Sadr dumps Iran

Apparently Mr. Sadr (of Sadr City fame) has issued a statement accusing Iran of supporting al-Qaeda in Iraq. From what I can tell, this is big news (from the link at the bottom of the page):

Then what made Moqtada go in the direction he did?

It was the result of factors that accumulated over time, and matured during his visit to Tehran. Sadr finally realized that his role was only second or third to that of the SIIC of Hakim, or the Dawa Part. A situation that a young revolutionary leader who won all his fame and clout in just a few short years couldn’t tolerate. In those years his name, and his army, rocketed upward in the media headlines and proved a powerful presence on the ground. Realizing that he’s being treated as a #2 made the ambitious, poorly educated youngster lose his balance. And he had little balance to give, compared to the older big-names who have extensive experience in the political world.

The publicity he got and the power he thinks he has put him in a position of accepting nothing less than being #1.

By distancing himself from Iran by accusing them of conspiring with al-Qaeda, Sadr has not only weakened them but he has weakened himself. This is a good thing if you think its those three factions that are preventing peace in Iraq. (I should add that I think the American presence is also a force against peace in the long run. The problem is in the short run Americans are providing stability. When does the short run become the long run?)

11 thoughts on “Sadr dumps Iran”

  1. I haven’t been following the region too closely, but isn’t Iran run by hardcore Shiites, and isn’t al-Qaeda exclusively Sunni?

  2. Yeah. That was my point. You would expect a sort of ‘enemy of my enemy is my friend’ business from these three groups. That that’s not happening seems to be a good thing.

  3. Or maybe Sadr sees Iran and al-Qaeda’s influence in Iraq waning and he doesn’t want to be on the bad side of America/the Iraq government.

    In any case, this seems like a good thing… Go ahead, rain on my parade.

  4. So… maybe he’s talking out of his ass.
    Or maybe, the crowning achievement of George W. Bush’s presidency will be the reunification of Islam. Hi-larious.

  5. “reunification of Islam” would that be so bad? If they can work together, that means they compromised; if they compromised, that’s a sign they’re less radical; if they’re less radical they’re less likely to go a murder’n.

    Ideologues I can live with; its the murder I don’t like.

  6. I dunno, especially if the motive behind reunification is state-backed jihad. If I understand correctly, regular (as in non-radical) Sunnis and Shiites tend to get along already anyway.

    Radicals are bad for US interests, true. I think they’re a lot worse for the progressive or peaceful locals who live in those countries and have to deal with the radicals on a daily basis. Anything that reduces the radicals’ “cost of doing business” is bad for everyone else, as they can dedicate more resources toward their causes instead of spending them on survival.

    That whole “enemy of my enemy” bit only makes sense if you see your immediate enemy as a greater threat than his enemy. The Axis (dodging a Godwin here) was a greater threat to the allies than the Soviet Union, so enemy^2 worked out well for our side. It doesn’t work so well if you hate enemy^2 more than enemy^1.

  7. I don’t think the USSR/West alliance is a good analogy to this case. In that case, both groups had a pragmatic concern in common… they didn’t want Nazis (oops) crawling all over their respective countries. They weren’t the aggressors (at least at first) trying to spread their own ideology.

    In this case, the radical Sunni would have to compromise their ideology to get in bed with the radical Shia. If their ideologies are compromised, it kinda takes the air out of their jihad.

    (BTW, contemplating your response — “but if instead their just holding their noses and working together to fight the Americans…” — is getting me to half way thinking America should leave, ASAP… Would America be the only reason they’d work together? If we leave, how likely is it that these two groups would just consume each other in fighting? In other words, there’s be a bloody civil war, but it would be between two already bad radicalized factions? On the other hand, what if one of these two groups survived and won the conflict? Could we live with that?)

  8. Flip the analogy around, though please discard the moral implications. Call the Shia the West, the Sunnis the Soviets, and the US is the Axis.

    That’s where the whole “They’re all dedicated to the destruction of America” argument seems to fall apart. If that were their goal, their best move would be to cool down and lie low for a few years until US public interest fades. Like you said, though, if they were the compromising type, we wouldn’t be in this mess.

  9. On your blog, I’d like to see you break down “their best move would be to cool down and lie low for a few years until US public interest fades.” Its not obvious to me. I’ll expect your post to show up in my feed reader in the next day or so…

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