Governing Council.” That is completely untrue. Before
Paul Bremer appointed the IGC, he chose an advisory
council from among Iraqis to advise him on issues, and
the council included Muqtada as-Sadr, but Muqtada
refused to join it and cooperate with the occupation.

Muqtada is pictured as a contradictory person not
knowing what to do or how. Those who have followed
Muqtada’s statements and actions will certainly
remember that very early on he declared his opposition
to the occupation and the IGC and established al-Mahdi
militia. He only bowed to pressure from Shi’a clerics
to refrain from action, against promises that the
situation would be better. Those who have lived
outside and not gone through what Muqtada has gone
through have no right to criticize him or undermine
his abilities or his intentions. If anyone is to be
accused of contradicting themselves, it should be the
two main Shi’a parties, who openly stated their
opposition to war, while they were secretly
cooperating with the US in its scheme.

At least the analysis was honest in one things, when
it stated that the ill-timed and ill-thought out
decisions have turned the situation from bad to worse.
The situation was therefore bad, and the US made it
worse.. So much for the rosy future Iraqis were

The analysis suggests a way out from the deadlock, by
bringing in a third party to mediate. The idea is not
bad, but the proposed third party is not suitable.
Transferring control of the situation to the Iraqi
Governing Council and giving them far-reaching
powers to resolve the Muqtada issue “once and for all”
is an interesting way of laying out the solution. What
does resolving the Muqtada issue “once and for all”
mean? And how can a tool of the occupation, which
Muqtada opposes, be an honest mediator?? Under which
law would Muqtada be tried, when Paul Bremer has
suspended Iraqi laws??

What the analysis refuses or fails to see is that the
problem is not Muqtada but the occupation. Iraq was
destroyed, all its infrastructure turned to rubble,
and a year later the people suffer from unseen poverty
and unemployment, lack of basic services, and lack of
security. Murders, thefts and rape crimes are daily
happenings. Iraqis are afraid of going out, and Iraq
has become a state without law or order. And we have
to thank the US and its supporters for that. But when
Muqtada’s newspaper writes about what is happening,
the newspaper is shut and Muqtada is called
“troublesome”!! That is the democracy and freedom of
expression the Iraqis were promised.

The Shia members of the Governing Council are NOT in
any position to strike a deal with Muqtada, simply
because they have no credibility among Iraqis. They
have stood by watching as the US killed their fellow
Shi’as (not to speak of other Iraqis) without uttering
as much as a word of criticism. How can they solve the
problems when they themselves are “governed”??

Muqtada will disband his al-Mahdi militia only after
the Kurdish militia is disbanded and those of SCIRI
and Allawi and Chalabi are. Otherwise, it would be
dishonest to disarm one group and allow the other to

The solution proposed makes it look like giving a seat
for one of Muqtada's representatives on an expanded
Governing Council will solve the issue, and we should
forget the deaths of some 200 Iraqis by US shelling
and bombs in the last three days. That looks like a
very simplistic conclusion, and I doubt that is what
Muqtada or the rest of Iraqis want. This conclusion
forgets that the occupation is rejected by the
majority of Iraqis. It also forgets that Iraqis KNOW
already that the transfer of sovereignty is a sham.

Honesty demands that things are called by their proper
names. I understand that it is difficult for a
supporter of the war, and a preacher of its benefits,
to admit a year later that he was mistaken and that
the ordeal has been disappointing to say the least.
But to call the crimes committed by the US and its
allies a “heavy-handed approach” is less than honest.

What this incident demonstrates is that the war, based
on lies and fabrications, was wrong and was a crime
against humanity. Marginalizing significant sections
of European societies and disregarding their
opposition to an illegal war has caused tremendous to
Iraqis. It also highlights the fact that the Shi’a are
beginning to realize that the bubble has burst and
that they have been cheated.


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