Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Inside track edition, Iraq on the edge

I think Rummy may be claiming we can "got it alone" in Iraq if necessary to "prempt" criticisms that may arise when our allies pull out (MSNBC). This has been a bad week for the Bush Administration.

Dang, this thing is hanging by a thread. If not that, then not by much more (Newsday).

"This is a crucial, critical time. We cannot allow some of these areas to become uncontrollable..,"
--Chuck Hagel, Senator (R)

If as Reuters is reporting their claims of capturing US soldiers is true I'd say that qualifies as uncontrolled:

An aide to Sadr told a news conference that some U.S. soldiers had been captured in the fighting. "Some tribes have captured some occupation forces on the streets," Qays al-Khazali told a news conference in the Shi'ite holy city of Najaf.

Of course the military can crush Sadr. But if they blow up the Imam Ali mosque while they're doing it - like the trick they pulled in Fallujah (BBC) - then it's all over.

My solution? Tell Sadr that if he apologizes on tv, tells his militia to turn in their weapons, and let his top aides and militia leaders be arrested ... then we'll let the seminary in Najaf take him into their custody for discipline. This boosts Sistani and sweetens him for when we "ask" him to negotiate out the new Iraq Constitution or um "give his blessing". We need it. We just can't pussyfoot around anymore.

And if Sadr refuses that positively sweet deal, then we gotta go after him.

That's our best deal I think.

Unmarked links courtesy of the Asia Times.

More updates via the always excellent Needlenose.

P.S. One thing for sure, Sistani wins however this goes down with Sadr claiming to be his military wing on one hand and on the other Sistani using or even encouraging the revolt behind the scenes to use it as leverage against the United States. When the crackdown crushes Sadr, Sistani'll be right there condemning US brutality. The echoes of Palestine and even worse the Saddam crackdown on the '91 insurrection by the Shiites will prove unmistakable. Sistani is using this event to roast the CPA and IGC over the coals of the Constitutional issues they defied him on. This to answer Salam Pax's naive rhetorical question on the NPR audio blurb he had is exactly what Sistani is all about in this event.


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