Muqtada, Shi’ite Hope for Unified Iraq? Again Targeted - 03.27.2006

It appears Muqtada Sadr, the “firebrand populist cleric” is again being targeted by the Coalition and other more shadowy forces.

Certainly there are some questionable things about Muqtada’s past and his dealings around Iraq. However, he seems now to be the least duplicitous of Iraq’s Shi’a politicians.

The Badr Militia and SCIRI, their more politically-minded partners are increasingly alienating themselves within Iraq and are increasingly understood to be carrying out the majority of the sectarian extra-judicial executions occurring these days in Baghdad.

If the United States’ Senators really hope to foster fairness and cooperation within Iraq’s struggling new government,
perhaps they should be putting more force on President Bush, as commander in chief, to stop supporting wholesale violence by arming Shi’a deathsquads and looking the other way.

The cursory attempts being made currently to curb violence at the hands of the nascent Iraqi state are certainly a far cry from anything which might be considered a truly dedicated attempt at garnering a peaceful solution.

The recent raids as well as revelations that US Marines may have been involved in murdering civilians on two occasions are further increasing tensions between the occupation and Iraqis at the street level.

Muqtada Sadr and the increasingly alienated Association of Muslim Scholars are really the only individuals who seem, at this point, to have a handle on curbing violence at the street level.

I hope Coalition forces and the international community will soon start to take responsibility in a serious way for the situation in Iraq. Even the so-called Democratic opposition is suggesting the solution to civil war, rather than highlighting US responsibility for the near-dissolution of Iraq and engaging in conflict resolution, is to leave and let the parties involve fight it out if they can’t work together.

The failure to recognize our responsibility for the Iraq mess could well be the first Rwanda style tragedy of the twenty-first century. Let’s not give up on pressing Iraqis to negotiate with each other before we’re absolutely certain we won’t look back on 2006 with the same shame and horror we now reserve for reflecting on our inaction in 1994.

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