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Who Will Ultimately Control Iraq? Bush or the Shiite Majority?

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Message Ron Fullwood
Sadr and his Shiite following are on the outs, and we're targeting them with our military

Up until now our military has been waging their war against Iraq's minority Sunni population, claiming to be fighting al-Qaeda. Now there's a push to step up attacks on Sadr's Mahdi Army, which should escalate as the Bush administration and their puppets in the Iraqi regime aim their aggression against the Shiite leader and his followers.

One of the tactics I expect to come in the next few days will be an attempt by Bush and his minions to further associate Sadr's forces with Iran as they increase their assaults on the Shiite areas of Baghdad and elsewhere.

Yesterday, the Bush government downplayed the exit of ministers aligned with Sadr from the Iraqi parliament, suggesting that the move was actually a "positive development."

After meeting with King Abdullah II of Jordan, Defense Secretary Gates told reporters that, "There is an opportunity to turn what might seem like a negative potential into a positive development . . . The impact these resignations have will depend in some measure on who is selected to replace those ministers . . . and whether those vacancies are used in a way that could further advance the reconciliation process," he said."

What Gates expects - and what Maliki is counting on with his own support for the Sadr coalition's exit - is that the new Iraqi regime will now be able to consolidate their manufactured authority by replacing the Shiite ministers with members who would be more compliant than those who had openly resisted and protested the government's closeness with the U.S. occupiers.

However, the unity the Maliki regime may achieve within the bubble of the echo chamber they're planning for their reorganized parliament is not going to translate on the Iraqi street into any of the reconciliation Maliki claims he wants with those actively engaged in militarized resistance to his rule. Stabilizing the Iraqi regime is a far stretch from stabilizing the Iraqi landscape which has produced an increase of casualties among our forces as Bush's escalation proceeds.

By insisting on accommodating and encouraging Bush's escalation, Maliki has driven away the very entity in Sadr's influence which enabled the U.S. to quell the violence enough for the initial elections to take place; the very elections which enabled Maliki to assume power. The seemingly effortless act of organizing the bulk of his followers to put aside their armed resistance and proceed to the polls to vote was essential to Bush's ambition to follow through on his promise for elections right after he was returned to office in 2004. It's no exaggeration to assert that without the efforts of Sadr and his spiritual counterpart, Sistani, there would likely have been no elections at all within the timetable Bush had planned.

Earlier in the month, at the assumed direction of Sadr, thousands of residents of Sadr City headed to Najaf and rallied against the occupation. Those thousands of peaceful protesters could easily be transformed into an overwhelming 'surge' of Iraqi humanity in the streets which could bring a new reality to the puny coalition forces as they are confronted by sustained, massive protests from the restless, exasperated population of Iraqi millions. There needn't be a militarized response from Sadr. There is a clear majority of Iraqis who want nothing at all to do with their U.S. invader/occupiers who could grind the new regime to a halt with their refusal to recognize their false, compromised authority.

The increasingly autocratic Maliki regime is positioning their government to become even more isolated from the will of Iraqis that the U.S. occupation end. It's inevitable that our military forces will be directed by Bush and his generals to step-up their intimidation of Iraqis who would resist their anti-democratic consolidation of power as the regime's public support fades.

Bush and his republican enablers just couldn't wait to bring us to this point. We can only hope that when the Shiite Iraqis do take to the streets, along with other Iraqis -- and they most certainly will now that Sadr is outside of the governmental process -- there will be a peaceful transformation of reality which will hasten Bush's realization of just who owns the sovereign nation; the U.S. junta and their hunkered-down, overburdened protectors, or the majority and pride of the citizens of Iraq.
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Ron Fullwood, is an activist from Columbia, Md. and the author of the book 'Power of Mischief' : Military Industry Executives are Making Bush Policy and the Country is Paying the Price
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