Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: War on Terror — Rick Moran @ 7:33 am

The US says he’s in Iran. Some of his supporters say that he’s still in Iraq. Just where is the butchering sadist?

First, the US view:

While members of the U.S. House of Representatives take turns weighing in on President Bush’s planned troop surge in Iraq, the focus in Iraq is not on the arrival of more U.S. troops, but the departure of one of the country’s most powerful men, Moqtada al Sadr and members of his army.

According to senior military officials, al Sadr left Baghdad two to three weeks ago and fled to Tehran, Iran, where he has family.

Al Sadr commands the Mahdi army, one of the most formidable insurgent militias in Iraq, and his move coincides with the announced U.S. troop surge in Baghdad.

Sources believe al Sadr is worried about an increase of 20,000 U.S. troops in the Iraqi capital. One official told ABC News’ Martha Raddatz, “He is scared he will get a JDAM [bomb] dropped on his house.”

Sources say some of the Mahdi army leadership went with al Sadr.

AP, however, is reporting that Sadr is still in Iraq:

Supporters of Muqtada al-Sadr said Wednesday that the radical Shiite cleric was still in Iraq, denying a report that he fled to Iran ahead of a security crackdown targeting his militia.

An Iraqi government official said al-Sadr was in the Shiite holy city of Najaf Tuesday night, when he received delegates from several government departments. The official, who is familiar with one of those meetings, spoke on condition of anonymity because he has no authority to disclose information on his department’s activities.

The denials came after a senior U.S. official said Tuesday that al-Sadr left his Baghdad stronghold some weeks ago and is believed to be in Tehran, where he has family.

The official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss U.S. monitoring activities, said fractures in al-Sadr’s political and militia operations may be part of the reason for his departure. The move is not believed to be permanent, the official said.

Al-Sadr’s militia is blamed for much of the sectarian violence and is widely seen as the main threat to Iraq’s unity and high on the list of targets for the Baghdad security operation.

I wonder if the “anonymous official” is related to Jamil Hussein?

Actually, I think both stories are correct. It is possible that al-Sadr has moved his base of operations to Tehran but could very well make periodic trips back to Iraq. But what is really troubling is the thought that Mookie has lost control of his militia and now fears some of them as much as he fears the Americans.

As long as al-Sadr was the leader of a radical religious militia opposed to the occupation (and any Iraqis who cooperated with us), his followers were united. But once the radical cleric stepped into the political arena, he risked the cohesion of his organization. Indeed, this appears to be what has transpired. Al-Sadr has spoken out frequently the last few months against sectarian violence. While most observers see his denunciations as pro-forma and insincere, some of his commanders apparently went off on their own and formed death squads in order to “cleanse” Iraq of Sunnis. U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad told Newsweek back in August:

“There are forces that are controlled by Moqtada, but there are commanders that are not controlled by him; there are death squads that are not controlled by him.”

This is what our people saw from the Mahdi Army 6 months ago:

Under the leadership of Sadr, the Mahdi Army was considered a containable force, susceptible to political bargaining. But as Sadr has leaned toward moderation—his party now has 30 seats in the National Assembly—men fighting under his militia’s banner have become more aggressive. In interviews with NEWSWEEK, Mahdi Army members, Iraqi politicians and Western officials describe an organization in which local commanders are increasingly independent from Sadr, splintering into cells of fighters committed to civil war. There are at least four offshoot Mahdi leaders in Sadr City alone; some groups are taking orders from Iran. There’s similar fragmentation in the largely Shiite cities of Najaf and Basra. According to a U.S. military intel official in Najaf, Coalition forces have been attacked by individuals who get their inspiration from the Mahdi Army but are not official members—men with “an AK-47, an RPG and a Sadr poster,” says the official, requesting anonymity because of the issue’s sensitivity.

The situation is so volatile that, according to the U.S. officials, Sadr now fears for his own safety and position.

According to the AP article, Sadr sleeps in a different place every night and rarely appears in public. This could be due to a combination of fear of his own people and fear that the Americans have placed a bullseye on his forehead. Either way, Sadr has limited choices open to him. He can continue to try and work within the political system (where his radical anti-Sunni positions have been a hindrance to the government’s efforts to draw the Sunnis into greater participation in Iraqi political life) or he could become even more radical and begin open warfare against the United States.

In fact, there is some evidence that while many of us here in America have been critical of the Bush Administration for not “going after” al-Sadr, the military may have been trying to draw the Mahdi Army into open conflict with the Americans all along.

Bill Roggio:

While much of the public’s perceptions of the efforts against Sadr are shaped by operations in Sadr City in Baghdad, the Coalition and Iraqi government are chipping away at his power base outside of Baghdad. The series of raids and clashes, often masked as efforts against “criminals,” “thugs,” “death squads,” and “kidnappers,” are being conducted against the extreme elements of Sadr and his Mahdi Army. The goal is to remove Sadr from a position of influence, either by force or his surrender, and split his power base. Sadr’s lieutenants are being systematically targeted, which will drive him to either fight or withdraw.

You may recall the operation carried out by the military in late October following the kidnapping of an American serviceman where all of Sadr City was sealed. Only the intercession of Prime Minister Maliki who ordered a lifting of the blockade saved the Mahdi Army from a confrontation then. At that time, we were targeting known death squad leaders - some of whom had denounced Sadr for joining the political process and for not being radical enough in trying to cleanse Iraq of Sunnis.

Now it appears that we are once again prepared to hunt down and destroy al-Sadr’s creation. But should we target Sadr himself? Ed Morrissey feels that by driving him out of the country and into Iran, the anti-American cleric may have destroyed his own credibility:

And as for Sadr, this will destroy him and his Mahdi Army. ABC reports that Sadr wants to try to run the Mahdis from Tehran, but his credibility as a jihadi just tanked. Who’s going to fight for someone who won’t stand up for himself?

And the Iranians surely have to be thumping their foreheads over his bug-out. The US had just demonstrated that the Iranians had backed the insurgencies, which the Iranians disputed, and the chief of the Shi’ite militias announces that he’s going to become a remote-control general from their turf. It’s going to be very difficult for anyone to pretend that Iran has not actively fueled the insurgencies while Moqtada directs his armies by long-distance telephone calls.

This demonstrates that the US forces have seized the initiative in Baghdad, and that the Maliki government has apparently completely abandoned Sadr. It’s a tremendous victory in the preliminary stages, and it sets the table for an end to the hottest part of the insurgencies in the Iraqi capital.

I’m not in complete agreement with Ed. This “victory” is actually part and parcel of what we’ve been seeing not only from the Mahdi Army but also insurgents and death squad members. They are leaving Baghdad in anticipation of the crackdown. Once a modicum of peace is restored and the Americans begin pulling out, they will probably be back - with a vengeance.

I agree with Ed that this knocks the chocks out from underneath the argument made by war critics that the surge will have no effect on the violence in Baghdad. The fact is, it already has. It is now up to Maliki and the Iraqi government to take advantage of any lull in the violence and reach out to the Sunnis in order to build a truly national government where all Iraqis feel they have a stake in the future.

Since Sadr refuses to change his ways or alter his ultra Shia nationalistic beliefs, he has become a political liability for Maliki. This could be why the Iraqi Prime Minister has abandoned him to the tender mercies of the American military and why Sadr sleeps in a different bed every night.


Did Maliki set up Sadr’s exit to Iraq in order to avoid capture by the Americans?

Alphabet City:

Question: A cowardly act by the Shia Benedict Arnold who fled into Iran because Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki abandoned him?

Or is there more to this story? Maybe.

Letter Said From PM on Plan To Hide Al-Mahdi Leaders in Iran From US Forces

Originally published on 2/1/2007 by Jihadist Websites — OSC Report in Arabic

Terrorism: Website Claims Iraqi PM and Al-Sadr Will Hide Al-Mahdi Leaders in Iran from US Forces

On 1 February, a website posted a letter allegedly from Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, marked “Secret, Personal, and Urgent”, in which the prime minister, following consultations with his National Security Adviser and cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, decided “to hide the leaders and commanders of Al-Mahdi Army in Iran to keep them from getting arrested or killed by US forces”. The alleged letter was dated 14 January 2007, and was signed by the prime minister. The letter was posted without comment.

The OSC report says the letter was posted to a jihadist website. Most likely Sunni. If so, it could be an attempt by Sunni jihadist and/or insurgent elements to discredit Maliki’s pledge of religious impartiality in Operation Secure Bagdad. In other words, more fanning of sectarian flames.

The other possibility, the document is genuine and Muqtada has not run with his tail between his legs but has been secreted away in Iran with the blessings of PM Maliki and NSA Mowaffak al-Rubaie. Both belong to the Dawa Party which forged it’s ties to the Khomeinists during Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s exile in Najaf in the late 1970s.

Since it would fully be in keeping with Maliki’s efforts to protect al-Sadr over these last months, I would tend to think that the letter is genuine and represents a sell-out by Maliki of our military and of the man who has sacrificed his personal and political standing with the American people to support him; George Bush.

The extent of this betrayal is too ghastly to comprehend. What it says to me is that Maliki has no intention of seeking a political solution to Iraq’s troubles and has thrown in his lot with the ultra Shia nationalists who want a Sunni-free Iraq. How they get to that point will make Bosnia look like a picnic and Darfur pale in comparison. Tens of thousands of Sunnis killed with millions on the move as refugees. Utter, complete chaos and disaster.

Is there no one in Iraq with the vision and the guts to lead the country to something better?


  1. [...] Moran’s got an interesting post this morning about whether Sadr really did fly the coop. One of his aides told the Times that he’s still in the country and will prove it by holding a press conference in a few days. That proves nothing about his present whereabouts, though; it can’t be hard for someone of his influence to come and go across the border. Moran also thinks Sadr’s departure might be a sign of a schism between himself and more radical rogue elements within the Mahdi Army — a development he calls “troubling” and which I call grrrrreat. Let the fanatics come out and fight. That’s exactly what we want. [...]

    Pingback by Hot Air » Blog Archive » U.S. soldier kidnapped in October still alive? — 2/14/2007 @ 10:41 am

  2. So basically we have the following situation in Iraq:

    1) We have proof now that surge is working. Hell, the mere *threat* of the surge is working to clean up Baghdad. Keeping it that way is entirely a different matter, but the first step is already working.

    2) The Democrats are about to step in a huge pile of their own crap as they discuss how to triangulate their way safely past something that’s now null and void due to point #1, namely that the surge can’t work and that it should be attacked as the opening salvo in pulling out the troops. It’s already working, and if we leave, all that we’ve accomplished in Iraq goes away (along with, oh, a million lives.) The American people will notice both and put two and two together.

    3) The Mehdi Army is now a wild card and needs to be removed from the picture. The enemy you know, you can anticipate and deal with. The enemy you don’t know is far more dangerous. It’s not the Doberman you know is in the neighbor’s back yard that’s the problem, it’s the stray rabid mutt running loose that’s the real threat. And it’s far past time to put this mutt down.

    4) PM Maliki is not one of the good guys. Perhaps he never was, but if really is responsible for getting Muqtada out of Iraq, then we need to seriously consider what Iraq would look like without him in power and we need to explore that.

    So, the good news, Al Sadr is out as the biggest threat in Iraq. The bad news is he may have been replaced by Malaki. Not a good day.

    Comment by Jared — 2/14/2007 @ 11:07 am

  3. [...] Dum dum bulletpoint of the day: Chaos is a good thing. Much better in Iraq to have a bunch of splintered Shiites bleeding you out rather than have a knife like al Sadr in the heart of a young democracy like Iraq. He gone, nicely ahead of the surge, must be afraid of the surge. Or something. Why didn’t somebody just off him before he made off? Sadr is now in Teheran. Or Najaf. Or somewhere. For sure. If some think it sucks that Sadr is still alive, it will suck even more when he is a martyr. [...]

    Pingback by The Heretik : Off and Running — 2/14/2007 @ 3:36 pm

  4. al-Sadr still (or back?) in Iraq?

    Maliki, Rubaie Arranged Muqtada’s Iranian Vacation? ABC News and CNN yesterday reported that Muqtada al-Sadr, fearing attack from US forces or assassination from the more extreme elements within his militia, left Iraq for Iran two to three weeks ago t…

    Trackback by Bill's Bites — 2/14/2007 @ 9:07 pm

  5. Excerpted and linked at al-Sadr still (or back?) in Iraq?

    Comment by Bill Faith — 2/14/2007 @ 9:10 pm

  6. “How they get to that point will make Bosnia look like a picnic and Darfur pale in comparison. Tens of thousands of Sunnis killed with millions on the move as refugees. Utter, complete chaos and disaster.”

    Ahh, yes, an inspiring vision of triumph! Funny, I thought the objective of the “surge” had something to do with providing lasting political stability to the fragile young democracy of Iraq, not a transient lull in the Baghdad homicide rate while the death squads spread out over the rest of the country. But you keep right on declaring the “surge” an enormous success; I’m sure that’ll remove the stench of total failure from the Republican Party by the time of the 2008 elections. Of course, you’ll also have to devise some way to wipe the voters’ memories clean of the most manifestly unfit human being ever to squat on a White House toilet, much less actually sit in the Oval Office. You may as well just relax and enjoy it: the Democratic Party will be running against George Bush for a generation.

    Comment by legaleagle — 2/14/2007 @ 11:32 pm

  7. Mookie: Here, there, and everywhere

    He’s in Iraq. No, he’s in Iran. On a sight-seeing trip. Yeah, that’s the ticket: An adviser to Iraq’s prime minister said Thursday that radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr is in Iran, but denied he fled due to fear of…

    Trackback by Michelle Malkin — 2/15/2007 @ 6:30 am

  8. The extent of this betrayal is too ghastly to comprehend. What it says to me is that Maliki has no intention of seeking a political solution to Iraq’s troubles and has thrown in his lot with the ultra Shia nationalists who want a Sunni-free Iraq. How they get to that point will make Bosnia look like a picnic and Darfur pale in comparison. Tens of thousands of Sunnis killed with millions on the move as refugees. Utter, complete chaos and disaster.

    Is there no one in Iraq with the vision and the guts to lead the country to something better?

    Tell me again why we should still be in Iraq. This soooooooooo reminds me of Vietnam, when we couldn’t get the South Vietnamese Government we wanted–Diem was a Catholic who infuriated the Buddhists, etc. etc., so he had to be “deposed,” i.e. assassinated.

    I see absolutely no point in our continued participation in an Iraqi civil war. The scandal is that we created the conditions that allowed it to germinate, based on the absurd neocon idea that by waving a purple finger we could create a 21st century Western style democracy in a brutalized country whose three factions have hated each other for centuries.

    The previous commenter who said “the Democratic Party will be running against George Bush for a generation” has nailed it exactly.

    Yours truly is pretty much the proof. As a long-time conservative, I no longer think that the Democrats have a monopoly on incompetence in foreign affairs. Bush’s botching of the “Global War on Terror” will have a lasting effect on U.S. politics.

    Comment by Redhand — 2/15/2007 @ 8:24 am

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