“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."

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Seems as if we have Moqtada al-Sadr all wrong.

Rome, 19 Jan. (AKI) - In a long interview with Rome-daily La Repubblica published Friday, Iraqi Shiite radical leader Moqtada al-Sadr said he has never trusted prime minister Nouri al-Maliki nor his predecessor Iyad Allawi, whom he described as the brains behind a US-backed plot to destroy him and his militia. Al-Sadr said a crackdown on him and his al-Mahdi Army "has already kicked off." "Last night they arrested over 400 of my people. But it is not us they want to destroy, it's Islam," he said.

A prominent aide of al-Sadr was arrested by Iraqi and United States forces in Baghdad on Friday. The US military said the man arrested was a senior death squad leader. But a spokesman for al-Sadr's political office told Reuters the man detained was Abdul Hadi al Darraji, a media spokesman.

Friday's arrest follows a crackdown, announced by Iraqi prime minister Nouri al Maliki on the al-Mahdi Army, involving 400 arrests this week, and coincides with the arrival in Basra of US defence secretary Robert Gates to meet the US commander in Iraq, General George Casey.

In the interview to the Italian paper, al-Sadr also denied that members of his militia have infiltrated the army and police.

"The exact opposite has happened: it is our militia which is full of spies. It is actually very easy to infiltrate an army of the people."

The Shiite leader also denied that the guards who chanted his name and insulted late Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein during his execution had nothing to do with him.

"No, they were not my men," he said. "Those were people paid to disparage me, to make me appear like the person respondible for the hanging."

While Saddam Hussein was standing on the trapdoor with the noose being fastened around his neck on 30 December last year, guards insulted him and chanted the name of Moqtada al-Sadr. A total 14 witnesses were reportedly present at the execution at the former military intelligence headquarters in Baghdad's highly fortified Green Zone, and some reports alleged the Shiite leader was among them.


  1. "It's very hard here. Like playing three-dimensional chess in a dark room." Lieutenant General Graeme Lamb, Deputy Commanding General for the Multi-National Force-Iraq.

  2. We may have already seen this encouraging report from General Lamb.

  3. Good link whit. I think the general hits on one major point that cannot be overstated. The Iraqis themselves have to take the lead. Basic human nature will dictate that regardless of the problem, those not directly affected will tire of hearing about someone else's troubles.

  4. Here's some positive news that the MSM doesn't relay to the American public. British and Iraqi forces conduct joint anti-smuggling operation.

    From Central Command, here's beaucoup positive news on the development and acheivements of the Iraqi National Forces.

    It seems that the MSM primarily chooses to headline and trumpet the enemies' successes.

  5. It is whit, as always, all about US.
    If those Iraqi troops are "good enough" they should be stood up, so the US can stand down. That was Policy for years. The Iraqi never considered "qualified", by US, to stand up.

    The Iraqi say they are ready, to stand on their own, they either are, or not. No way to really tell into they try.

    If more US troops are required, it is because the Iraqi must really suck, their 250,000 man Security Force inept. We stood up this ineffectual force, now giving Command of the total Force to the man responsible for training the ineffectual Iraqi Force.

    If the Iraqi were capable of fulfilling US Goals for Iraq, there'd be no need to "Surge".

  6. Somali insurgents attack President' residence with mortars.

    Fears grew of a resurgence of the Islamist movement in Somalia last night after rebels hammered the president's residence with mortar fire before attacking his Ethiopian guards.

    A government source said that Abdullahi Yusuf, the president, was inside Villa Somalia in Mogadishu when five mortar rounds hit after dusk last night. Suspected rebels from the deposed Islamic Courts Union then launched an assault on the compound before being beaten back by his guards in a 20-minute battle.

  7. wu, just yesterday was touting a Sunni ceasefire. Then, today, a Sunni subgroup of Baathists claim credit for downing the chopper, NE of Baghdad.

    Cease fires and accomedations, all so much disinformation.
    The 3,000 Sunni volunteer for the Police Force, great, but the Six Enemy Tribes of Anbar make up a population base of 300,000.
    The generally accepted population figure for Anbar is 1,170,178.
    So, about 25% of the population is part of a tribal insurgency. How much of the remaining Sunni population are Baatthist insurgent sympathizers?

  8. Oak Leaf is paying tribute to Denny Doherty. La Mano, in the comments, has linked to a couple of the greatest hits of a great time.

    For the old timers, here’s one to the Mamas and Papas. For the youngsters, have a cold one and consider what music was when there was still joy in life and the young still believed that all things were possible.

    California Dreamin

  9. whit, thanks for the links (the second one is linked back to this page; you might want to have that changed).

    From the first link:

    > Four mobile phone operators have now reached 7.2 million subscribers. This represents a dynamic expansion of Iraqi civil liberties as mobile phone usage was forbidden under Saddam’s regime.

    > There is now a record number of marriages taking place.

    Now those two trends could represent something wholly different from the rather optimistic outlook presented here. I'm currently working on a post about criminal networking - this link provides some intriguing points indeed.

  10. the article states:

    Friday's arrest follows a crackdown, announced by Iraqi prime minister Nouri al Maliki on the al-Mahdi Army, involving 400 arrests this week, and coincides with the arrival in Basra of US defence secretary Robert Gates to meet the US commander in Iraq, General George Casey.

    Sorry, Maliki, I'm not from Missouri but arrests don't matter in a world where it's part of your religious devotion to lie to the infidel Army. Those arrested will be released later, as soon as we're "satisfied" and leave.

  11. Just hold the Football one more time, Tiger, like a good Charlie.
    You'll see.