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A "senior US official" says that Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr fled to Iran several weeks ago, but al-Sadr's aides say that he's still in Iraq.
Juan Cole reviews the press coverage from the past few weeks and concludes that al-Sadr is probably still in Iraq.
Posted by Lindsay Beyerstein at 03:16:03 PM
in Iran, Iraq, Politics
Iran, Iraq, Muqtada al-Sadr
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I think you mean "al Sadr's aides" instead of "aids".
February 14, 2007 at 04:09 PM
But is Michael Ledeen still dead?
Tom Hilton |
February 14, 2007 at 04:32 PM
Here's the larger problem. Bush's 2003 Iraq War has so destablized Iraq and the entire Mideast balance of power that both major Shiite clerics, Muqtada al-Sadr and Ali al-Sistani have very strong ties to Iran. While cleric Ali al-Sistani is simply satisfied to set up a Iraqi Shiite theocracy state, which unfortunately only continued insures civil war with the 22% Sunni minority, cleric Muqtada al-Sadr likely has been seeking arms from outside of Iraq Shiite supporters or even the official government or Shiite clergy of Iran for his Mahdi Army organization, and no doubt has designs to force the U.S. out of Iraq and eventually push for an armed overthrow of the Iraqi government and a push to power.
The problem in all of this is that Sunni supporters in Saudi Arabia are also becoming involved and sending support to the Sunni elements in Iraq.Yesterday, Al Qaeda, the Sunni terrorist organization targeted Revolutionary Guard forces in Iran in a car bombing, killing 12 soldiers and 6 civilians. So this sectarian conflict from Iraq is already spilling into neighboring Iran, and likely will start to hit Saudi Arabia soon with terrorist attacks, organized by Iran in response.
The makings and pieces for a huge regional sectarian war in the MidEast and a showdown between the Sunni and Shiite sects seem to be falling into place. If the U.S. leaves Iraq, then Iran and Saudi Arabia at first uses Iraq to stage a bloody proxy sectarian war, then the huge Iranian military invades Iraq and then pushes on to overthrow the Saudi Arabian government and set up a Shiite puppet state there and possiby in other Sunni states such as Syria. This will cetainly disrupt the oil supply from the MidEast and bring Western economies to a near grinding halt as oil supplies become very short, risking the possibility of even a world war over oil assets taking roots in this MidEast conflict.
The worst legacy of the Bush Administration is to have so destabilized the entire MidEast, setting up the region for a huge sectarian war. Somehow the sectarian conflict must be politically resolved in Iraq as an important key to preventing this massive sectarian conflict from more spillover, more and more involving both Iran and Saudi Arabia fighting a proxy sectarian war on opposite sides and even the small, but potent Al Qaeda organization becoming involved.
Paul Hooson |
February 15, 2007 at 10:45 AM
The makings and pieces for a huge regional sectarian war in the MidEast and a showdown between the Sunni and Shiite sects seem to be falling into place.
Which means that as far as the neocons are concerned, everything is going according to plan.
The worst legacy of the Bush Administration is to have so destabilized the entire MidEast, setting up the region for a huge sectarian war.
"Worst" by what measure, Paul? Certainly not for the "thinkers" behind our foreign policy. Isn't it clear at this point that chaos and bloodshed (other people's blood, it goes without saying) are, from the standpoint of the Administration, features, and not bugs? War is a form of global hygiene to these people: it "clarifies" and "cleanses."
Consider the President's words yesterday. Is the Iranian government responsible for the deaths of US forces in Iraq? It doesn't matter.
Uncle Kvetch |
February 15, 2007 at 12:03 PM
A good day to you, Uncle Kvetch. The neocons actually wished for stability and security in a nonSaddam Hussein Iraq that would help to explore the suspected 220 billion barrels of undiscovered oil in Iraq, thought to be the world's largest unexplored reserves, more than all the oil that currently exists in Saudi Arabia, and equal to a 98 year supply for the U.S.
Since 1977, all known large oil reserves, including the giant Ghawar oil field in Saudi Arabia have been forcing production to keep up with pre1977 levels by pumping vast amounts of sea water, air or gas injection to maintain oil output levels similiar to previous oil production levels prior to 1977. 1977 was largely considered the to be the "peak oil" point period by many scientists, with this current oil production decline a result of that point being surpassed.
Some of the post 1977 "peak oil" production level drops despite seawater, air or gas injection to maintain previous production levels have been absolutely alarming. The Saudi Arabian Ghawar oil field maintains production of 4.5 million barrels a day by pumping in 7 million barrels of sea water each day. The giant Russian Samotler oil field has seen production drop from 3.5 million barrels a day down to just 325,000 barrels a day. Field Forty in the North Sea has lost production from a peak of 500,000 barrels a day down to just 50,000 barrels a day. Columbia's Beana Cruz oil field has dropped in production from a peak of 500,000 barrels a day down to just 200,000 barrels a day. In the meantime, the demand for oil continues to grow, with the booming economy of China and demand in the U.S. the main customers for more and more oil to maintain the society and economy.
The Bush Administration was largely comprised of specic interest groups such as oil, defense contractors and members of the PNAC(Project For The New American Century), the neocon think tank that provided members such as Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, John Bolton, Paul Wolfowitz and others to the Bush Administration foreign policy and defense planning team. The expected result came as highly suspect evidence was used as a pretext to invade Iraq and to install what was hoped to be a more moderate and stable government that would allow U.S. oil industry interests to explore and develop the huge unexplored oil reserves of Iraq.
In his September 18, 1998 testimony to the House National Security Committee, PNAC member, Paul Wolfowitz pretty much summed up the future neoconservative philosophy goals for Iraq that would become the basis of the Bush Administration's foreign policy, "A provisional government of (free) Iraq to control the largest oil field in Iraq and make available to it, under some kind of international supervision, enormous financial resources for political, humanitarian and eventually military purposes". In other words, the U.S. and Western world had a tremendous obligation to invade Iraq, change the government so that the huge Iraqi oil reserves could be developed and both the U.S. and Iraq would derive some major financial and societal benefits.
Oil development and the implied resulting stability for Iraq were the main reasons for the U.S. entry into the 2003 Iraq War, but instead the entire neocon philosophy that this war to control the oil assets of Iraq would bring much good to the MidEast area miserably failed and now invites huge failure consequences as the entire MidEast is destabilized politically and sectarian warfare is a growing problem expanding beyond the borders of Iraq, threatening the entire region with serious sectarian violence and potentially seriously disrupting the Western world oil supply, not securing it.
Paul Hooson |
February 15, 2007 at 01:29 PM
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