[Marxism] Re: Was Sistani "the true victor" in Najaf?
Brian_Shannon at verizon.net
Sun Aug 29 12:20:49 MDT 2004
The headline and first few paragraphs imply that Sadr is the winner.
However headlines are usually written by someone other than the writer
of the story.
Standoff bolstered Sadr's support
Interviews with Iraqi Shiite clerics reveal that moderates are
increasingly supporting Sadr's anti-US campaign.
By Scott Baldauf | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
BAGHDAD - Six months ago, Sheikh Jawad al-Khalasi was what most would
consider an Iraqi Shiite moderate. Critical of the militant ideas of
fellow Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, Mr. Khalasi preached a more
cooperative approach toward the Americans and the interim Iraqi
Then, last Thursday, when Iraqi snipers opened fire on him and
thousands of demonstrators converging on Najaf, hoping to end the siege
there and protect the shrine, Khalasi changed his mind. Now he's a
radical, a troubling sign that Mr. Sadr has grown stronger from a
three-week-long standoff that the Iraqi government once hoped might
reduce Sadr to irrelevance.
Sadr and his forces agreed on Friday to put down their weapons and
withdraw from the Shrine of Imam Ali, one of Shiite Islam's holiest
sites. But interviews in Baghdad suggest that Sadr is walking away from
the standoff with a widening base and supporters who are more militant
"This is the beginning of the end for the Americans," says Khalasi,
speaking from his home in Baghdad's upper-class Shiite district of
Kadhimiya. "What will happen now is that all the political parties will
unite to kick the Americans out of Iraq. You have seen even the Sunni
people starting to support Moqtada. All this will encourage people to
. . .
But as Mahdi Army fighters say they have become even more energized by
the siege of Najaf - and they claim to have signed up 3,000 suicide
bombers for training - the citizens around them appear to be growing
tired of war.
Yet this growing dissatisfaction with the Mahdi Army is nowhere near an
active backlash. Those Iraqi Shiites who are most likely to reject Sadr
also reject involvement in Iraqi politics. They follow the lead of
Ayatollah Sistani, who says that religious and political matters must
be kept separate. Experts say that this position can only cement Sadr's
position on the political scene.
. . .
[A doctor who blames the Mahdi Army says:] "Ninety-nine percent of the
injuries are caused by Mahdi Army fighters," he says, speaking in
English to avoid being overheard by Mahdi Army officials, who now
administer the hospital. "Every morning and night I see families coming
in - father, mother, children, all injured by mortars. These are not
simple injuries, but two or three injuries per person. It's terrible."
. . .
"All Shiites - no, all Iraqis - have the same reaction to the Mahdi
Army," says Mr. Abbassly, business manager of the Kadhimiya Shrine.
"These people are very brave, but they are too young and too
passionate, and sometimes they do things without thinking rationally."
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