Michael Gordon Apes Administration Line
Yet again. In the NYTimes (sticking it to the lie it's a totally left wing paper) on the "return" of Moqtada al Sadr.
The title first off is an unsubstantiated charge made by the US military/government. Namely that Sadr was hiding in Iran.
It is at least likely (if not more so) that he was hiding in the Marshes of Southern Iraq or areas around Kufa, where he hid for years from Saddam Hussein. Gordon does slip in that Sadr's followers argued he never left the country. He could have also been on pilgrimage--or yes used that as a cover.
And then this line:
Mr. Sadr’s re-emergence in Iraq comes after his position has been significantly eroded because of a strong push by American forces against the Mahdi Army.Again that's a line that wants to be broadcast by certain parties. Significantly eroded?
Not helped by the following admission later on in the article:
Still, not even American officials privy to classified intelligence on Mr. Sadr’s return pretend to be certain what he has in mind.What seems most probable from all his actions is making alliances with non-Baathist and non-Salafi Sunnis (i.e. tribal leaders fighting Islamic State of Iraq); elbow out the SIIC; try to prevent the fracture of Iraq (making him strangely a back door Bush ally in terms of the sovereignty issue); cleanse his ranks of the non-loyal elements; and kick out the Americans, likely through Parliamentary procedures/protests
The Americans have had stronger ties with the SIIC (Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council) who favors autonomous regions in the South and has stronger ties to Iran certainly than Sadr. Those two commitments don't line up with the US anti-Iranian, Iraq as a single country stance.
What is clearly the case is Maliki's clock is running down. Everybody is positioning themselves for the fallout.