April 13, 2004


Nobody can accuse these guys of arrogant unilateralism:

Informed sources in London have revealed that a decision to activate "Shi'i resistance" in Iraq was made at a conference held in the British capital, London, in mid-March 2004. Representatives of major Islamic movements attended the conference, in addition to some dignitaries close to Shi'i leader Muqtada al-Sadr.

See how easy it is to get things moving when France isn't involved?

A reliable Shi'i source said that the conference included the prominent Islamic movements in Europe; representatives of the Islamic movement in Iraq with both its Shi'i and Sunni parts, especially a representative of the young Imam Muqtada al-Sadr; a representative of the international organization of Hezbollah; and representatives of other Islamic organizations from the Middle East region.

Hey, they’ve even got an exit strategy:

As a tenuous cease-fire held in the Sunni city of Fallujah, a radical Shiite cleric was on the retreat Monday, pulling his militiamen out of parts of the holy city of Najaf in hopes of averting a U.S. assault. Still, a U.S. commander said the American mission remained to "kill or capture" the cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr.

Posted by Tim Blair at April 13, 2004 11:34 PM

Wouldn't it have been easier to "kill or capture" half the leadership while they were in London? Just a thought.

Posted by: Sergio at April 13, 2004 at 11:55 PM

No... we should have engaged them in extensive dialogue and established a committee to consider the grievances against the infidel Israel. Then we should have negotiated the partition and re-alignment of present day Spain in order to assuage the hurt feelings from 1492. Then once the committee agreed to shira law in Europe everyone could have made nice!

Posted by: JEM at April 14, 2004 at 12:09 AM

Agreed, Sergio, but there's a chance this conference story is a beat-up.

Posted by: tim at April 14, 2004 at 12:30 AM

Hm. Sounds to me as if Muqtada al-Sadr has discovered the Oh-Shit Factor (previously explored by the esteemed Osama bin Laden). Perhaps Mr. al-Sadr's cronies in the Islamic movements of Europe should take note.

Posted by: Rebecca at April 14, 2004 at 02:22 AM

See how easy it is to get things moving when France isn't involved?

Great, Tim! That's got to be the best line of the day.

Posted by: George at April 14, 2004 at 02:55 AM

Nice to see the Shia have an exit strategy but the Americans still don't.

It was the Americans who introduced private militia in Iraq last year when Ahmed Chalabis gang were choppered in. The locals didn't even know who he was!!

Posted by: rhactive at April 14, 2004 at 03:08 AM

uh i believe America's exit strategy is to see that Saddam is captured (check), scour the country for WMD's (check), stop Iraq from being a terrorist way station (check), have the Iraqis write a constitution (check), have the Iraqis hold elections (check) and then get out.


Posted by: hen at April 14, 2004 at 03:49 AM

The Bush exit strategy for Iraq is called "Victory".

Contrasted that with the exit strategy of all too many people "Admit defeat and run away as fast as possible."

Which is more likely to work?

P.S. Let me see...the US let private militia exist, but abolish the force formed by Chalabi and the INC despite their effectiveness...

...Or is it the US abolished private militia but let their attention slip from the one being formed by Al-Sadr?

Please be consistent here.

Posted by: C.T. at April 14, 2004 at 04:39 AM

Dignitaries? Close to Al-Sadr? Does anyone believe there is such an animal?

Posted by: Dwayne Chasteen at April 14, 2004 at 06:05 AM

Hen- nice format, let me finish it for you:

Disarm Iraq of it's WMD (fail),

Reduce terrorism in the short term and long term(fail),

transfer power to a 'credible' interim body(fail),

create an environment for a smooth transfer of sovereignty to Iraqis (fail)

Enable Iraq to rebuild itself with foreign assistance (failing)

Seeing the Americans muddle through another disaster (priceless).

Posted by: rhactive at April 14, 2004 at 09:28 AM

CT- "Please be consistent here."

I agree CT. Let's be consistent. The US attempted to curb the only militia that was highly critical of the occupation.

Posted by: rhactive at April 14, 2004 at 09:31 AM

The US is trying to curb the militia that wants to set Sadr up as the new Saddam. Wouldn't that be fun?

Here's a country that has had tyrannical thugs running it since 1958 and everybody is having kittens because one year after liberation it's not as peaceful and democratic as Laconic, Vermont. Get real.

The US and its allies have given the Iraqis their one chance to become free. Nobody else believes they can rule themselve, they must have a Saddam to rule them. The Euros don't believe it. The UN doesn't believe it. Their "Brother Arabs" don't believe it. Rhactive doesn't believe it. Even many Iraqis don't believe it; they form Sadr's militia and the Sunni thugs of Falluja. To all these people the Iraqis are just a bunch of Wogs who need a Son-of-a-bitch to rule them.

Only Bush and the Neo-cons, and a few others like Blair and Howard, think that the Iraqis too are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

As for terrorism, if it is not stamped out now it will grow more violent and assertive in the future, until nukes are used. It is symbiotic with thug regimes, and its recruits come from the failing Arab countries ruled by tyrants. Even if you believe in the "root causes" and attribute the allure of terrorism to economic problems, these problems arise in large part because of the way those thug regimes rule. They stand in the way of their own people making economic progress, and divert them from that by hideous anti-Western, anti-American, and anti-Semitic propaganda lies.

This dysfunctional political culture must be changed to something decent in order to smash the terrorists. Iraq was the best and most promising place to start this. That is why we went into Iraq and that is why we are trying to reform it.

Posted by: Michael Lonie at April 14, 2004 at 11:04 AM

Michael Lonie, you write a lot of sense. So why do you bother with the unfunny cartoons?

Posted by: slatts at April 14, 2004 at 12:29 PM