“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Friday, December 01, 2006

Iraq's Fortunes Under the Domination of Moqtada al-Sadr- Regrets Part II.

An ominous sign of things to come in Iraq?
Baghdad (AINA) -- Followers of Moqtada al-Sadr have issued a fatwa concerning school girls, according to an Assyrian priest in Baghdad. The fatwa requires all girls to wear the veil while attending school. In an unusual twist of logic, the fatwa implies that failure to wear the veil would be tantamount on the girls' part to complicity in the death of the Imam Husayn ibn Ali (killed in 680 A.D. in Karbala in a battle with the army of the Caliphate.)

The priest indicated the fatwa was at least for the New Baghdad neighborhood, where many Christians live, and that he feared for the safety of the Christian girls in the area.

The fatwa appears to be an attempt by Sadr and his followers to establish a Taliban style Islamic theocracy in Iraq. According to an article in the Middle East Journal, "Muqtada called on May 2 [2003] for strict Islamic law to be applied to Iraq's Christians, as well, including the prohibition on bars and on allowing women to appear unveiled. This ruling appears to be a restatement of one of his father's fatwas, but this time the al-Sadr family had the authority to make it stick in some parts of Iraq. In contrast, Grand Ayatollah Sistani issued a statement saying that the Najaf establishment had not called for forcible veiling."
Editor's note: AINA has withheld the name of the priest to ensure his safety.
Newsweek has put together a very sobering issue on the rise of Moqtada al-Sadr.

Dec. 4, 2006 issue - One way to understand Moqtada al-Sadr is to think of him as a young Mafia don. He aims for respectability, and is willing to kill for it. Yet the extent of his power isn't obvious to the untrained eye. He has no standing army or police force, and the Mahdi Army gunmen he employs have no tanks or aircraft. You could mistake him—at your peril—for a common thug or gang leader. And if he or his people were to kill you for your ignorance, he wouldn't claim credit. But the message would be clear to those who understand the brutal language of the Iraqi Street.

American soldiers who patrol Sadr's turf in Baghdad understand. They can spot his men. "They look like they're pulling security," says First Lt. Robert Hartley, a 25-year-old who plays cat and mouse with the Mahdi Army in the Iraqi capital. The Sadrists use children and young men as lookouts. When GIs get out of their Humvees to patrol on foot, one of the watchers will fly a kite, or release a flock of pigeons. Some of Sadr's people have even infiltrated top ranks of the Iraqi police. Capt. Tom Kapla, 29, says he knows who they are: "They look at you, and you can tell they want to kill you."... Read all of it

Oil painting by S. Caballero


  1. "The Sadrists use children and young men as lookouts. When GIs get out of their Humvees to patrol on foot, one of the watchers will fly a kite, or release a flock of pigeons."

    A hundred years from now these will form the Iraqi's own Paul Revere if by land, two if by sea and .357 if through the window!

  2. What a coincidence! Amazing how these things happen at the same time. Another government under threat.

    BBC reporting:Huge opposition rally in Beirut

    Hezbollah estimated hundreds of thousands of people had turned out
    Tens of thousands of supporters of the Hezbollah movement and its pro-Syrian allies have gathered in Beirut to protest against Lebanon's government.
    Security is tight amid fears that Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah's call to force out an "incapable government" could lead to violence.

  3. Mr al-Sadr's dad would be so proud.
    His student and youngest son are gettin' it done, after all these years.

    An assist, of course to Mr Bush and Ms Rice, along with the US Military, the Marines most of all, if Mr Senor's recollections are accurate. The new Corps Values have came a long way from Iwo Jima, that is for sure. Hue City as well.

    We allowed for a proportional electoral system to be installed, a System rejected by the US Founding Fathers for US. We are now harvesting the fruits of our ignorant Labors, bitter fruit indeed.

    At the BC the posters are still stuck in 2003, calling for elimination of Mohammedan finaciers, Imams and rabble rousers.

    Even the Military has joined the choir, some calling for US Policy to "Go Native". Way to late, for that solution, now, to be effective.

    Talk about being a day late and a dollar short. Then there are the calls for the Diem option, but Mr Bush seems to have rejected that, at least publicly, while in Jordan.

    Mr Bush wouldn't have lied, would he?

    As Great Grandma Rat used to say, "You've made your bed, now sleep in it".

  4. What is the real concern?
    The Sunni are decamping Iraq at the rate of 100,000 per month for Syria and Jordan. There were only 5 million or so of them to start.

    If the Iraqi Government is given control of it's Army, as promised in Jordan by Mr Bush, the rate of the exodus should increase.

    Three or four more years, there will be no Sunni in Iraq to cause further problems. The sea will be drained, the Insurgent "fish" left on a mud flat.

    doug tells US once again that the Sunni of Anbar have turned on aQ, but his ajstrata story does not mention the Six Enemy Tribes of Anbar, those that have joined forces with aQ. Selective reporting and spin is not limited to the MSM, aye?

    hdgreene, at BC, speaks of "Death Squads" in Salvador during the 80's and tries to draw comparisons. Truth is those were vigilantes that were aligned with US, those antiCommunist Death Squad fellows.
    Perhaps it is the same in Iraq, that Mr al-Sadr is really a deep cover US Proxy.

    All part of the "Master Plan"

  5. Desert rat said, "We allowed for a proportional electoral system to be installed, a System rejected by the US Founding Fathers for US."

    Our political system was installed after a clean boot, while Iraq has a sectarian division so intense even the chairman of the Joint Chiefs says Iraqi Army ops have to be fine-tuned to match the "flavor" of the local culture in the target zone.

  6. Now, when Hezbollah takes over Lebanon how will the US react?

    When a terrorist group, explicitly named by Mr Bush in his '02 State of the Union, gains a country do we just sit by and watch. Or do we turrn to Mecca and pray for salvation?

  7. Tony Snow reads comments at BC for ideas on how to recast takeover by Islamic Extremists as the Budding Fruits of Freedom and Democracy.
    Speaking of Budding, Snow also scans Bud's comments for defensive boilerplate to answer the pesky MSM interrogators.

  8. "do we just sit by and watch"
    We watch reruns of that '02 speech with Norkor style captions featuring Bud's Boilerplate:

    "What's been going on around here is rhetorical fragging--and as you know that's damn near as bad for the fragger as it is the fraggee, and whether or not it's deserved is only partly part of the equation."

    "Siding with someone halfway ain't siding at all. It's just biding time while looking around for a better deal. "
    If the artilleryman ignores all input, stays the course on co-ordinates and continues to miss the target, find a way to describe why it is a GOOD thing to miss the target.
    AND our patriotic duty to support the Artilleryman in Chief.

    The object of communication is not truth, but support for the maximum leader.
    Let those under the throes of Islamofacism fall where they may.

    They live in a Democracy now, thanks to us.
    It's NeoRealism, those schoolgirls and gay guys and Christians will just have to learn how to live with it, when possible.

  9. Karridine said...

    "But while we're on the subject, the prostitution of art and literature to debased purposes is forbidden as a way to spiritual growth or social enhancement, AP!

    Baha'u'llah says God forbids it.

    He ALSO calls us to the independent investigation of truth, honesty and trustworthiness in all our affairs, and forthrightness in our reports..

  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  11. Neither system works when the President sacrifices all connection with objective reality for Legacy Salvation.

  12. Now, when Hezbollah takes over Lebanon how will the US react?

    d'Rat, Why should it be for the US to react? Why should it be not for the Lebanese to react? They have plenty of counterfeit money and Saudi petro dollars to buy what ever weapons they need.

  13. Dave H, makes my argument for me over at the Belmont Club..

    Quote: "Withdraw to 2 or 3 secure bases in the North, sell arms(small arms only to Sunni and Shia alike. Let the Saudis supply cash for their unjustly treated bretherin, sell plenty of big arms to the Kurds, encourage them to bite off what pieces of Turkey, Syria or Iran or for that matter any other places where there might be some Kurds, if any of these object, shake a big air power finger in their faces. Draw all US troops out of Korea and Germany, dissolve both United Nations and NATO."

  14. Dave H,

    As long as they're busy going at each other's throats they'll be too busy to go after ours. Saudia and Iran can play their proxy wars in Iraq and Lebanon, we'll sell the ammunition.

  15. Glad to welcome some new faces, Dave H.and epictetus.

  16. mat, It matters too the US because the President drew a line in the sand. It will be crossed in short order.
    How the US reacts when it is will be telling.
    We let it slide in Somalia, aQ terrorists siezing a Nation State, but Somalia is not much of a Nation State. Lebanon is another matter, in '02 Mr Bush laid down a marker for all of US. Hezbollah was mentioned by name.

    We shall all see how serious he was and is.

  17. dave h said, "Well thanks mat, I didn't know anybody read antyhing I posted over at BC."

    Scholars scan everything, and the scintilliating scores scads.

  18. d'Rat,

    What does that mean in practical terms?

  19. dave H,

    Nobody posts anymore at Belmont Club. It's too crowded.

    (HT Yogi Berra)

  20. If Mr Bush was serious about combating terrorists, keeping them from obtaining or maintaining bases of operation, calling Hezbollah by name.
    If they attempt to depose the current Lebanonese government, to the lament but inaction of the US, it means that we are at the end of the string.

    There will be no Iranian strike, ever, if it does not occur as Hezbollah strikes at Lebanon.

    Almost as good a provocation, for US action, as Iran & HB nuking Haifa. If the fall of Lebanon to HB is not enough, nothing will be.

    A direct Bush Doctrine provocation, there could be no greater Red on Purple provocation.

  21. Hell he wanted to ration everyone to two or three posts per thread, takes that many to say hello to each of Ms T's identities.

  22. DR,

    re: takes that many to say hello to each of Ms T's identities.

    DR, at this point you really should start taking cover. Think estrogen.

  23. Will Bush let the US be trumped by "democratic" process of "people power" in Lebanon.

    Paper tiger or we bite someone in the ass.

  24. Told old peterboston to bring lawyers, guns & money each time he said he wanted too kick my ass.

    He never came with nothin'
    & I'm not that hard to find.

    I'd have sent him a map.

  25. DR,

    re: a map

    You must be thinking of Calamity Jane. I had in mind desperate housewives at the waning of the moon.

  26. d'Rat,

    The US and France didn't care to fight for the Lebanese back in 80's, and they wont care to do it today. Israel doesn't care to fight for the Gucci Lebanese either. Hezzbbollah is a Lebanese problem. And it is a problem of the Lebanese' own making.

  27. I'd agree, mat, but for Mr Bush's bravado, with which he has committed the US.

    Gravitus, seriousness.
    Mr Bush seems not to understand how to deal with his own words. Lebanon is not a Lebanese problem, not any more.

    It is a Regional War or no War at all.

  28. In which case the canary dies, along with a greater bunch of vultures

  29. d'Rat,

    The Sunnis are being taught a lesson. It really is that simple.

  30. desert rat said:

    Hell he wanted to ration everyone to two or three posts per thread, takes that many to say hello to each of Ms T's identities.

    Maybe the Elephant Bar should nominate Catherine to delicately bring up that issue and take the lead in some kind of multiple personality disorder intervention, a sort of "hair of the dog that bit ya" solution.

  31. Dave H,

    Israel has a very fluid political system and the IDF has a very fluid command structure. Patronage jobs can be quickly washed out.

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