Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Deciphering Iraqi politics and the raid against Sadr's guys

Don't look for a quick-read guide to understand the dynamics playing inside the struggle to create a new Iraqi government. Also, don't dismiss the idea that getting Muqtada Sadr and his Mahdi Army out the way would improve the situation.

Read Bill Roggio's post to get a rundown of apparent struggles inside the most powerful bloc, the religious Shi'a's United Iraqi Alliance (UIA). Currently four figures have aligned their religious parties to create the largest chunk of officials elected last December. Current PM Ibrahim al-Jafaari's al-Dawa, Abd al-aziz al-Hakim's Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), Nadim al-Jabiri's Islamic Virtue Party (al-Fadhila) and Sadr head the alliance. Jafaari and Sadr are allies and it appears the threat of further unleashing the Mahdi Army keeps Jafaari in power. Roggio points out that there appears to be strain between Hakim and Sadr. He adds further that Sadr seems to have become the favorite of Iran. A complete split between Hakim and Sadr potentially would pit the two largest Shi'a militias against each other.

A Sunday raid on a "prayer room," which contained weapons, killed 37 Sadr supporters. Omar at the Iraq the Model says the best evidence that members of the Mahdi Army occupied the room was provided by a Sadrist member of parliament in his decrying of the attack. Omar writes that the cries of outrage over the attack are coming from Jafaari and Sadr allies.

Roggio sees the raid as part of the political struggle to create a new government. He also writes that it appears the Iraqi army was heavily involved in the action.

Zeyad at Healing Iraq posted on the raid just after it happened and detected attempts at spin to make it look like an American massacre.

It's a complicated situation and a daunting task to sort it out, but Sadr will be no help in making it less so. I hope Roggio's right and this is the beginning of a crackdown on Muqie and his Mahdi. Jafaari needs to go too.

BTW, Zeyad has some funny photos of Sadr. I'm not sure, but he might be in danger of doing or already have done something sinful with his right hand. These pics show why Sadr and the Mahdi is not an option.

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