Iraq

Is al-Sistani Simmering?

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More good news from Iraq: 

Iraq's most influential Shiite cleric has been quietly issuing religious edicts declaring that armed resistance against U.S.-led foreign troops is permissible—a potentially significant shift by a key supporter of the Washington-backed government in Baghdad.

The edicts, or fatwas, by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani suggest he seeks to sharpen his long-held opposition to American troops and counter the populist appeal of his main rivals, firebrand Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army militia….

A senior aide to the prime minister, [Nouri] al-Maliki, said he was not aware of the fatwas, but added that the "rejection of the occupation is a legal and religious principle" and that top Shiite clerics were free to make their own decisions. The aide also spoke on condition of anonymity.

Fatwas are theological opinions by an individual cleric and views on the same subject can vary. They gain force from consensus among experts in Islamic law and traditions….

Al-Sistani's affirmative response also carried a stern warning that "public interest" should not be harmed and every effort must be made to ensure that no harm comes to Iraqis or their property during "acts of resistance," they said.

"Changing the tyrannical (Saddam Hussein) regime by invasion and occupation was not what we wished for because of the many tragedies they have created," al-Sistani said in reply to a question on his Web site.

More here.

Al-Sistani, whose Q&A section of his website is quite a read, declaimed a different type of "strongly undesirable" occupation here.

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  1. Sistani held that country together by his fingertips for years while foreign jihadists worked to set off the civil war. He’s always been a moderating influence.

    This is real bad.

  2. I used to think it would get worse in Iraq if we left, but now I wonder if it actually can get any worse.

    It probably can, but I don’t want to find out.

  3. Sounds to me like al-Sistani has made a major miscalculation here. The most effective anti-American Shi-ite, Sadr, has been put down, mostly by Iraqi troops. I can’t imagine al-Sistani has a bigger military organization than Sadr had, so I don’t know how he can expect this to succeed.

    A question: it seems to me that calling the US presence in Iraq an “occupation” requires denying the legitimacy of the current Iraqi government, which does have some democratic bona fides. What is al-Sistani’s take on the current government?

    I used to think it would get worse in Iraq if we left, but now I wonder if it actually can get any worse.

    Well, considering that it has been getting a lot better, I would say that it could definitely get a lot worse. And the best way to make that happen is with premature withdrawal.

  4. At this point everyone but the government they are propping up agree that the U.S. is a destabilizing influence and not a stabilizing one.

    There are several problems:
    1) The U.S. attacks militias. As often as not a militia is providing security. So the U.S. knocks out the local defense forces and then outsiders move in to loot and pillage.

    2) The U.S. uses airpower for counterinsurgency. Bombs kill or injure uninvolved people and wreck property. These enrage the population and also create unemployment (if your shop is bombed you are out of a job).

    3) The U.S. forces frequently are clueless as to who their allies are and who their enemies are. They’ve thus attacked friendlies as well as neutrals.

    4) The U.S. (as part of its anti-militia) campaign have tried a degree of centralization that even Saddam didn’t dare to try, to deprive tribal leaders and check on the power of the central government.

    5) The U.S. has been hindring the development of free markets by preserving state monopolies on gasoline, and electricity provisioning. They’ve also kept the subsidies on food in place. The central government, being incapable of actually providing these services efficiently, there have been shortages – particularly of energy. Energy being critical to all sorts of businesses this attempt by the U.S. to preserve stalinist state-socialism has hindered the development of the economy and contributed to massive unemployment.

    In other words the U.S. is actively working to keep the cluster fuck going forward and hoping that if it can avoid losing long enough somehow a victory will occur.

  5. RC,

    Al Sistani : al Sadr :: Badr Brigades : Mahdi Army

    In fact, Sistani commands the loyalty of a larger, better armed, better connected cadre of troops.

    But it’s good to hear that Sadr isn’t going to be a problem anymore. Again. It always makes me smile when that story gets repeated.

  6. Not to mention, the troops that engaged the Mahdi Army in Basra included the Badr Brigades, who performed much better than the Iraqi Army forces, many of whom fled or switched sides. Even the great success you claim is, in fact, just more in-fighting between militias.

  7. R.C. Dean,

    …mostly by Iraqi troops.

    The Iraqi army is chock full of militia members. One could argue that what one sees in the Shi’ite areas is more a contest over power amongst varying factions within the Shi’ites than anything else.

  8. Is it bad that I just don’t care anymore?

  9. Warty,

    Well, the U.S. no longer controls the situation there (if it ever did), so that may be the appropriate attitude.

  10. Is it bad that I just don’t care anymore?

    Join the club. Pull the troops out and I really don’t care.

  11. From Sistani’s website:

    Question: Some companies have produced an item similar to the woman’s vagina that some men would place over their penis at bedtime for carnal desire. Is this classified as masturbation that is forbidden?
    Answer: It is har?m if he seeks to ejaculate intentionally or ejaculation is normal [in such a circumstance] for him. Rather, based on obligatory precaution, he must refrain from it, even if he is confident of not ejaculating.

    No wonder these people blow themselves up.

  12. What if it isn’t bedtime?

  13. OK, joke time:

    Q: How come there are no Muslims on Star Trek?

    A: Because it’s set in the future.

    BA DUM DUM

  14. BA DUM DUM

    Pretty weak…. There’s no evidence of Christians or Jews either. Actually, the future sounds kind of nice to me.

  15. Episiarch,

    Are there any Christians, Jews, Hindus, etc. on Star Trek? Seems like for humans at least that religion isn’t much of an issue in the future.

  16. I wonder if this can be viewed more as a reaction against anti-civilian bombings than new found anti-American military sentiment. From the beginning of the occupation, the bombings have fluctuated from anti-American military to anti-collaborator/sectarian and back again.

  17. On Star Trek (TNG, anyway), every other species besides humans has some religious belief. Well, besides the Ferengi.

  18. It’s a stupid joke. Jeez, you guys are a tough crowd. Or your senses of humor just suck ass.

  19. Sistani’s tacit tolerance of the US presence has certainly helped whatever success the US occupation has had.

    If he is turning against the US, it means the US has lost the most important moderating influence in Iraq.

    The nicest thing Sistani could do at this point is to use his influence to force a referendum on continued US presence. It would give the US a golden opportunity to “respect the will of the Iraqi people” and pull out.

  20. BakedPenguin | May 23, 2008, 11:23am | #

    On Star Trek (TNG, anyway), every other species besides humans has some religious belief. Well, besides the Ferengi.

    The Ferengi were my favorite species on ST. Any species that hadn’t fought a war in 1500 years due to their preference for negotiation and buying off the opposition is OK by me.

  21. Or your senses of humor just suck ass.

    Actually, I laughed. Only then did I tear it apart.

  22. OK by me

    And their females walk around naked and have no rights. I’m sure some of you are OK with that.

  23. The Ferengi were my favorite species on ST. Any species that hadn’t fought a war in 1500 years due to their preference for negotiation and buying off the opposition is OK by me.

    Sure, that’s great. Except for the fact that they were:

    1. Unspeakably annoying
    2. Ugly as fuck
    3. Stupendously annoying
    4. Really fucking ugly
    5. A cheap Jew-parody

    Other than that they were great.

  24. Actually, I laughed. Only then did I tear it apart.

    Well that’s fine then. But where’s my LOLZ so I can start counting like joe?

  25. I hated the Farengi on TNG, but I finally got around to watching DS9 and I like them more now.

  26. Epi,
    you have been here way too long not to understand the sinfullness of a Star Trek joke. even a bad one

  27. In fact, Sistani commands the loyalty of a larger, better armed, better connected cadre of troops.

    Would that be the Mahdi Army that got its ass handed to it by the Iraqis (backed by Americans) in Basra and Sadr City before the Iraqis pivoted to focus on Sadr? The same Mahdi Army based in Shiite areas just recently brought under the control of the Iraqi government?

    If he is turning against the US, it means the US has lost the most important moderating influence in Iraq.

    Iraq will never be stable as long as stability is dependent on the goodwill of people like Sadr and al-Sistani. Thataway lies warlordism, civil war, instability, etc. As the Iraqi government establishes itself, Sadr and al-Sistani will be marginalized, which may be what we are seeing now. The most important moderating influence in Iraq needs to be the government, and I think we are starting to see that happen.

    Time will tell, but I don’t think this is the disaster that everyone seems to think. A year ago, sure, but that was when Shiite militias had the run of the place, which is no longer true.

  28. Does that make this sinful?

    Because I won’t be stopping.

  29. A cheap Jew-parody

    “Ferengi” is a play on the term “Farang,” which was applied to the traders that followed Marco Polo, and is still used in certain Asian societies to mean “westerner.”

    Since the only Europeans they met were commercial traders, they assumed we were a society of people obsessed with wealth.

    It has nothing to do with Jews.

  30. The nicest thing Sistani could do at this point is to use his influence to force a referendum on continued US presence. It would give the US a golden opportunity to “respect the will of the Iraqi people” and pull out.

    I would have no problem with that (if that’s the way the referendum went). I question whether the Iraqi people are really as stupid as that, though.

    But right now, we are there because the Iraqi government (which, again, has at least some democratic bona fides) is asking us to be there. That’s why I think any authorization to attack foreign troops is an implicit attack on the legitimacy of the Iraqi government.

  31. Oh, and nobody but Episiarch has a sense of humor.

    Also, the women who won’t date him? Lesbians.

  32. Would that be the Mahdi Army that got its ass handed to it by the Iraqis (backed by Americans) in Basra and Sadr City before the Iraqis pivoted to focus on Sadr? The same Mahdi Army based in Shiite areas just recently brought under the control of the Iraqi government?

    La la la la la, we really whacked those moles this time. Yes, RC, that’s the same Mahdi Army that was trounced at Karbala. In 2003.

    Iraq will never be stable as long as stability is dependent on the goodwill of people like Sadr and al-Sistani. Just ignore the fact that the “Iraqi Government forces” consist mostly of Badr Brigate members, and you can keep pretending that this was a blow against militias.

    Nothing, absolutely nothing, can dent the faux-optimism of the Iraq hawk trying to save face.

  33. The Ferengi were hard-core capitalists.

    I put their ugliness, sexism, etc. down to Rodenberry’s & Hollywood’s anti-capitalist prejudice. i.e. any negative attribute the writers could load on the Ferengi was ok because they were capitalists.

    It is hardly surprising that the two “noblest” non-Federation species were the Romulans and the Klingons; the former a Fascist Republic and the latter a Feudal Aristocracy.

  34. Clearly, the insurgency is being defeated.

    I mean, the Good Guys captured territory! Territory, people!

    No lessons. No understanding of the battle. Nothing but feel-good stories.

    people like Sadr and al-Sistani

    Lol. Quite the depth of understanding of the situation you’ve got there.

  35. R C Dean | June 23, 2004, 12:38pm | #

    I would refine your first sentence as follows, unless you want to make real the fond wishes of the anti-Bush media:

    There’s no shortage of bad news reports from Iraq out there, but reports of the good news from Iraq is hard to find.

    Your phrasing makes it seem as if there really isn’t much good happening from Iraq, and there really is lots of bad going on there. While this is what many want you to believe, it ain’t necessarily so.

    Pedantically yours,

    R C

  36. RC Dean asked:
    “A question: it seems to me that calling the US presence in Iraq an “occupation” requires denying the legitimacy of the current Iraqi government, which does have some democratic bona fides. What is al-Sistani’s take on the current government?’

    My response: because Sistani issued a fatwah making voting a religious duty for his followers, he’s probably got a pretty cynical view on the Iraqi public’s enthusiasm for their government.

    If wikipedia is to be trusted, Sistani also had a role in the replacement of al-Jaafari with al-Maliki, so he may see the goverment as a useful tool, when suiting his purposes.

    Also, the facts that the people voted for candidates whose names were kept secret, and that the government voted in a constitution that was still a work in progress, cannot be lost on him.

  37. Skewering al-Sadr

    Hanah Metchis | June 23, 2004, 12:17pm

    There’s no shortage of bad news from Iraq out there, but the good news is hard to find. I think one of InstaPundit’s best features is his habit of linking to the rare piece of good war news reported in the media. From him today, a report of how the Army’s 1st Armored Division totally destroyed al-Sadr’s army.

  38. “Ferengi” is a play on the term “Farang,” which was applied to the traders that followed Marco Polo, and is still used in certain Asian societies to mean “westerner.”

    joe goes directly to Wikipedia and copies this shit down. joe, maybe you do have a sense of humor!

    Also, the women who won’t date him? Lesbians.

    Don’t project your issues onto me, dude.

  39. It is hardly surprising that the two “noblest” non-Federation species were the Romulans and the Klingons; the former a Fascist Republic and the latter a Feudal Aristocracy.

    Actually, in TOS the Klingons were anything but noble. However, the Romulans were. Balance of Terror, baby.

  40. R.C. Dean,

    What are the democratic bona fides of the Iraqi government exactly?

    I think joe makes a good point about the Badr brigades, BTW. This appears to be more of a struggle for power between various groupings within the Shi-ite community than a fight between the Iraqi government and seperatists.

  41. sos,

    Interesting analysis. Thanks.

  42. It’s on the wikipedia page?

    Wow, I guess accurate facts do find their way on therte sometimes.

  43. joe | June 24, 2004, 12:04pm | #

    So let me get this straight: Sadr’s military defeat (unquestionably a defeat, the 1st Armored beat him up good) has made him one of the most popular figures in Iraq, and he has announced his intention to use that popularity to accumulate political power.

    I guess we can’t possibly lose this war, since we keep winning every battle.

  44. Whoa, precisely 47 months later, to the minute.

  45. It’s on the wikipedia page?

    joe, stop it–you’re killing me…

  46. Rathan an ungracious response to be proven wrong.

    Throwing around accusations of anti-semitism is a bad game to get into, Episiarch.

    You should just stop drawing attention to yourself at this point.

  47. Episiarch,

    I think the wiki entry is more or less correct. I can’t recall the history book I was reading, but in some Middle Eastern language, there’s a word similar to Ferengi that means “Frank”. If I remember correctly, it was used to refer to westerners in general.

  48. Aresen,

    The theme of Klingon corruption and moral decay is actually quite prominent in the post-TOS series. Indeed, that’s eventually why Worf kills the Klingon Chancellor Gowron.

    The Romulan political system is also portrayed negatively, for example in the TNG two-parter “Unification.”

  49. joe

    While “farang” may be the word from which “Ferengi” was derived, I think the “jew parody” has some truth in it.

    I remember being very bothered by the Ferengi physical resemblance to the anti-Semitic caricatures – short, big nose, small eyes, pointed teeth, etc.

    Epi

    In TOS, yes. But by TNG, they were clearly drawn on the model of the Samurai. And their contempt for humans in TOS was later explained in ENTERPRISE by the “dishonorable” actions of humans (in Klingon eyes) on the first contact.

  50. ProL, the point is that joe went directly to Wikipedia for his little “factoid”, then pretends he knew it and just happened to say virtually the exact same thing in the same way.

    Now that’s funny.

    And joe, since you seem so keen on Wikipedia:

    “Some have accused the portrayal of the Ferengi of being anti-Semitic.[5] In the book Religions of Star Trek, Ross S. Kraemer wrote that “Ferengi religion seems almost a parody of traditional Judaism… Critics have pointed out a disturbing correlation between Ferengi attributes (love of profit that overrides communal decency; the large, sexualized head feature, in this case ears) and negative Jewish stereotypes.”[6] Commentator Jonah Goldberg wrote that Ferengi were portrayed in The Next Generation as “runaway capitalists with bullwhips who looked like a mix between Nazi caricatures of Jews and the original Nosferatu.”[7] The fact that the three most notable Ferengi characters, Quark, Nog and Rom, are played by Jewish actors Armin Shimerman, Aron Eisenberg and Max Grod?nchik, contributes to this theory.”

  51. Malvolio | October 4, 2007, 11:12am | #

    Say, “Not just farang spicy, Thai spicy.” (“Farang” being Thai slang for “Westerner”.) But yes, do this at your own risk. Those hazmat boys were not being entirely overcautious.

    Believe it or not, Episiarch, there are actually people in this world who know things you don’t.

    No, really.

  52. I love this thread.

  53. I skip all the “Klingon Lore” episodes – they bore me to tears.

    PS. The “Jew” thing has been pointed out many times by many people over the years.

  54. CC

    Conceded.

    However, in both cases they were still considered superior to the Ferengi.

    And, for that matter, it was also obvious by DS9 that there was some pretty serious corruption in the Federation, too. (Section 31, for example.)

  55. Um, yoo are teh partisan?

    Naw, that doesn’t fit.

    Lessee, “pot calling the kettle black?”

    No, no, that doesn’t work either.

    I know I know! “Projection! Projection!”

  56. In TOS, yes. But by TNG, they were clearly drawn on the model of the Samurai. And their contempt for humans in TOS was later explained in ENTERPRISE by the “dishonorable” actions of humans (in Klingon eyes) on the first contact.

    Absolutely, but in TOS they were lying cheating shitheads with zero honor as was indicated on multiple occasions, most memorably in everyone’s favorite episode The Trouble with Tribbles.

    In TNG they morphed into the samurai, and the love for their fascist society was pretty repulsive.

  57. the love for their fascist society was pretty repulsive

    I never understood why Klingons seem to be Star Trek geeks’ favorite species… their culture is really quite repellent.

  58. Aresen,

    However, in both cases they were still considered superior to the Ferengi.

    I think the image of the Ferengi softens a lot over time. Compare the Enterprise’s first encounter with them (remember those whips that they had?) with all the Quark, Rom, Negus, etc. that ensues on DS.

    Anyway, I never saw the Ferengi as being capitalists; they were in my mind more like mercantilists.

  59. I never understood why Klingons seem to be Star Trek geeks’ favorite species… their culture is really quite repellent.

    Ever notice that the skinniest, weakest dudes used to play fighters in D&D with 18/00 strength? I think it sort of relates in to that. The whole honor/warrior bullshit seems like an overblown locker room, but I think they like it because they have no idea how horrible it would be if actually real.

  60. I think the image of the Ferengi softens a lot over time.

    The Ferengi were supposed to be the new arch-enemy but they’re so laughable that Gene and crew quickly pivoted on that. Instead we got the Borg, which are much better both in believability and anti-collectivism.

  61. Episiarch,

    BTW, I’ve always wonder what influence the history, etc. of the Spartans had on the creation of the Klingons post-TOS.

  62. Maybe they should have set up the Mahdi Army as the Federation’s latest arch-enemy.

    Apparently, you can stage the most dramatic and impressive battles against them, achieve a glorious and definitive victory, and still have them around to do it all again as ratings demand, without any loss of cointinuity in the storyline.

    What’s not to love?

  63. Ignorant fans claim the Borg softened a lot over time too – completely ignoring the fact that such Borg are the ones who were removed from the collective.

  64. Cointinuity is a perfect word for our liberation of Iraq,

    joe
    at the risk of increasing the turgidity of your smugness, your 12:40pm assessment is brilliant.

  65. It’s a Borg world after all.

    Little known fact: Bjorn Borg was the progenitor of the Borg. It all starts when he accidentally goes to a senior tournament on a planet orbiting Procyon.

  66. CC

    I still maintain that the repulsive features of Ferengi culture were Hollywood’s projection of what a “pure capitalist” society would be like. Also, the “softening”, particularly at the end of DS9, is supposedly due to their adoption of social democratic values – i.e. morphing into what Hollywood approved of.

    And I still admire the Ferengi for not fighting a war in 1500 years. (IIRC, Quark lets this drop during one of the DS9 exchanges he has with Worf.)

    Rhywun

    Agree on the admiration for Klingon culture, both in the three subsequent series (TNG, DS9, & VOYAGER) and in fandom. But western culture has a long tradition of exalting “warriors”.

  67. BTW, I’ve always wonder what influence the history, etc. of the Spartans had on the creation of the Klingons post-TOS.

    Actually, it would be interesting to go back and see what, if anything, changed in the TNG presentation of the Klingons after Gene died. If I recall, the whole series lurched into a more PC mode once Piller and Berman took over and then with Braga coming in sometimes it got really ridiculous. I wonder if the Klingon-worship increased at the same time. My guess is yes.

  68. You…

    Shiite insurgent…

    BASTARDS!

    You…

    Killed my pony!

  69. Aresen,

    Maybe. I’m just not convinced that the Ferengi were actually capitalists, as opposed to being mercantilists. I guess that could fit into your hypothesis though.

  70. I would say that to someone who hates capitalism, they probably see it in a way that is much more like mercantilism. So you could both be right.

  71. olitics in TOS were extremely simplistic – exclusively Kennedy-esque new frontier Cold War but pre-vietnam consensus.

    Politics in the first few seasons of TNG were equally simplistic.

    Star Trek didn’t achieve subtlety & nuance – and thus accuracy – in its portrayal of politics until DS9 and the sixth TOS movie.

    I used to think that the politico-economic system presented in the first few seasons of TNG was complete crap, a product purely of “Rodenberry’s & Hollywood’s anti-capitalist prejudice,” but I’ve come around on this. Now, I’m not going to deny that such prejudice exists. But a post-scarcity economy postulated by the Star Trek universe makes such things as ‘we don’t believe in money, we work to better ourselves’ plausible and feasible and not just some aging hippie nonsense.

    Oh yeah, we should withdraw our troops from Iraq.

  72. The Borg are the ultimate libertarians. The liberty of a single, collective whole.

    “We are the Borg. We are free to own firearms and smoke crack. We absorb other cultures, exercising our fundamental right to assimilate.”

  73. The Borg are the ultimate libertarians.

    I first read that as “ultimate librarians” and found myself agreeing. I guess that tells you about my experiences with librarians.

    Politics in the first few seasons of TNG were equally simplistic.

    Quite. When you can create anything using your transporter technology, it sort of changes things. And they never really explored that.

  74. I would argue that Rodenberry’s death ‘un-PC’ed’ the franchise; there were a lot less one-dimensional characters (which represents the intersection of lazy writing and PC) starting in the last half of the TNG, and fewer still in DS9. (I will agree that this trend reversed in Voyager; I never saw an episode of Enterprise)

  75. I never saw an episode of Enterprise

    Enterprise, wholly a product of Berman and Braga, was so PC that the fucking show did a 180 after the first season because it was so widely reviled. Archer was such a mewling space pansy you just wanted to beat the shit out of him. Then they tried to make him a little more Kirk-like but it was pathetic and I stopped watching.

    Very bad show that, to me, indicated that the Star Trek rot came from Rick and Brannon.

  76. From al-Sistani’s Q&A section:

    Question: I have been told that I am under Black Magic. I feel that my mind is blocked and I cannot think and concentrate deeply. Also, I cannot think constructively which is destroying my professional and personal life. Kindly suggest… [what] I can do to come out of this painful trauma.

    Answer: We advise you to read the Holy Quran, particularly the four chapters that begin with “Qul” i.e. “Qul howallahu ahad”, “Qul yaa ayyohal kaferoon”, “Qul a’uzo berabbil falagh”, and “Qul yaa ayyohal kaferoon”. At the same time, you should visit a doctor.

  77. particularly the four chapters that begin with “Qul”

    Are those the chapters L. Ron wrote?

  78. How many will not notice that I recommend the questioner to see a doctor as a direct refutation of his assertion that he is under black magic?

    I always recommend reading the Koran.

  79. I think the doctor on DS9 was an Arab. Or something Semitic, like a Carthaginian.

  80. Pro Libertate | May 23, 2008, 2:35pm | #

    I think the doctor on DS9 was an Arab. Or something Semitic, like a Carthaginian.

    I think his parents were middle-eastern, but the doctor was revealed to be the product of proscribed genetic enhancement.

  81. Okay, that makes him a super Middle-Easterner, not a non-Middle-Easterner.

  82. Although I actually liked Dr. Bashir, that liking went south really quickly when he took the sandtrout as his own skin and became God-Doctor of DS9. I don’t care what they say, that came out of nowhere. Just like the Great Klingon Switchover. Scum, heroic warriors, whatever.

  83. Now, Sistani and Sadr are meeting.

    Sadr, who conditioned his agreement to disarm on Sistani, who never directed him to.

    Great. Things are about to get a lot worse.

    We could have been out of Iraq years ago.

  84. RC Dean keeps talking about the ‘defeat of al-Sadr’ recently.

    Defense in the National Interest and the Wall Street Journal both analyse the recent fight as a victory for al Sadr:

    “The failure of Mr. al-Maliki’s “big push” into Basra put Iraq’s statelessness on display. Ordered to do something it did not want to do, the Iraqi “army” fell apart, as militias usually fall apart when given unwelcome directives. Iraqi “soldiers” and “police” went over or went home, in considerable numbers. Those who did fight had little fight in them; the affair reportedly ended with the Mahdi Army controlling more of Basra than it did at the beginning. Mr. al-Maliki, desperate for a cease-fire, had to agree in advance to any conditions Muqtada al-Sadr cared to impose.”

    Much more on whyh al Sadr is stronger than ever here:

    http://www.d-n-i.net/dni/2008/04/17/on-war-258-a-confirming-moment

    and here:

    http://www.d-n-i.net/dni/2008/04/01/basra-sadr-wins-did-america-lose/

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