( – promoted by undercovercalico)
A story in today’s Los Angeles Times quotes U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice mocking Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. In Rice, in Iraq, lashes out at Muqtada al-Sadr, she said of al-Sadr:
“He is still living in Iran,” she said. “I guess it’s all-out war for anybody but him.
“His followers can go to their death and he will still be in Iran.”
Has George W. Bush served alongside American troops in Iraq, or can they go to their death while he is safe in the United States? Is Dick Cheney part of the “surge” in Iraq, or does he have other priorities? Is Rice going to be leading troops on the ground now in Iraq?
Of all the hypocritical things to have ever come out of Rice’s mouth, this is Hall of Shame worthy.
Rice’s words of ridicule come in response to al-Sadr’s ultimatum this weekend. The Washington Post reported Sadr warns of ‘open war’ if crackdown is not halted. “The U.S.-backed Iraqi goverment” is undertaking a “widespread crackdown on his followers”.
Sadr said he was issuing a “final warning” to the government to end the campaign against Shiite militias that has cost hundreds of lives since it began last month. If not, Sadr said, he would declare an “open war until liberation.”
A full-blown uprising by Sadr’s Mahdi Army militia would be a major setback to the security improvements in Iraq over the past year, credited largely to his cease-fire order last summer. The Mahdi Army, which waged two bloody rebellions against U.S. troops in 2004, has shown in the past how quickly it can gather thousands of fighters.
“Do you want a third uprising?” Sadr said in the statement.
Last month, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was defeated by the Mahdi Army militia in Basra after he ordered Iraqi govermental forces to eliminate rival shiite militias. “Sadr repeatedly urged his followers not to fight back, calling the offensive an attempt to weaken a rival Shiite party before the elections.”
Since the cease fire, the Bush administration has been treating al-Sadr and the Mahdi Army militia cautiously, seemingly trying to avoid a “third uprising”. But now with less than a year remaining for the administration, Bush, Cheney, Rice and others are trying to drum up a fervor for the U.S. to attack Iran. The pressure on al-Sadr seem to me to be designed to exploit the cleric’s connections to Iran and bait Iran into the conflict.
For the Bush administration to have lied the U.S. into war in Iraq and then take umbrage if Iran dares meddles in Iran is hypocracy in action. Less than two weeks ago, Bush declared Iran and al Qaeda as “two of the greatest threats to America” and accused Iran of training and supplying arms and explosives to fighters in Iraq. A month ago, Gen. David Petraeus said Iran was behind Green Zone attacks. The hawkish propaganda from the Bush administation is relentless and their message is clear – attack Iran.
The reality of the relationship between Iran and Iraq is different than the warped picture being presented by the Bush administration. Not only has, to no surprise, Iran rejected Bush’s accusations of supporting Shi’ite militias in Iraq, but the Washington Post story noted that Iran might be taking sides in the fighting between the rival Shi-ite groups and supporting the Iraq goverment of Maliki’s Dawa party over al-Sadr’s followers.
The Iranian ambassador to Iraq said his government supported Maliki’s recent Basra offensive, saying the Iraqi government has a right to target “criminal groups.” But the ambassador, Hassan Kazemi Qomi, said the U.S. military operations in Sadr City were ill-conceived.
“The American forces bombed the homes of innocent people,” he said. “Many people are also being forced to leave their homes.” The U.S. military said it targets fighters, not civilians.
Last Friday, McClatchy Newspaper reported that American troops are “caught in crossfire between Shiite militiamen and the mostly Shiite Iraqi army.”
The Sadrists maintain that their Shiite rivals in the government of U.S.-backed Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki are trying to undercut their power and popularity before provincial elections planned for October. The Sadrists, with a populist appeal to poor and marginalized Shiites, are likely to dominate Iraq’s southern Shiite provinces in the elections.
It is obvious from our own American primary season that tempers can flare quickly in the lead up to an election. Imagine the carnage here if rival factions resorted to violence to help jockey for electoral advantage.
What most Iraqis and probably Iranians want is for the U.S. to leave Iraq. When al-Sadr uses words like “liberation” and leaders in the Mahdi Army describe the Maliki government as “not real Iraqis” who “never lived” in Iraq under Saddam Hussein and having been “planted” by Americas, then those are the makings of another uprising to expel the U.S. occupation.
Some of the U.S. soldiers caught in the middle of the shi’ite-to-shi’ite in Iraq would fight invaders too. After seizing the home of an Iraqi family in Sadr City, according to the McClatchy article:
“I’d blow up half my house to get back inside,” said Cpl. David Morelock of Greeneville, Tenn.
Spc. Brodie Berkenbile, 20, of Athens, Tenn., said he’d fire a sniper rifle at people from his rooftop if a foreign army took over.
Under these conditions, it is no wonder that Americans and Iraqis foresee no ebb in Iraq violence. Iraq cannot determine its future with outside interference from Iran or the United States.
It is past time to leave Iraq. Maybe Condi Rice can lead the redeployment home or will she and the rest of the Bush administration be safe in the United States will U.S. troops continue to be sent to their death?