Saturday, April 19, 2008

Iraq troops in control of Basra?

So says the NY Times, which reports that Muqtada al-Sadr has ordered his Mahdi Army forces to withdraw following attacks by Iraq army troops (remember, many of them are members of the Badr Force militia of Sadr's rival Abdul-aziz al-Hakim) and pounding by US and British artillery and air forces. In fact, the headline in the London Times is "British Guns Pound Basra". When I first spotted it I wondered if they were running one of those "On this date 91 years ago" kind of stories.

Meanwhile, US and Iraqi troops are savaging Sadr City in Baghdad, and Muqtada is threatening an all-out campaign if Iraqi PM Nuri al-Maliki doesn't rein in his forces. Very noteworthy here is the Iranian official reaction, which sides with Maliki vs. Muqtada, even though Iran has been providing support to the militias of both sides. However, Muqtada is - much more than al-Hakim - an Iraqi nationalist who wants to see a strong central government in Baghdad, which makes him a greater threat down the line to the Iranian regime's hopes of maintaining a strong influence over Iraq affairs. al-Hakim is much more interested in a loosely federated Iraq with a Shia super-state in the south that would have very close ties to Iran's mullahs.

No comments:


Blog Archive

Cluster map

Search This Blog

ICAHD - 18,000 Homes Campaign (large banner)