Will the Center Hold in Iraq?
Bush's arrangement of the deck chairs on the Iraqitanic is irrelevant because ship is listing. The erratic heeling of this crippled craft is due to the untethered ballast below decks in the hold which is fluid, loose and moves unpredictably with each wave against the hull.
Bush's Officer-of-the-Deck, into whose eyes he looked in June and who he proclaimed to be 'the right man for Iraq', does not now want to serve out his term as Prime Minister. Instead, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has made it clear he dislikes being the country's leader and longs to leave Office before his four-year term ends in 2010.
I wish I could be done with it even before the end of this term. . . I didn't want to take this position. . . I only agreed because I thought it would serve the national interest, and I will not accept it again.Late last year, the New York Times published a memo from the White House national security adviser which contained a withering analysis of his leadership. It described him as
. . . a leader who wanted to be strong but was having difficulty figuring out how to do so . . . .So much for Bush's man in Iraq. But how about that moving ballast below decks? They are not the shy and retiring types are they?
Take Moqtada Al Sadr. Several times the Anglo-American coalition has made hints towards moving against the Mehdi army, but they never have taken him on directly. Tensions rose again this August, and some sources said U.S. and Iraqi forces had decided to mount an offensive against al-Sadr with the intent to kill him. But in October 2006, he made public appearances with the current president of Iraq which raised his stature and perceived influence in Malicki's government.
His demands are clear: he wants a time table for American withdrawal; otherwise he will not play ball with the elected deck furniture. He told Newsweek on 8-May-06:
. . . things became clear and resulted in the Sadr trend—a powerful, loyal political and military force. I reach out my hand to cooperate and to make peace in Iraq, to drive away the shadow of the armies of darkness. The occupation is the creator of all problems. I pray to Allah to take away the problems and their creator.And in the stormy aftermath of Saddam's hanging, the Sunni Baathists announced their appointment of Hussein's former deputy, Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, as its new leader. Mr Douri was the thin, red-headed dapper-clothed figure of military stature, usually seen wearing a military-style beret. Douri was the King of Clubs in the US military's deck of cards and still has a $10 million award on his head. This is the same guy whom the Los Angeles Times just last Sunday pronounced as having been killed sometime in 2005. This announcement of his death seems to have been premature.
Their threats are still on, and my life is cheap as a price for the service of Islam. America is baring its teeth against Shiite mosques and sanctuaries.
There is no Sunni or Shia resistance; there is an Iraqi Islamic resistance.
There is only an incomplete sovereignty in Iraq, which means that the occupation is the decision maker. Any attack is their responsibility. The U.S. ambassador and Rumsfeld have ignited the sectarian crisis here.
Everyone builds Iraq the way he sees fit. The most important issue is the timetable for the U.S. withdrawal. We know there will be no justice under occupation, at any time and any place. In fact, there will be no stability for anyone, since Iraq defines the destiny of the world.
He has had national control of the Baath party and its insurgency since Saddam Hussein's capture in December 2003. In an internet statement posted Tuesday, this fugitive deputy vowed that Saddam's execution would only strengthen the anti-US insurgency. As the most senior leader of the ousted regime still at large, Douri called for the formation of a broad resistance front to free Iraq from US occupation:
Saddam Hussein`s assassination at the criminal hands of the US administration and its English, Zionist and Persian Safavid allies will only strengthen the determination of the Baath, its people and the Arab nation to wage jihad and resistance until the enemy is destroyed and Iraq liberated . . . .Whether bridges across the sectarian divides can be built remains to be seen. But, I submit, Douri and Al Sadr will be around after Maliki withdraws or is erased from the scene.
I call on the valiant commanders of the jihad and the brave fighters in all jihadi groups to strive seriously to create a jihad and resistance front .. in order to destroy the enemy and liberate our beloved homeland . . . .
. . . .I vow to pursue the sacred jihad and step it up until the total liberation of our homeland. . . .
From this it is understood that Douri is appealing to his following among the Baathists and the Sunni clans to heed Saddam's last demands to quit the anti-Shiia strikes and instead to unite behind national front to avenge and expel Iraq's invaders.