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Quote: Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's crackdown on militias in the southern oil port of Basra appears to have backfired, exposing the weakness of his army and strengthening his political foes ahead of elections.

http://www.reuters.com/article/homepageC...._CH_.2400
Hmm... that's a rather interesting take on the developments. I read this article on CNN, which gives the impression that al-Maliki came out ahead in the confrontation, although obviously al-Sadr wasn't crushed

-S.


http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/meast/03/3...index.html

Quote:BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Iran was integral in persuading Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr to halt attacks by his militia on Iraqi security forces, an Iraqi lawmaker said Monday.

Haidar al-Abadi, a member of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's Dawa Party, said Iraqi Shiite lawmakers traveled Friday to Iran to meet with al-Sadr. They returned Sunday, the day al-Sadr told his Mehdi Army fighters to stand down.
...................
The lawmakers who traveled to Iran to broker the cease-fire were from five Shiite parties, including the Sadrist movement. Al-Abadi would not say where in Iran the meeting was held.

The lawmakers hoped to persuade Iran to cut off aid to Shiite militias and to persuade al-Sadr to end the fighting. Negotiations were difficult, but the delegation achieved its aims, al-Abadi said.
I found this related article on Reuters. It's interesting that al-Sadr's militia is the one that backed down, and the 'analysts' are declaring al-Sadr the winner. However, I note that at least one of these 'analysts' is part of the al-Maliki political opposition. So there's definitely spin going on here. Since the Sadrists have gone into hiding (and al-Sadr himself is still hiding in Iran), I'm going to take the position that al-Maliki came out the better of the two, and the operation didn't 'backfire' in the normal sense of the word (i.e. al-Maliki is worse off now than before).

-S


http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews...6320080331

Quote:Political analysts said the government offensive in the oil port of Basra appeared to have backfired by exposing the weakness of Maliki's army.

The crackdown also exposed a deep rift within Iraq's Shi'ite majority -- between the political parties in Maliki's government and followers of the populist cleric Sadr.

"What has happened has weakened the government and shown the weakness of the state. Now the capability of the state to control Iraq is open to question," said Izzat al-Shahbander, a Shi'ite politician from the small Iraqi National List party, which quit the government last year.

Life slowly returned to normal in Basra, where Sadr's masked militia fighters were no longer openly brandishing weapons, witnesses said.
With arabs, conflict takes on a totally different reality to that of Western nations. To them it is the process that counts, not necessarily the outcome. If things are starting to go against one side, they declare a cease fire, which obligates all to stop and recover, before continuing on to the next step in the overdrawn out process. Seldom does anyone win outright.

With western countries, it is hell bent for leather until one side throws up their hands or wins. it is certainly more bloody, but much more decisive, and it is much quicker.

Don't expect this fight to be played on western terms, unless the US has to be called in to pull the fat out of the fire. Then things will end quickly as the US will play by western rules.
Wretchard thinks this is very similar to our Fallujah 1&2 campaigns. This is Basra 1. In combat,when one side expresses desire to quit the battlefield,that isn't prevailing,not in the western sense. Might be in some eastern mystical way,but that's pop psychology. Both have to worry about the civilians taking sides,but Sadr really messed up last year in Najaf,I doubt he'll win a popularity contest.





HERE
Palladin Wrote:Wretchard thinks this is very similar to our Fallujah 1&2 campaigns. This is Basra 1. In combat,when one side expresses desire to quit the battlefield,that isn't prevailing,not in the western sense. Might be in some eastern mystical way,but that's pop psychology. Both have to worry about the civilians taking sides,but Sadr really messed up last year in Najaf,I doubt he'll win a popularity contest.





HERE

The Article Wrote:Another questioner asked about the quality of the Iraqi Armed forces, and on this point the answer was more definite. The quality was uneven. Many parts of it were rudimentary; some parts of it were extraordinarily good.

And that is because of the difference in calibre of the officers and NCOs leading them. That's it, pure and simple.
Correct. They also are having societal problems reflected in their Army that at one time we did(with black soldiers).

My buddy said the IA division they worked with was top notch(for Arabs,ya have to keep that in mind always,we're talking relative here),but the Kurd commander was relieved for a Shiite commander who knew squat,but Shiites were placing Shiites in all posts in 2005. It went downhill after that.

Over time,they've learned some lessons like we all do. The 2cd Iraqi division (Mosul)is really struggling with serious leadership deficiencies right now,they just relieved several top commanders.
That is where you learn your mistakes: on the field of battle.
Palladin, that's a good article. I thought this assessment of the situation was very informative:

Quote:Moghtada Al Sadr, who has long been suspected of receiving support from the Iranian government, decided to publicly condemn the Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei. ... Sadr is furious at the fact that members of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI), have joined the Iraqi army’s offensive against his forces in important areas such as Baghdad and Basra. ... Al Sadr is not only upset because ISCI has decided to turn its guns against fellow Shiites, but also at the fact that ISCI has been the recipient of a larger amount of aid from Tehran than his organization. This may lead Al Sadr to believe that ISCI has embarked on this adventure, with Tehran’s blessing. This belief would explain why, during his controversial interview with Al Jazeera on Saturday night, Al Sadr condemned what he called “Iranian intervention in Iraq’s security and politics.”

In other words, according to this version of events, Sadr sees this as a showdown for political supremacy among Shi'ite factions. And he is worried that Teheran has sold him down the river and given Maliki the green light to wipe him out.
Quote: U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Mirembe Nantongo echoed that today. "We join the prime minister in welcoming Sayyid Al Sadr's statement," she said.

Seems that now our officials are being instructed to give al-Sadr the Sayyid honorific. I thought this offensive was supposed to be al-Sadr's great comeuppance. Seems to me like our government is sucking up to him.

Quote:Iraq's government now is faced with trying to portray the Basra offensive as successful, even though Maliki's security forces proved unable to flush militias from Basra, as the prime minister had vowed to do. Three days into the battle, he called for help from American and British forces. U.S. warplanes conducted airstrikes, and U.S. Army special forces were involved in some ground operations.

As this was going on, U.S. officials hammered away at the idea that the Basra offensive was Iraqi-led and Iraqi-organized and a promising display of Maliki's determination to take on the country's militia problem — but not the Sadr's militiamen, they hastened to add. President Bush called it a "defining moment" for Iraq.

There has been no U.S. reaction to the news that Iran, whom Washington accuses of meddling in Iraq's violence, played a key role in bringing the standoff to an end. Iraqi lawmakers have said they went to Iran and asked for help in brokering a deal between Sadr, who is believed to be in Iran, and Iraqi leaders.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/babylonb...f-war.html
Stars & Stripes Wrote:Palladin, that's a good article. I thought this assessment of the situation was very informative:

Quote:Moghtada Al Sadr, who has long been suspected of receiving support from the Iranian government, decided to publicly condemn the Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei. ... Sadr is furious at the fact that members of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI), have joined the Iraqi army’s offensive against his forces in important areas such as Baghdad and Basra. ... Al Sadr is not only upset because ISCI has decided to turn its guns against fellow Shiites, but also at the fact that ISCI has been the recipient of a larger amount of aid from Tehran than his organization. This may lead Al Sadr to believe that ISCI has embarked on this adventure, with Tehran’s blessing. This belief would explain why, during his controversial interview with Al Jazeera on Saturday night, Al Sadr condemned what he called “Iranian intervention in Iraq’s security and politics.”

In other words, according to this version of events, Sadr sees this as a showdown for political supremacy among Shi'ite factions. And he is worried that Teheran has sold him down the river and given Maliki the green light to wipe him out.
--------------------------
Hahaha...

Teheran is supporting both sides in this conflict... And according to Yahoo News an Iranian general was the one behind the cease-fire... And Al-Sadr stayed in Iran during the conflict...

Which shows that Iran can do what they want with Iraq and Iraqi Shiites...

This is what we got from the US-led invasion. An Iraqi nation that is totally dependant on Teheran...

What the US should have done instead of giving too much power to the Shiites is all clear and I have said that many times before. They should not have destroyed the Baath Party and the Sunni interests...

/track_snake
track_snacke wrote:
Quote:Teheran is supporting both sides in this conflict... Which shows that Iran can do what they want with Iraq and Iraqi Shiites...

Now that all sides know they are being played by Iran, I think they are going to alter strategies by dealing with each other in a manner that is less dependent on Iran.

-S
Quote:What the US should have done instead of giving too much power to the Shiites is all clear and I have said that many times before. They should not have destroyed the Baath Party and the Sunni interests...

Strategically the best option for the U.S. would be a Sunni strongman. In other words, a friendly Saddam Hussein. But that's not possible because of the international backlash it would cause(given the foolish political rhetoric of Bush about bringing freedom to the world); and its not morally right.

If we really give the Iraqis the freedom we supposedly waged war to give them, the result will be a government much like Saddam's, except ruled by Shiites and friendly to Iran.
Anonymous24 Wrote:
Quote:What the US should have done instead of giving too much power to the Shiites is all clear and I have said that many times before. They should not have destroyed the Baath Party and the Sunni interests...

Strategically the best option for the U.S. would be a Sunni strongman. In other words, a friendly Saddam Hussein. But that's not possible because of the international backlash it would cause(given the foolish political rhetoric of Bush about bringing freedom to the world); and its not morally right.

If we really give the Iraqis the freedom we supposedly waged war to give them, the result will be a government much like Saddam's, except ruled by Shiites and friendly to Iran.

Funny Cutis, one of the very things you guys decry the loudest is the very thing you are advocating: expediencey over principle. You all Love your own freedoms, yet don't think other would appreciate them.

Interesting.
I'm not advocating the U.S. create a repressive government. I"m saying that, if the Iraqis are given freedom, they will choose a repressive government. Unfortunately, not everyone with freedom behaves maturely. In fact that is one of the foundations of your own 'liberalism'. You see this all over the world - in Palestine, for instance, where Palestinians democratically elected a terrorist group to power. In the Balkans, where various ethnic groups seem to prefer bigoted, militant leaders.
track_snake, I think I found the article to which you referred

http://news.yahoo.com/s/mcclatchy/200803...hy/2895931

Quote:Many saw the role of an Iranian general in brokering the ceasefire that Sadr declared on Sunday as a clear sign that Maliki had badly miscalculated.

"The Iraqi government looks silly in the face of their ardent statements," said Joost Hiltermann , the deputy program director for the Middle East and North Africa at the International Crisis Group , a private group that studies international conflicts. He said the outcome shows "the Iraqi military doesn't have the ability to do much of anything."

Sadr, who was in Iran during the offensive, came out of the confrontation stronger, Hiltermann said.

"He remained undefeated and he looks like the moderate," he said. "He was the one that called for his forces, who were attacked, to stand down."


And yet, in the same article we read:

Quote:In Basra, people began to venture out of their homes again as Iraqi soldiers and police resumed street patrols and Mahdi Army militants hid their weapons and went home. Tankers of water and trucks of food were allowed into the city as people slowly ventured to the market to restock their empty cupboards.

I find this truly amazing: The Sadrists are no where to be seen, Iraqi soldiers patrol the streets, and all the pundits say Sadr won. And from the Dutchman we learn that retreat is victory and weakness is strength. Now I don't know about you, but that's the kind of enemy I like! Let them have all the 'victories' they want.

-S
Quote:I find this truly amazing: The Sadrists are no where to be seen, Iraqi soldiers patrol the streets, and all the pundits say Sadr won. And from the Dutchman we learn that retreat is victory and weakness is strength. Now I don't know about you, but that's the kind of enemy I like! Let them have all the 'victories' they want.

Sadr won because Maliki had to call in the help of U.S. bombers and special ops. That's what really won the day; not the Iraqi army. And in the process, everyone realized how weak the Iraqi national government really is without U.S. forces. Furthermore, the U.S. had to negotiate with Sadr, showing Sadr is a stronger power than Maliki.

Which shows things aren't getting better. Things only get better when the national army is able to stand on its own - which its not; its not even close. Maliki's forces were getting whupped before we interceded. The whole point of the surge was to give the Iraqi government some breathing room to get its shit together. It hasn't been able to do that, as the necessity of using high-tech American bomber jets, special ops, and negotiating with al-Sadr show.

Truth is, once we leave, the Sadrists, and all the other radical militias, come out of their holes and start terrorizing the country.
John L Wrote:
Anonymous24 Wrote:
Quote:What the US should have done instead of giving too much power to the Shiites is all clear and I have said that many times before. They should not have destroyed the Baath Party and the Sunni interests...

Strategically the best option for the U.S. would be a Sunni strongman. In other words, a friendly Saddam Hussein. But that's not possible because of the international backlash it would cause(given the foolish political rhetoric of Bush about bringing freedom to the world); and its not morally right.

If we really give the Iraqis the freedom we supposedly waged war to give them, the result will be a government much like Saddam's, except ruled by Shiites and friendly to Iran.

Funny Cutis, one of the very things you guys decry the loudest is the very thing you are advocating: expediencey over principle. You all Love your own freedoms, yet don't think other would appreciate them.

Interesting.
-----------------------
Well...

'Democracy' and 'Freedom' isn't the best solution everywhere. I agree with Anon that a Sunni strongman ('a US-friendly Saddam') would have been the best option for US.

Why the administration did not see that before is to me unexplainable...

/track_snake
It certainly didn't take long here for Sadr City in Baghdad to be riled up by the Basra ordeal. I didn't get to enjoy the internet like I was doing until then because of the constant commo blackouts.

However, it was resolved "US-style", where units in the Brigade (along with a Stryker unit from Germany) I am in went in and took over the place after the SoI checkpoints were overrun. This was the gist of it from what I was told.

Our unit (a support battalion) went into overdrive to push supplies out to the units operating in the city. Makes sense - we did have something else as our main mission till then.

That sucked and the trans guys broke a buncha stuff (which I and my compatriots get to fix), plus our recovery assets were tasked out to the line units for recovering destroyed vehicles (Strykers, once lit on fire, stay that way generally) but we did it.

It took about 4 days, but we own the place now, and another cease-fire has been declared.

Didn't take long for someone to tell us we, and the legitimate gov't of Iraq, lost.

At least I know that it's all out in the news and Stars and Stripes so I ain't violating OPSEC now.
Congrats on the good work.
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