The Discerning Texan

All that is necessary for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing.
-- Edmund Burke
Thursday, April 03, 2008

Who REALLY Won in Basra?

Hint: it wasn't al-Sadr (as the MSM is incessantly attempting to peddle); Nibras Kazimi writes:
I won that wager. I had written that “the Iraqi Army’s military operation in Basra will be a spectacular win against disorder and Iranian influence”. And I was right.

Of course, most western media outlets are declaring Muqtada al-Sadr and Iran as the victors of Operation Cavalry Charge. Nothing could be furthest from the truth.

The United Alliance List delegation comprising Ali al-Adib of the Da’awa Party, Hadi al-Ameri of the Badr Organization and (I think…) Qasim al-Sahlani representing a group that had splintered from the Da’awa Party, evidently made al-Sadr an offer he couldn’t refuse when they sat down for a friendly chat in Tehran two days ago: the Iraqi state was willing to go all the way in smashing the Sadrist movement—arresting all the leaders and shutting down all the offices—if he didn’t play along with Operation Cavalry Charge and hand over those operatives whose names appear on the wanted lists.

See Maliki went to Basra with a long-ish list of names comprising all those involved in oil smuggling, drug dealing and the various other crimes that have wracked Basra. It just so happens that many of them claim to be Mahdi Army commanders.

This is what I wrote a couple of days ago:
The Mahdi Army in Basra is only an army in the sense that ‘soldiers’ and ‘cappos’ are rankings in the Cosa Nostra. These organized crime cartels serve many purposes, chief among which is getting rich quick. There’s ample opportunity for mischief in Basra and plenty to pilfer and smuggle: oil, arms, drugs, and whatever happens to fall off a truck leaving the port, after the truck itself had been “re-routed”. So there’s plenty of money and very little law enforcement—kind of like that Scorsese movie, Gangs of New York. Maliki made the calculation that he can take on these cartels and withstand the wrath of the other affiliated Mafiosi ‘familias’ that got unleashed in other parts of Iraq. The criminal syndicate knows that once Operation Cavalry Charge squashes their sweet set-up in Basra, then other pockets of criminality are going to be next, so that’s why they are going to the mattresses.

Well, so far several dozen of these Most Wanted folks have been killed, while tens of others are wounded or in hiding. At least 50 of them are under arrest. The outbreak of violence in places other than Basra was an occasion for the Iraqi Army and police to act on arrest warrants that have been outstanding since 2004, for example, several such dangerous outlaws were taken into custody in Karbala and Hillah.

The only complaints that I heard today came from people who were disappointed that Maliki did not go for the kill: he did not snuff out the Sadrist movement from Iraqi politics. These were people who felt that the time was right to go all way to the point of stripping Sadrist parliamentarians of their immunity and throwing them behind bars for being members of an outlawed party. What is incredibly interesting about this extremist sentiment is that such voices actually now think that Maliki and the Iraqi state have the wherewithal to do such as thing as outlaw the Sadrist movement and smash it. We’re not talking about some weird millenarian movement (…okay, we kinda are), this is the SADRIST MOVEMENT, admittedly much diminished but still, these are the bloody Sadrists, who even Saddam tiptoed around during his time!

Maliki was a political nobody before he ‘accidentally’ became Prime Minister almost two years ago, but today he is perceived as a statesman commanding a strong and motivated army that can impose law and order on once-powerful forces that have run amuck. If that’s not a benchmark of success, then what is?

The western media operating in Iraq regurgitated the Mahdi Army’s bravado as fact thereby serving as useful propaganda tools for the criminal cartels. I’d single out the New York Times, the Associated Press, McClatchy and CNN as the worst transgressors. Many journalists were positively orgasmic in anticipation of another ‘intifada’ or uprising to crease Bush’s message of hope and regeneration. But as the dust began to clear and the real scope of the battle was revealed, these journalists were reduced to alarmism of the “What if Martians decide to invade Basra too?” variety. Understandably, some of these journalists wanted the Iraq scene to heat up so that the public back in America would pay attention to Iraq and consequently to the careers of those reporting on Iraq for their once-glamorous war zone beat that was sure to land one a book deal a couple of years back had gone dull and dreary.

What then did these journalists do when they didn’t get their ‘intifada’? They couldn’t further imperil their careers by admitting that they were wrong—hell no!—so they’ve decided to brand Maliki and the Iraqi Army as the losers.

Really, there’s nothing one can do about this level of shamelessness. These journalists will make the rent this month, but all this spin will inevitably do much damage to their souls.

The weirdest talking point out of this whole episode was that Iran somehow ended up the victor. Tell that to Ahmadinejad who offered a long list of economic projects that the Iranians were interested in doing when he visited Iraq last month, but was politely rejected by Maliki’s team. The UIA delegation that visited al-Sadr went public in denouncing any media talk of Iranian intervention in calming down the situation and described such talk as “enemy propaganda”. I hope the Iraqi parliament would hold an emergency session to immediately revoke the visas of all these foreign journalists who are engaged in “enemy propaganda”, a justifiable measure especially since Iraq is in a state of war, if the foreign media is to be believed! While they’re at it, they should also pass a law that says that cocaine possession by foreign journalists is a crime punishable with unanesthetized nose-realignment plastic surgery.
Read the whole thing. (At least those of you who do not wish to swallow the Pink Kool Aid that MSM is handing out these days...)
DiscerningTexan, 4/03/2008 11:42:00 AM |