Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Sadr Most Brilliant Iraqi politican?

He calls for protests to the construction of walls.

As I've written often, Sadr is deeply influenced by the most popular politician in the Arab world--Sheik Hasan Nasrallah, head of Hezbollah. While I do not support Nasrallah/Hezbollah, the man is a genius. In fact, there are few politicians on the planet who have such clarity of vision and can lead/harness a people for political ends as well as Nasrallah.

Nasrallah sleeps night to night in different locations. He evades attempts on his life. The strength of his support comes from his deep and abiding anti-Americanism and anti-Israeli policies. Sadr is also on the lamb in hiding from assassination. This gives them street cred.

Though Nasrallah is a Shia he is more approved of in Egypt (a Sunni country) than their own leader, Hosni Mubarak. Mubarak, King Abdullah of Jordan, and the House of Saud all lob the "Shia crescent" meme because their populations are more and more drawn to Hezbollah, Hamas (Iranian-Hezbollah supported), and Syria to a degree.

Sadr is no moron. He is no Nasrallah for sure, but he is a decent imitator. He certainly has figured out like Nasrallah the key is to be anti-American, anti-occupation. PM Maliki is considered a pawn of Bush. Abdul Aziz al-Hakim lived in exile in Iran and is seen as too much of a Iranian-puppet.

Like in Lebanon, Sadr has called for peaceful resistance. He realizes also like Nasrallah that the key is to keep a hallowed out state, not destroy it completely. It forces people to local loyalties as John Robb would say. The Pottery Barn thesis holds for them as for us---you break it you own it. So Sadr doesn't want to topple the regime, lest he own it. He wants it weakened and unable to provide security, employment, or civil services to the populace, so his Mahdi Army and its social outlays can (like Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas).

And when things get to the breaking point, pull a protest that unites Shia-Sunni. Nasrallah did it with the Israeli war and his support of Hamas. Sadr is now doing it with the Wall. Sunni clerics marched with him in his last protest. The walls in Iraq reminds of the Palestinians---yet more proof that the Shia now own the Palestinian issue. Sadr is doing this not the Sunnis.

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