"No nation can make itself secure by seeking supremacy over all others." -- Kofi Annan, farewell address at the Truman Library in Independence, Mo. Monday, Dec. 11, 2006
So, Sadr quits the Iraqi govt. because of its ties to Bush. Now, Bush wants to 'confront' him militarily. What happened to diplomacy in Iraq? Iraq is Sadr's country, not Bush's.
Yesterday, it was reported that the Iraqi politicians who met with Bush this week in the WH are planning to edge Maliki out of power in an effort led by senior Shiite politician Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, who met with President Bush last week. Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim's Badr forces have been used in the past to attack Sadr's Mahdi Army. Bush is undoubtedly backing al-Hakim to marginalize Sadr, but the consequences could be that Sadr's followers no longer make the effort to work out their differences in the political arena.
The NYT reported yesterday on Bush's attempt to sideline Sadr:
"Following discussions with the Bush administration, several of Iraq's major political parties are in talks to form a coalition whose aim is to break the powerful influence of the radical Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr within the government, senior Iraqi officials say. The talks are taking place among the two main Kurdish groups, the most influential Sunni Arab party and an Iranian-backed Shiite party that has long sought to lead the government. They have invited Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki to join them. But Mr. Maliki, a conservative Shiite who has close ties to Mr. Sadr, has held back for fear that the parties might be seeking to oust him, a Shiite legislator close to Mr. Maliki said. ... The Americans, who are frustrated with Mr. Maliki's political dependence on Mr. Sadr, appear to be working hard to help build the coalition. President Bush met last week in the White House with the leader of the Iranian-backed Shiite party, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, and is to meet this week with the head of the Sunni Arab party, Tariq al-Hashemi. ... The visits of Mr. Hakim and Mr. Hashemi to the White House are directly related to their bid to form a new alliance, a senior Iraqi official said."
The arrogance of Bush using his influence to meddle in Iraq's politics while he continues his military occupation is stunning. Even more perplexing is why Bush is seemingly willing to accept the tradeoff which would occur by replacing Sadr as an ally of Maliki with al-Hakim, because, the Shiite leader is also a close ally of Bush's nemesis, Iran.
What possible outcome can result from Bush using the Badr brigades (rivals to Sadr's contingent) as a wedge, rather than exhausting the avenues of reconciliation? It's another example of Bush's reflexive use of his militarism in a situation where a military solution is the least rational option. The LATimes reported today that the Pentagon is planning on sending even more of our soldiers to Iraq for, among other things, a "major military offensive" against Sadr:
"As President Bush weighs new policy options for Iraq, strong support has coalesced in the Pentagon behind a military plan to "double down" in the country with a substantial buildup in American troops, an increase in industrial aid and a major combat offensive against Muqtada Sadr, the radical Shiite leader impeding development of the Iraqi government."
Such a move by Bush would be the latest provocation from the U.S. which has provoked the factions in Iraq to war against each other since the invasion; and after the installed 'Interim Authority" purged the Iraqi govt. and the military of Batthists and facilitated an advantage for the 'election', under U.S. military occupation, of the present Shiite majority.
It's Bush who is the obstacle to reconciliation in Iraq by continuing to insist that the U.S. role is to help the new regime to survive, and then pursuing nothing to effect that role except encouraging even more military confrontation with the detractors and resisters. Why should Sadr's protest walk from the puppet government only be addressed as an act of war by Bush? The price Sadr, and the civilians who reside in Sadr City and Ramadi, will have to pay for their rejection of Bush's undue influence over their country's government, may be a bloody one if Bush gets his way and gives his blessing to attacks on the Shiite spiritual leader, and on his 60,000 some followers.
That's been how our country has been represented around the world under Bush: As a bully who mows down everyone in the way of his ambitions, no matter that our military forces are far from their own homeland and the electorate who they are supposed to be accountable to. The projection of Bush's influence in Iraq is still being directed at the point of the U.S. weapons and by our soldiers who prosecute his politically driven assaults on Iraq communities as our troops operate as best they can on one side of a multi-fronted civil war.
Despite the will of the American electorate who voted overwhelmingly for their legislators to engineer an exit from Iraq, Bush is intent on moving "forward" with a scheme which could only have come from the defunct cabal in Rumsfeld's Pentagon, and from Condi's State Dept.. The individuals who sent our troops to Iraq and work to keep them bogged down there, are still in place as Bush promised yesterday to, "listen to all aspects of government" instead of to the American people, or even, listen to the bipartisan ISG as they recommend withdrawing from Iraq.
These administration lackeys in the WH and in the Pentagon who are busy formulating a counter-response to the ISG proposals, have not been subjected, by Congress, to the level of scrutiny required to hold them accountable. Despite the ouster of Rumsfeld, he's still hovering around; the mark of his militaristic manner all over Bush's defiance and evasion of the judgment of the electorate.
You have to wonder if the incoming defense chief, Gates, will be overwhelmed by the entrenched, pro-occupation, pro-confrontation cabal who still serve as Bush's brain on Iraq. After all, Bush is still secure in his role as the "decider" as he unilaterally decides which laws he'll obey, and which ones he'll reinterpret in his favor. It's not credible to expect that Bush will make himself accountable to his own lackeys, much less to the new defense chief.