Must read: Basra set to disintegrate as Shiite militias overrun city

posted at 3:25 pm on May 19, 2007 by Allahpundit

Longish but essential. Fadhila controls the elite units of the local police and the oil terminals; the Mahdi Army controls the rest of the police and the ports and customs; and SCIRI’s Badr Brigade controls the commandos.

And of course Iran controls virtually everything.

The general was on the phone to another officer when I entered. He was jokingly threatening the caller: “Shut up or I will send democracy to your town.”

When he finished his conversation, the general – who didn’t want his name published because he feared retribution from militias – stretched out his hand to me and said: “Welcome to Tehran.”

I asked him about British claims that the security situation was improving. His reply was withering: “The British came here as military tourists. They committed huge mistakes when they formed the security forces. They appointed militiamen as police officers and chose not confront the militias. We have reached this point where the militias are a legitimate force in the street.”

A militiaman interviewed by the author elaborates:

“They [the Iranians] don’t give us weapons, they sell us weapons: an Iranian bomb costs us $100, nothing comes for free. We know Iran is not interested in the good of Iraq, and we know they are here to fight the Americans and the British on our land, but we need them and they are using us.”…

Most of the Shia militias and parties that control politics in Basra today were formed and funded by Tehran, he said…

[L]ike many he was philosophical about Iranian interference. “Unlike the US and the UK, Iran invested better. They knew where to pump their money, into militias and political parties. If a war happens they can take over Basra without even sending their soldiers. They are fighting a war of attrition with the US and UK, bleeding them slowly. We arrest Iranian spies and intelligence networks but they are not spying on the Kalashnikovs of the Iraqi army – they are here to gather intelligence on the coalition forces.”

It’s not just happening in Basra, either. Iraqslogger says the Shiite power struggles have succeeded where Al Qaeda car bombs have failed by drawing the militias back into the streets, specifically to do battle with each other. Fadhila and even Maliki’s Dawa Party factor here too, but the battles seem mainly to be between the JAM and the Badr Brigades (or Iraqi army personnel loyal to SCIRI), especially in Najaf, Baghdad, and most recently Nasiriya.

The southern Shiite areas are supposed to be the “quiet” areas of the country, which may be true for the moment but clearly won’t be for much longer. One has to wonder if this is a sneak peek at the next stage in the Sunnis’ cleansing of Al Qaeda from Anbar, with various tribal police forces bound to rub up against each other and carve out their fiefdoms after the jihadist threat has been neutralized.

Update: More good news — “Iraqi parliament falling into disarray.”

Last week, [parliament speaker Mahmoud] al-Mashhadani slapped a fellow Sunni lawmaker in the face and called him “scum” at the end of a raucous session. The sitting had already been cut short when many lawmakers left the chamber to protest the speaker’s claim that three-quarters of them were responsible for the sectarian killings and cleansing…

The speaker’s behavior appears increasingly erratic, but he has company in actions that disturb the public. Some lawmakers have tried to push through legislation granting them financial and other perks. Neither engenders confidence among Iraq’s people.

Sessions frequently descend in to fiery but pointless shouting matches and name-calling…

What’s more, many of Iraq’s heavyweight politicians rarely attend sessions. The list is long and includes former president Ghazi al-Yawer, former Shiite prime ministers Ayad Allawi and Ibrahim al-Jaafari, and senior Sunni statesman Adnan Pachachi.


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Sigh.

BJ* on May 19, 2007 at 4:10 PM

Its crap like this that make me wanna say “A pox on all of them”

Defector01 on May 19, 2007 at 4:25 PM

The staff at JihadWatch called match this a while ago. Worth reading & carefully thinking through their prescriptions for the area.

There are actually alternatives to packing up and coming home to the U.S., but unfortunately for our political elite, they require accepting certain fundamental truths about the Arab Muslim mindset. I don’t know if that’s politically possible at the moment.

RD on May 19, 2007 at 4:28 PM

Free Kurdistan, move our army there… let the rest of Iraq go to shit. We are getting sucked in a war of attrition.

We gave them a shot at freedom, they chose to go on Vacation. I have been there twice… the thought of leaving the good Iraqis I know to suffer as that country spirals out of control kinda makes me sick. But, I am failing to see the level of commitment by the countries leaders necessary to turn that country around. We can only do so much without laying a total “smackdown” (that our left/media would never stand for).

BadBrad on May 19, 2007 at 4:55 PM

I say we take off and nuke the site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.

VinceP1974 on May 19, 2007 at 5:20 PM

VinceP1974 on May 19, 2007 at 5:20 PM

be careful what you say on this site. that’s not a viable option and you know that.

I agree with BadBrad. Kurdistan is worth saving, the rest of Iraq – eh, not so much now.

Can someone answer this question? What is their endgame? What do the militias hope to accomplish? Wouldn’t it be better for all involved to just “get along” and why can’t they see that? Is it that the islamic mindset is so foreign to us that we really don’t have a clue as how to handle this crisis? Just asking.

pullingmyhairout on May 19, 2007 at 5:35 PM

VinceP1974 on May 19, 2007 at 5:20 PM

pullingmyhairout on May 19, 2007 at 5:35 PM

er… thats a quote from “Aliens” (thats Alien 2) the movie.

Its a quote from Ripley the main female character saying what they should do to the planet where the aliens have taken over a base of human inhabitants.

…and a pretty funny one to use in this context…..
sorry had to through my movie geek 2 cents in there…

-Wasteland Man.

WastelandMan on May 19, 2007 at 5:47 PM

throw not “through”
yeesh….

WastelandMan on May 19, 2007 at 5:49 PM

Sessions frequently descend in to fiery but pointless shouting matches and name-calling…
What’s more, many of Iraq’s heavyweight politicians rarely attend sessions.

Awww, how cute. Iraqi McCainiacs.

Stephen M on May 19, 2007 at 5:55 PM

Some lawmakers have tried to push through legislation granting them financial and other perks. Neither engenders confidence among Iraq’s people.

After 35-40 years of sadamn, they are deep seated in the premise that high position comes with money and power…screw the people. It’s a mind set for many Iraqi’s.
In their minds they’ve earned it and waited long enough, so it’s gimme gimme gimme, and THEN maybe we’ll do some real work. Most can not fathom what democracy means.

shooter on May 19, 2007 at 6:24 PM

sorry had to through my movie geek 2 cents in there…

-Wasteland Man.

oops. i’m not really a movie geek, so I though he was serious. I just don’t “get” the sci-fi stuff. sorry, VinceP.

pullingmyhairout on May 19, 2007 at 6:29 PM

Most can not fathom what democracy means.

shooter on May 19, 2007 at 6:24 PM

I agree, shooter. How on earth can they possibly understand democracy? The only thing they’ve experienced is violence. It’s all they know. their religion condones it, their state condones it, it surrounds them. It’s no wonder they can’t get their sh*t together.

pullingmyhairout on May 19, 2007 at 6:32 PM

Even in the worst case, even if we lose all else, we MUST save Kurdistan.

petefrt on May 19, 2007 at 7:09 PM

Not good, not good at all. You control Basra, you control a pretty signifigant trade route.

Krydor on May 19, 2007 at 7:36 PM

Something I fail to understand…If President Bush said, ad nauseum, “If you help a terrorist, you are a terrorist”…and we know that Iran is in deep with, but certainly not limited to, Basra…why don’t we hold Iran accountable for this?

JetBoy on May 19, 2007 at 8:10 PM

why don’t we hold Iran accountable for this?

Because of democraps.

Zorro on May 19, 2007 at 8:17 PM

They don’t control Basra…They don’t have the supply lines from atleast two directions. This is a stupid article. Iran doesn’t have the abilities you are giving them credit for. Ridiculous.

tomas on May 19, 2007 at 9:09 PM

Sure glad we didn’t send enough troops in the first place.

Didn’t kill Sadr and destroy his Madhi army when they first arose.

Didn’t install a mandated secular Constitution.

And don’t have any leaders of our own who understand the basics of islam or its 1400 year long march of imperialistic expansionism of militant, intolerant ohammadism.

Bush seems planty capable of destroying a country ruthlessles when he wants to.

Unfortunately, it’s America.

(Maybe we name to rename the country NoBorderstan.)

profitsbeard on May 19, 2007 at 9:12 PM

Typing with too much fury and letting a typo slip:

“…destroying a country ruthlessly

profitsbeard on May 19, 2007 at 9:14 PM

Maybe they just need a slogan? “Islamofascism, so easy a caveman can do it.”

Mojave Mark on May 20, 2007 at 12:38 AM

A knee jerk reaction agrees with the comment about saving the Kurds. They always were the best and brightest to the US out of the whole country. It will be a fargin shame, deeply, to see the innocents, the common Iraqis get a major screwing from the power-grabing, lust for resources, Iran controlled groups. LIke its been said, a war of attrition, Iran has been operating remote control, our rules of engagement were severly limited and we have over 3400 of the best Americans in the Mansions of the Lord but a lot of hurting family here at home. This whole thing just sucks a big one.

auspatriotman on May 20, 2007 at 12:41 AM

You guys lack and perspective other than politics…that sucks the big one.

tomas on May 20, 2007 at 8:42 AM

You guys are no better than Jimmy Carter

tomas on May 20, 2007 at 8:42 AM

Tomas,

I think they control Basra in the same manner Capone controlled Chicago during Prohibition. Your denials sound somewhat like J Edgar Hoover adamantly denying the existence of the Mafia.

Krydor on May 20, 2007 at 12:27 PM

Ok…we got rid of Capone we didn’t whine like little babies.

tomas on May 20, 2007 at 2:18 PM

tomas-

Capone died of syphilis in 1947. He served an 8 year tax evasion sentence starting in 1931, and was freed for “good behavior”.

If spirochetes hadn’t gotten him, he would have been back to work, but, instead,he retired in weakened health, to his Florida estate.

That’s not much “got rid of”.

Retirement to an unconfiscated estate.

profitsbeard on May 21, 2007 at 12:37 AM