“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."

Monday, December 04, 2006

White House Bound. Abdel Aziz al-Hakim is coming to help.

Search for peace: US reaches out to Shia leader

4 December 2006

WASHINGTON - US President George W. Bush will reach out on Monday to a powerful Iraqi Shia cleric in search for ways to rein in sectarian violence spinning out of control and threatening to undo his plans for Iraq.

Abdel Aziz al-Hakim, who heads the pro-Iranian Supreme Council of Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), will make an unprecedented stop at the White House as the president and his advisers try to halt what appears to be Iraq’s inexorable slide toward civil war.

In fact, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan suggested, in an interview broadcast Monday, the Iraqi civil war was already under way, taking the lives of innocent people every day.

“When we had the strife in Lebanon and other places, we called that a civil war—this is much worse,” Annan told BBC television.

Backing his assessment up, at least 30 Iraqis were killed and 50 new bodies were found in Baghdad Sunday in another spasm of religious strife.

Hakim does not hold any post in the current government because of a decision made early on not to include theologians in day-to-day government operations.

But he wields enormous power because of SCIRI’s military wing, the Badr Brigade, whose strength is estimated by US experts to reach anywhere between 4,000 and 10,000 men.

The invitation issued to Hakim has given rise to speculation that in the face of rising violence, the Bush administration has decided to cast its lot with majority Shias.

But national security adviser Stephen Hadley firmly dismissed the notion Sunday.

“Absolutely not,” he declared to NBC News. “What we’ve been working for, of course, is the democratic Iraq ... which for the first time in the history of Iraq and the first time in the history of the region have Sunni, Shia, Kurds and other groups working together in partnership to try and bring in a democratic Iraq.”

Hadley made it clear that Iraqi militias operating outside of the law have to be brought to justice, and US and Iraqi forces were already mounting joint operations “to go after death squad leaders.”


  1. From the previous thread...

    "Dave H said...
    I kind of hate to even say it, I have suspected Wretchard himself. Cedarford just reasons too well, his posts gradually creep up on reality, then its as though he says to himself, "hey what am I doing, I have to get back in charcter". Does a blog benefit from a resident troll?

    I have no evidence of course, but even some of Wretchard's posts as Wretchard can take a somewhat contrarian view to what I think of as the majority in the BC, its as though he wants to moderate them a bit."

    If you don't mind a longer post, I've been paying attention to Cedarford's writings for the past few years, because it is like looking into a time-capsule.

    Cedarford isn't Wretchard, he's his own person. I've watched this meme get off the ground and it just dumbfounds me.

    From what I've gathered he'd been around a number of blogs before he hit Belmont Club. He posted today at Althouse's blog. He also said at one point that he had been a nuclear engineer in Rickover's force, and he's made a number of posts on similar issues to confirm more than amateurish knowledge.

    His authoritarian politics, anti-semitism, and protectionist economics are contemporary to right-wing 1930s Europe. I would say, literally, a fascist, but not a Nazi. He's got an American flavor and at least ostensibly considers the Nazis to be bastards themselves, if not the extremely horrible creatures that most people consider them.

    He's also obviously a very smart guy whose politics are distorted by his prejudices ("ACLU Jews," having to work in jabs at the Israelis, "Judeo-Bolsheviks), etc). The fact that he's coming from an entirely different political base means that he stakes out opininions that are outside the mainstream of most modern American political philosophies. Some is worth listening to for balance, some isn't.

    He's also a polemical opportunist. Discrediting the opponent's argument is all that matters. There's always an ulterior motive beyond the current argument. He'll use any argument to sell his established dopinion, even if he knows it isn't valid.

  2. "“Absolutely not,” he declared to NBC News. “What we’ve been working for, of course, is the democratic Iraq ... which for the first time in the history of Iraq and the first time in the history of the region have Sunni, Shia, Kurds and other groups working together in partnership to try and bring in a democratic Iraq.”"
    Then comes Santa Claus, the Easter Rabbit, and of course, the Tooth Fairy.

  3. Negotiating with the Badrists? I fail to see the gain for us since the security forces are apparently overrun with Badrists already. I imagine the Badrists want to come out of the sectarian closet, and stop pretending they are something else.

    ...and US and Iraqi forces were already mounting joint operations “to go after death squad leaders.
    Ah for fuck sake who are you trying to fool Hadley? What is with the "already" part? The sunni murderers are already called insurgents and being hunted, half the shiite murderers are Badrists and already part of the Iraqi forces, that leaves the shiite Sadrists, who are already being hunted 50% of the time.

  4. Peacekeeper:
    Has been Bizarre for years:
    The Admin Spouts evolving BS.
    Otherwise intelligent folks at BC and here regard it as the word handed down from on high.

    Never thought I'd see the day, but then I never thought I'd see fascists welcomed as diplomats/allies.

  5. Russell Wardlow said...
    Dude. That guy soiled his pants!

  6. This is a startling bit of information when you think about it. From this morning's NJ Star Ledger...

    "We have not failed in Iraq," Stephen Hadley said as he made the talk show rounds. "We will fail in Iraq if we pull out our troops before we're in a position to help the Iraqis succeed."

    But he added: "The president understands that we need to have a way forward in Iraq that is more successful."

    The White House readied for an important week in the debate over Iraq: Bush planned a meeting today with Abdul-Aziz al Hakim, the Shi'a leader of the largest bloc in Iraq's parliament, and awaited the recommendations Wednesday from the bipartisan commission."...

    Now GWB has bee President for six years. He did not inherit this war. He was the architect. He has lived with it every day and night. What does he need to know that he dose not as he has his morning coffee?

  7. Nice analysis Cutler. real Nice.

  8. John Bolton, US Representitive to the UN has resigned.

  9. The LA Times story is indicitive of putting foreign troops into action with US troops that did not train them.

    For any "green" foreign unit the "Advisors" have to take them from boot to combat vet.
    The US SFC tells of yelling at the Iraqi, recieving "dumb looks" in return. Doubt the SFC was yelling in Arabic or that the Iraqi driver spoke English. Of course he got a "dumb look" in return.

    Integrating the troops of different countries takes a long time to accomplish. But even in the US it takes more than four years to stand up a Stryker Brigade, from scratch.

    It is unfortunate that we did not begin integrating the forces 48 months ago, instead of Mr Rumsfeld listing it as an option on 5 Nov 06. We are so far behind the curve, now in a crisis management mode, that success is not likely.

    In WWII, when the Germans had ambushes set along the urban avenues of approach, the US GIs drove through the buildings, abandoning the avenues. A T-72 could do the same thing, but did not.

  10. Doug I have relinquished the "Drive By" blog to avoid confusion with your older blog.