...Al-Maliki’s power position has also been bolstered by the decisions by nationalist Shiite leader Moqtada al-Sadr not to launch a concerted military resistance to U.S. and Iraqi government campaigns to weaken his Mahdi Army in 2007 and then to give up his political-military power positions in Basra, Sadr City and Amarah in 2008 without having been militarily defeated.Jaså. Og dette vidste jeg ikke - åbenbart fulgte jeg ikke godt nok med:
Petraeus and the U.S. military command in Iraq have asserted that al-Sadr’s decisions reflected the fact that the Mahdi Army had been weakened by U.S. military pressures. However, the broader set of developments over the past year suggests that the primary reason for Sadr’s willingness to give up military resistance was a strategic understanding with Iran to shift to political and diplomatic resistance to the U.S. military presence.
High officials in the al-Maliki regime asserted repeatedly last fall that it was Iran’s intervention with al-Sadr that brought about the unilateral ceasefire of Aug. 27, 2007. Sadr’s decisions to give up military control of Basra and Sadr City before his forces were defeated were taken in the context of Iranian mediation between al-Sadr and the al-Maliki regime.Jeg har tidligere tænkt over ironien i, at Moktada al-Sadrs beslutning om at forære Rådet og Kaldet (al-Da'wa) den militære sejr i den intra-shi'itiske borgerkrig om syden netop har gjort dem så sikre på egen dominans, at de har haft modet til at bede USA om at skrubbe af - hvilket hele tiden har været Moktadas mål. Det kan måske vise sig, at det ikke var tilfældets ironi alligevel.
Iran’s strategic relationship with al-Sadr accomplished what the U.S. military never believed would be possible even in its most optimistic scenario -- the neutralisation of the most potent political-military threat to the regime’s stability. The ability of Iran to deliver that benefit to al-Maliki -- as part of a broader shift to an anti-occupation regime policy -- almost certainly strengthened the case that Iran made to al-Maliki for a demand for a timetable for U.S. troop withdrawal in the status of forces negotiations.
Men hvem ved? Moktada studerer jo i Qom; der er måske grænser for hvor modig han er, når det er iranere, der passer på ham. I hvert fald har iranerne neutraliseret den ene af de to største forhindringer for iransk dominans over Irak - Mahdi-Hæren - og sat skub i en proces, der med tiden vil fjerne den anden - USAs hær. For al-Maliki ser grangiveligt ud til at mene hvad han siger:
U.S. officials admitted that al-Maliki’s overconfidence has influenced the status of forces negotiations, according to Kahl. None of the U.S. officials in Baghdad would "lead off with badmouthing the prime minister," Kahl said in an interview with IPS, but upon probing further, "you get a sense they are concerned that the al-Maliki regime has an inflated sense of his power."Ali Al-Sistani, Iraks iransk-fødte øverste religiøse autoritet, har været optaget af ikke at gentage fiaskoen fra det shi'itisk ledede oprør mod briterne tilbage i 1920, hvor briterne efter oprørets nedkæmpelse bragte den sunni-arabiske minoritet til magten for at herske på Imperiets vegne - rutinerede imperialister var de jo. Al-Sistanis fokus har været at holde sammen på de shi'itiske fraktioner - det er ikke gået helt så godt. Men han må være svært tilfreds med hvordan det går. Ali Allawi skriver i The Occupation of Iraq om "Shi'a-Huset" i Regeringsrådet (det irakiske råd, der skulle rådgive og vejlede CPA, Paul Bremers midlertidige amerikanske administration), der meldte tilbage til al-Sistani mindst en gang om dagen:
The Bush administration hoped negotiations with al-Maliki on a status of forces agreement would legitimise a long-term U.S. military presence in Iraq and control over a number of military bases, but the Iraqi leader refused to go along with an agreement that lacked a timetable for withdrawal of all U.S. troops.
Al-Maliki’s new sense of confidence has been accompanied by a new political identity as a nationalist foe of the occupation, according to Kahl. "He is successfully fashioning himself as an Iraqi hero who kicked the Americans out. That makes him difficult to negotiate with."
The Shi'a in the Governing Council ... started a caucus called Al-Bayt Al-Shi'i (The Shi'a House), thinking that the Kurds and Sunni had organised themselves similarly.Team Shi'a - lidt som vores Jyske Trafikmafia.
The Shi'a House members were determined to not to repeat what they thought to be the disastrous decisions of their forebears during the 1920s. It was a commonplace amongst the Shi'a that by failing to cooperate with the British mandate authorities in the 1920s, and resisting occupation on the grounds of patriotism, they effectively handed over the governing of Iraq to the Sunni Arabs. A leading Shi'a polemicist, Hassan al-'Alawi, coined a memorable phrase regarding the 1920 Uprising, that the 'Shi'a's ultra nationalism cost them [control over] the nation'.