Wednesday, October 18, 2006

In Which The Gorilla Loses It Completely

This rather curt story in Aswataliraq doesn't do justice to what happened in Iraq today. Yahoo news has a longer story from AFP here which you should read for background. I'm going to stick with what an Iraqi journalist writing for Iraqis has to say. The key point in Aswataliraq's story is this line:

the release of Alsaidi came at the request of the Prime Minister, Mr. Nouri Al-Maliki."

The writer obviously has the somewhat sardonic Iraqi sense of humour in full measure because the report ends with the shriekingly funny line that the US forces arrested the Sheikh (and six other Sadrists) in Shula at dawn yesterday "for unknown reasons." Feel free to call me insensitive, lambaste me for my somewhat dark sense of humour, or whatever you like. But that's damn well hilarious and I lost it completely. Every single one of those Internet acronymns about falling off the chair, rolling round on the floor laughing, coffee coming down my nostrils at high speed, you name it, they all well and truly applied to me when I read that.

I've written about the American animosity towards al-Sadr repeatedly they've been determined to get him from the moment he started to actively resist the occupation, and remain deeply unhappy at the June and August 2004 cease-fires brokered by al-Sistani. But there's just one problem. It's the problem faced by all losers. It's not up to them anymore. The single most powerful man in Iraq today is al-Sadr. He has enough power that he was able to force al-Sistani from politics and the fact that he and al-Maliki travelled to Najaf today doesn't change that fact.

One of these men is fighting for his life and one isn'tMaliki's chance to unify Iraqis came at the start of his term. If (big if) he had demanded that US troops leave his country, he might (big might) have been able to gather enough support to be able to face down al-Sadr and al-Hakim. Instead as we know he was forced to publicly throw in lot with the hated occupiers. Today (Aswataliraq Arabic Language) he was reduced to denying that his government came to power "on the back of a tank." Take a good long look at the photograph to the left taken in Najaf today. One of these men is fighting for his life and one isn't [see. "Dead Man Walking."] Their facial expressions show very clearly which one is which.


Update: Khaleej times has picked up the AFP report, so if the Yahoo link throws a 404 use the following link: Iraq orders US to release Shia activist(AFP) - mfi

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