Saturday, February 23, 2008

Sadr Extends The Cease Fire While WaPo Rewrites History

Sadr extends the ceasefire. And what is it about our MSM? Why are they in love with tin-pot dictators and enemies of America?


Moqtada al Sadr has extended the cease-fire of his Mahdi Army an additional six months. A cease fire of sorts went into place at the start of the surge as Mahdi Army elements were being targeted and Sadr went into hiding in Iran. A formal cease fire was announced in August following bloody violence blamed on Sadr's militia in Karbala. Today's extention of the cease fire comes at a time when U.S. forces have stepped up their attacks on "special groups" associated with the Mahdi Army and Iran. This from Long War Journal:

Sadr’s decision was strongly influenced by US and Iraqi pressure from both the military and political spheres. The US military has worked to divide the Mahdi Army since early 2007 and began to see results by the late summer of that year. As noted at the beginning of February, US forces began to step up operations against the Sadr-linked and Iranian-backed Mahdi Army to pressure Sadr to extend the cease-fire. US forces raided Sadr City several days later, and then proceeded, along with Iraqi troops, to relentlessly target Special Groups cells in central and southern Iraq. Multinational Forces Iraq even blamed the Special Groups for a blast in Sadr City and rocket attacks throughout Baghdad.

Sadr's original cease-fire order, which was issued after clashes between the Mahdi Army and the Iraqi security forces during a religious festival in Najaf in August 2007, is widely credited with contributing to the dramatic reduction in violence since September 2007. The US and Iraqi surge in forces, the spread of the Sunni Awakening movement, the rapid growth of the Sunni and Shia "Sons of Iraq" local security forces, the change in counterinsurgency plan, and the appointment of General David Petraeus as commander of Multinational Forces Iraq have had a major impact on the reduction in sectarian and insurgency-related violence.

Read the entire article.

I've made several points before about Sadr, but they bear repeating. There is nothing positive about Sadr as regards an American vision of a democratic and stable Iraq. One, Sadr is deeply influenced by Iran. Two, he is studying Khomeinist velayat-e-faqi, the religious philosophy that requires a theocratic government. Three, he is maintaining a militia inside a sovereign state that is clearly not loyal to the central government. Four, his militia has been responsible for a tremendous amount of the violence in Iraq. In the long run, Sadr will only be a destabilizing influence. To the extent he does not directly take on the U.S. forces in their counterinsurgency operation, he is trying to wait out the storm. But his militia will have to be disarmed, whether peacefully or by force, and sooner rather than later.

That said, after reading the Washington Post story on this, I have to ask, what is it with our MSM? Why do they feel compelled to coddle dictators and enemies of America. We had CNN and their coverage of Castro, highlighting his "social reforms" and asserting that many see him as a "hero." A few days ago, WaPo did a puff piece on Sadr, and in todays coverage of Sadr, the WaPo rewrites history to portraty Sadr as a "nationalist leader."

The WaPo writes:

With the passage of a law last week that calls for provincial elections, they said, Sadr believes his movement could win against Iraq's current Shiite rulers, widely viewed by Iraqis as corrupt and inefficient. Last year, Sadr's loyalists withdrew from the government to distance themselves from it.

One, WaPo fails to mention that in many areas that were subject to rule by Sadr forces, there is a tremendous backlash as they are now being brought under central government control. While many Iraqi's may view the current government as corrupt and inefficient, it is fair to say that they view Sadr's Mahdi Army and his intent to impose Iranian style Sharia law as the far greater two evils.

And the suggestion that Sadr loyalists "withdrew from the government to distance themselves from it" is a complete rewrite of history. Maliki announced that he intended to remove all Sadr's appointed ministers from his government because of their incompetence and their involvement in the bloody violence. Two of those ministers are now under arrest and will likely be hanged. Sadr's ministers were about to be removed when Sadr said "we quit."

What appears to be going on in the WaPo article is that they are setting the stage for justifying a complete withdraw of U.S. forces from Iraq in the coming months. To this end, they are falsely portraying Sadr as a stabilizing influence.

. . . Sadr's decision reflects Iraq's transition away from violence and toward a more peaceful politics. . . . Extending the cease-fire could help improve his political standing as a would-be nationalist capable of leading Iraq when U.S. troops leave.

. . . Senior U.S. officials immediately welcomed his decision, underscoring how vital the 34-year-old cleric has become to the United States and its exit strategy for Iraq.

Read the entire article. Anyone want to guess at the political leanings of this journalist. One wonders if the MSM today is capable of anything other than agenda journalism.

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