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Sadr party in Iraq.... hmm... I see patterns of identity

Von: LIBERATOR (nogeekluv@linuxmail.org) [Profil]
Datum: 02.04.2010 11:24
Message-ID: <45ede28d-1370-49e2-a678-4fc2aa12c64d@35g2000yqm.googlegroups.com>
Newsgroup: alt.music.van-halen alt.music.rush
Green Zone showed the war was all about oil. So someone that seized
the oil resources in Iraq now has them to shut down the oil industry
when we disclose the Nazi zero-point energy to the world to save the
planet, rescue it from abuse.
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http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703909804575123372619044094.h
tml

MARCH 15, 2010, 7:31 P.M. ET Sadr Surges in Iraq Vote

By CHARLES LEVINSON
BAGHDAD—Anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada al-Sadr appears to have upended the
traditional hierarchy of Shiite politics in Iraq with a stronger-than-
expected showing in the March 7 parliamentary vote.

As more results trickled in Monday, a suicide car bomber in western
Iraq killed four people and wounded 29 others when his vehicle
exploded in a busy street during the Monday morning rush hour in
Fallujah. The city was once at the heart of the Sunni insurgency in
the western Anbar province until tribal leaders turned against al
Qaeda in Iraq, a turning point of the war.

A wounded resident collected belongings from his damaged vehicle after
a bomb attack in Falluja, Iraq, on Monday.

WSJ.com/Mideast: News, video, graphics With a little over 60 percent
of the votes tallied for the country's 325-seat parliament, incumbent
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has a slim lead over his chief rival,
Ayad Allawi, a secular Shiite who has emerged as the preferred
candidate for most of Iraq's Sunni voters. An alliance of Shiite
religious parties that includes Mr. Sadr's looks set for a third-place
finish.

But amid that Shiite alliance, early results show the Sadr party
emerging as the dominant player. Though final results aren't expected
until later this month, Sadr candidates look set to pick up over half
of the seats from the Shiite slate, preliminary results indicate.

That could mean a more prominent role in Iraqi politics for a leader
who has vacillated between political participation and armed struggle
against U.S. and Iraqi forces. Mr. Sadr—who wasn't a candidate in the
most recent elections—continues to publicly support the right to
attack U.S. forces and refuses any contact with American or British
officials. An empowered Sadr party will likely take a tough line on
enforcing U.S. troop-withdrawal timelines and oppose any residual
force the U.S. may want to leave behind.

"The Sadrists are going to be very skeptical about any troops or
residual forces the U.S. may want to leave behind," said Reidar
Visser, author of the influential Iraq politics blog Historiae.org.

But the strong performance by Mr. Sadr isn't all bad news for
Washington. Sadr followers tend to be far less cozy with Iran than
other Shiite parties, many of whose leaders sought shelter in Iran
during exile from Saddam Hussein's regime. Mr. Sadr himself has been
living in Iran for most of the past three years, but historically he
has been a vocal critic of Tehran's meddling in Iraq.

The Election in Iraq
See vote tallies so far, and learn more about some of the alliances.

His impoverished Shiite base constituted the bulk of recruits who died
and suffered in the trenches fighting Iran during the 1980s. Indeed,
many of Mr. Sadr's current followers are outspoken opponents of
Tehran.

In contrast, ISCI, the once-dominant Shiite party and rival to Mr.
Sadr's party, remains Iran's closest rival in Iraq. Party leaders
acknowledge the close ties, but also maintain that Tehran doesn't
dictate policy.

Coupled with the polling strength of Mr. Allawi—who advocates re-
establishing close ties with Arab rivals to Iran—Mr. Sadr's
performance could be part of a broader setback for Iran in this
month's polls, some observers said.

"Iran will look at these results, they'll see the strength of Ayad
Allawi … and the relative strength of Sadr versus ISCI, and they'll
reach the conclusion that Iran will not have as easy pickings in Iraq
as they used to," a senior Western diplomat said. "On the other hand,
having a large bloc of lawmakers who won't even talk to the U.S. is a
definite issue of concern."


A car bomb explodes in Iraq's Anbar Province as election officials
release early figures for last week's national elections. Video
courtesy of Reuters.
In the most recent elections, the Sadrists' strong showing could give
the party considerable influence over negotiations to form the next
government. Messrs. Allawi and Maliki are both courting the party.

It remains unclear with whom Mr. Sadr is more likely to ally. He has
had run-ins with both men. When Mr. Allawi was prime minister in 2004,
he green-lighted the U.S. assault on Sadr militants in the Shiite holy
city of Najaf. In 2008, Mr. Maliki also went after Sadr's militia with
force in Basra, Baghdad, and cities throughout the south.

Haitham al-Hussaini, a senior ISCI official, said ISCI would retain a
prominent leadership role on the Shiite slate. But he acknowledged an
embolded Sadrist party could seek to challenge ISCI's traditional
stewardship of the alliance.

"The elections have proven without doubt that the Sadrists are the
most popular party in the Shiite list," said Liqa al-Yassin, a Sadrist
candidate in Najaf.

Mr. Sadr's performance is all the more remarkable because in the
months leading up to the vote, many had counted them out. Many Shiites
had turned against the 36-year-old firebrand cleric, whose followers
have fought U.S. troops intermittently since 2003, but have been
largely peaceful since 2008.

The group appeared to have lost popular favor after its militia, the
Mahdi Army, was blamed for contributing to the sectarian bloodshed
that swept the country in 2006 to 2007. For many Iraqis, Sadr
militants came to be seen as thugs running neighborhood racketeering
outfits.

Many Sadr leaders responded by advocating a shift from armed militancy
toward peaceful participation in the political process. That caused
cracks in the movement's unity, which many predicted would seal its
defeat in last Sunday's polls. Other Sadrists complained that Mr.
Sadr's self-imposed exile in Iran had deprived the movement of
ideological discipline and effective stewardship, which also spurred
disaffected cadres to splinter.

"One of the big question marks on this election was, would Sadr
overcome his party's fragmentation," a senior Western diplomat said.
"If they did, then they were going to poll big, and it looks like they
have."

Separately Monday, the U.S. military handed over control of Camp Taji,
a prison holding almost 3,000 detainees to Iraqi authorities, as
Washington proceeds with its plan to withdraw from Iraq, according to
news reports.


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