Sadr: Hey, maybe it’s time to disband the Mahdi Army

posted at 2:05 pm on April 7, 2008 by Allahpundit

Reuters is in “shock.” Did hardball work?

Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr offered on Monday to disband his militia if the highest Shi’ite religious authority demand it, a shock announcement at a time when the group is the focus of an upsurge in fighting.

It was the first time Sadr has offered to dissolve the Mehdi Army militia, whose black-masked fighters have been principle actors throughout Iraq’s five-year-old war and the main foes of U.S. and Iraqi forces in widespread battles over recent weeks…

Senior Sadr aide Hassan Zargani said Sadr would seek rulings from Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq’s most senior Shi’ite cleric, as well as senior Shi’ite clergy based in Iran, on whether to dissolve the Mehdi Army, and would obey their orders.

A spokesman for Sadr insists that Maliki’s threat to ban the Sadrists from politics is unconstitutional, but if they’re talking about disbanding they’re obviously taking it seriously enough. Question one: If, per Ed’s post this morning, “[t]he first step will be adding language to a draft election bill banning parties that operate militias from fielding candidates in provincial balloting this fall,” where does that leave SCIRI, which fields its own considerable militia (the Badr Brigades) and whose interests in ruling the southern part of the country the Basra operation was allegedly intended to protect? Is the Badr militia disbanding too, or have they already formally “disbanded” and remade themselves as more of a shadow force, a model the JAM will doubtless follow?

Question two: Rational, power-hungry people simply don’t hand over their 60,000-man personal army unless they’ve been decisively crushed, and whatever may have happened in Basra, the JAM wasn’t decisively crushed. There’s some sort of strategic angle to this announcement, but what? My first hunch was that Sadr’s trying to have the militia’s legitimacy blessed by the Shiite religious authorities, on the assumption that Maliki wouldn’t dare move against him again if the movement is sanctified. It shouldn’t be hard to get that blessing from the Iranian clerics, but what if Sistani comes down the other way? From what I understand, many Iraqi Shia are suspicious of Sadr because of Iran’s influence over him; their loyalties aren’t a simple matter of sect, but of patriotism too. If Iraq’s chief religious authority ends up at loggerheads with Iran’s, then Sadr looks like a stooge and ends up in a bad spot with the people he’s trying to win over. Which makes me think he wouldn’t dare bring Sistani into it unless he had reason to believe he’d rule his way.

Question three, the flip side of the last one: Rational, power-hungry criminals don’t simply lay down their arms because some fat idiot who doesn’t live in the country anymore tells them to. The JAM is one part army, one part mafia operation, one part street gang. They’re not going to give up racketeering, extortion, and the impressive weapons Iran’s supplying them with simply to make Muqtada Sadr happy. The true religious devotees among them might, but what percentage could that realistically be? If you believe that Sadr is a wholly owned puppet of Iran and that the JAM on the ground are already well integrated with Revolutionary Guard commanders, then there may be little downside from Iran’s standpoint in having Sadr officially “disband” them: It keeps the Sadrists viable within the government and the militia will crawl on anyway in its informal guise as loosely confederated neighborhood “units” (which is how the U.S. treats them in targeting the “rogue” groups while leaving the “legitimate” ones alone).

Thoughts on what’s really going on here? No one gets this lucky.

Update: One of the commenters notes that Sadr is studying to be an ayatollah as we speak and may have some sort of glorious Khomeini-esque return to Iraq in mind within the next few years. If it’s personal power he’s after, then ingratiating himself with the religious authorities by deferring to them may be more useful than keeping his army, which will exist in some fashion anyway via Iranian management and can always be reconstituted later. The question is simply what’s the fastest way to the top at this point, religious legitimacy or brute military strength?

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Sadr’s teeing Sistani up to sanctify the movement. With you on this, AP.

Vizzini on April 7, 2008 at 2:09 PM

Sadr’s teeing Sistani up to sanctify the movement.

Will he do it, though? Even the other Shiite parties are against the Sadrists.

Allahpundit on April 7, 2008 at 2:10 PM

Will he do it, though? Even the other Shiite parties are against the Sadrists.

Allahpundit on April 7, 2008 at 2:10 PM

I would suspect. Unless he’s getting beat up worse (whether that’s army on the streets or in the background by fellow clerics) than we know, why would he have his fate determined by someone else? I’m no kingpin, but it seems that kingpinnery would demand a bit more control over one’s destiny.

Vizzini on April 7, 2008 at 2:16 PM

Super – after he gets direction from the Iranians he can go the DNC.

Although since the Democrats are merely a rubber-stamp for the mullahs, Mookie will end up doing what he’s told.

NoDonkey on April 7, 2008 at 2:17 PM

Sistani isn’t going to throw down against the Iranian Shia don. Nationalism versus the majority Islam sect? You know who wins that one.

a capella on April 7, 2008 at 2:18 PM

Sistani is not going to bless the Mahdis under any circumstances. Sadr has spent the last few years challenging Sistani’s authority without any success, and anyway, Sistani doesn’t believe in theocratic Islamic rule. Sistani is a “quietist”, a much different kind of Shi’ite than Ruhollah Khomeini and the Iranian mullahs, which Sadr follows.

Sistani is going to give him his excuse to disband the Mahdis.

Ed Morrissey on April 7, 2008 at 2:19 PM

Our main enemy in Iraq is not the mahdi madmen, but the AlQaeda madmen.

dogsoldier on April 7, 2008 at 2:20 PM

Hmmm… orrrrrr….

Sadr actualy does BELIEVE! He is sitting an a Mosque, studying to become a Grand Ayatolah himself. The Mahdi army is supposed to be the army that will protect the Mahdi when he emerges…

ISLAM means submission… I think he IS a believer whose Faith in Islam, and its structure, is now in conflict with his political desires.

So, he kicked the decision upstairs, to those who know more of Islam, then he does.

Remember, we in the West are so used to secular rulers, that we forget that a large portion of the rest of the world WILL still do things for purely religious reasons.

Romeo13 on April 7, 2008 at 2:23 PM

Sistani is not going to bless the Mahdis under any circumstances. Sadr has spent the last few years challenging Sistani’s authority without any success, and anyway, Sistani doesn’t believe in theocratic Islamic rule.

Sistani is a “quietist”, a much different kind of Shi’ite than Ruhollah Khomeini and the Iranian mullahs, which Sadr follows.

Sistani is going to give him his excuse to disband the Mahdis.

Ed Morrissey on April 7, 2008 at 2:19 PM

Hope you’re right, but without them, Sadr becomes a political eunoch. He had to know that would happen when he asked for the blessing, if he thought he might lose. Doesn’t make sense.

a capella on April 7, 2008 at 2:23 PM

Or, could it simply be that Sadr is trying to hide the fact that he is perhaps weeks away from his forces completely collapsing. His negotiating an end will provide some continuance of his influence and keep doors open for him in parliament. An outright defeat, which may well be pending, will make him a permanent resident of Iran.

Syd B. on April 7, 2008 at 2:24 PM

Senior Sadr aide Hassan Zargani said Sadr would seek rulings from Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq’s most senior Shi’ite cleric, as well as senior Shi’ite clergy based in Iran, on whether to dissolve the Mehdi Army, and would obey their orders.

Does anyone really still doubt who is pulling Sadr’s strings?

BohicaTwentyTwo on April 7, 2008 at 2:24 PM

Sistani is going to give him his excuse to disband the Mahdis.

Ed Morrissey on April 7, 2008 at 2:19 PM

Let’s hope. What a coup this will be if he does, particularly when Petraeus makes his case.

Vizzini on April 7, 2008 at 2:24 PM

If Sadr asks Shia religious authorities at all about whether to disband his militia, he HAD to include Ayatollah Sistani. There is NO WAY that Sadr could exclude him; he is far and away the leading Shia cleric in Iraq, and has been for years.

Salamantis on April 7, 2008 at 2:27 PM

Sistani is going to give him his excuse to disband the Mahdis.

Ed Morrissey on April 7, 2008 at 2:19 PM

That’s about where I am on this. It seems like Sadr intends to use Sistani as the scapegoat for the disbanding.

amerpundit on April 7, 2008 at 2:28 PM

Remember, we in the West are so used to secular rulers, that we forget that a large portion of the rest of the world WILL still do things for purely religious reasons.

Romeo13 on April 7, 2008 at 2:23 PM

So true. Perhaps word came down from Allah that now is not the right time for the 12th imam (Mahdi) has chosen to return, due to lack of chaos in Iraq.

RushBaby on April 7, 2008 at 2:30 PM

A spokesman for Sadr insists that Maliki’s threat to ban the Sadrists from politics is unconstitutional,

Actually LOL here. Is mounting an armed rebellion against the fledgling government constitutional then?

I love chutzpah in my islamic terrorists.

funky chicken on April 7, 2008 at 2:30 PM

Hmmm… and for personal power…

Sadr is studying to become a Grand Ayatolah… and once he does and goes back to Iraq, with the Iraqi Constitution which submits to Sharia law, he would have a HUGE amount of personal power… all without tearing Iraq apart.

Sadr may be having “problems” with his Aryan Iranian handlers. He may be really uncomfortable now that he a junior partner in the arrangement.

Romeo13 on April 7, 2008 at 2:34 PM

Is Sadr afraid of going the way of AQI?

Is there evidence of Shia “awakening councils,” or simply neighborhood watch groups, informing on the Mehdi?

silverfox on April 7, 2008 at 2:35 PM

Seems to me that the most likely explanation is that the results of the recent fighting show him a likely future that isn’t too bright. He is trying to salvage some political clout and save some face, rather than lose everything over the next six months, which is what will likely happen if he doesn’t do something like this.

exhelodrvr on April 7, 2008 at 2:35 PM

Sadr is studying to become a Grand Ayatolah… and once he does and goes back to Iraq, with the Iraqi Constitution which submits to Sharia law, he would have a HUGE amount of personal power… all without tearing Iraq apart.

Yeah, I’m thinking about that too. I’ll add an update.

Allahpundit on April 7, 2008 at 2:39 PM

The problem is Al-Sadr has lost control of the militia, which probably is fractured in those working directly at Iran’s direction and those true reneagade. I suspect Mooki has been told in no uncertain terms by his Tehran masters they are in charge and this is the only way he can salvage at least some political cred in Iraq. If Mookie formally ‘disbands’ them, look for a massive operation to immediately follow, with Iraqi troops pouring into their areas under U.S. air cover. Those that fight then will be obliterated without mercy.

The sneaky side of me hopes we’ve broken enough of the Qod organization to send false orders through the chain of command to fight; that way the wolves will have to shed their sheep’s clothing and they can be rendered unto room temperature efficiently.

michaelo on April 7, 2008 at 2:40 PM

Sadr may be having “problems” with his Aryan Iranian handlers. He may be really uncomfortable now that he a junior partner in the arrangement.

Romeo13 on April 7, 2008 at 2:34 PM

That is a pretty good point. I’d forgotten about the Persian-Arab aspect. Can’t keep track of all the different hatreds.

a capella on April 7, 2008 at 2:41 PM

Wow. Maybe Nancy Pelosi can step in and take al Sadr’s place? She’s really depending on that militia.

crowtreboot on April 7, 2008 at 2:49 PM

a capella on April 7, 2008 at 2:41 PM

Yeah, one of the things we tend to forget here is that this is that the Middle East today is much like Europe in the Middle Ages.

You had Secular rulers, and the Catholic Church. The church had to anoint Kings… and had a LOT of influence with Rulers… and the rulers by and large supported the Church. Europe had two power structures which while supporting each other, did not always agree.

They even had two seperate sets of Laws… with both the State and the Church having enforcers (religious orders, Inquisitors…), just like Saudi Arabia with its government police, and its religious police.

Thats part of why our politicians and media over here just can’t seem to get a handle on this, they don’t THINK this way… we try to deal with the secular authorities WITHOUT dealing with the equaly (or more) powerfull religious power structure.

Romeo13 on April 7, 2008 at 2:53 PM

Ever since his beat-down (in 2004 or 2005?) Sadr’s been a bit shy about about open conflict with the US. Open confrontation with the Iraqi gov’t and the US would leave him in permanent exile if should lose.

The fact that the Iraqi gov’t is now pressing serious demands means they must think they have the upper hands. If true, not so surprising that Sadr would try to some face-saving way out.

Clark1 on April 7, 2008 at 2:55 PM

I think it’s good to understand the mind of an Ayatollah. On one hand they need to speak like a crazy person to affect that part of the brain that gets excited when a crazy person speaks. On the other hand the Ayatollah needs to balance the forces he wields, otherwise the people he wields forces on get mad and turn against him. This is a simplistic view of Ayatollah-ness, but it can all be boiled down to this, and one may gain insight into why Sadr is making the decisions he is making now. It’s also important to note that Islam knows no difference between politics and religion, because Mohammed was both.

Of all things it’s not because he feels bad, but rather he knows he needs to act with balance (or whatever the Muslim world considers balance). He understands that play’in shoot-em-up with his fellow Shi’ites isn’t very balanced and will eventually lead to Shi’ites-in-general turning against him. And if he really wants to become an Ayatollah he needs to show Sistani he can act with a balanced mind while still spewing his crazy-ass message(s).

PresidenToor on April 7, 2008 at 3:06 PM

PresidenToor, I read that whole thing, and I see “Jeremiah Wright.”

Interesting parallel, no?

funky chicken on April 7, 2008 at 3:11 PM

Iran, Sistani, and Maliki want us out of Iraq. The fastest, easiest way to get us out of Iraq is to get the place stable. Thus the message was delivered to Mookie that he needs to STFU and STFD for a while.

Once we are gone he can play whack-a-Sunni to his heart’s content.

Sorry if that sounds cynical, but that’s my take.

funky chicken on April 7, 2008 at 3:13 PM

Wow. Maybe Nancy Pelosi can step in and take al Sadr’s place? She’s really depending on that militia.

crowtreboot on April 7, 2008 at 2:49 PM

Heh. Well, Murtha’s already run AQI into the ground, its doubtful she’ll do any better. They’re running out of enemies to live vicariously through.

BohicaTwentyTwo on April 7, 2008 at 3:26 PM

funky chicken on April 7, 2008 at 3:13 PM

Possible… IF Al Maliki sticks to his guns, and forces a confrontation while the American military is still there? The Mahdi army will loose, and hand Maliki a stronger hand.

One thing Iran does NOT want is a strong Iraqi army, and giving them a real victory will help their confidence immensely.

Also, any Iraqi victory helps the REPUBLICANs in the next US election… while an increased level of terrorism there plays into the hands of the Dems…

Last thing Iran wants right now is a stand up fight.

Romeo13 on April 7, 2008 at 3:26 PM

“Did hardball work”…Ed?

Senator McCain said this about that…

“…McCain: It was al-Sadr that declared the ceasefire, not Maliki. … With respect, I don’t think Sadr would have declared the ceasefire if he thought he was winning. Most times in history, military engagements, the winning side doesn’t declare the ceasefire. The second point is, overall, the Iraqi military performed pretty well. … The military is functioning very effectively…”

Oh almost forgot…

The New York Times reported Friday that at least 1,000 Iraqi national soldiers deserted or refused to fight in Basra.

Keith actually gets it right…

“Olbermann: …that Sadr had only called for the ceasefire after members of Maliki’s government asked Sadr to do so in a during a secret trip to meet with Sadr in Iran.—making McCain wrong about the facts on his signature issue, making Sadr not Maliki the victor in this conflict by McCain’s own reasoning. And making Iran and not McCain and not the US the mediator of choice for Iraq’s two top Shi’a factions. The Maliki government and the Sadrists.”

By my count this is the fifth time in the last two weeks Senator McCain gets it bassackwards with respect to operations in Iraq?

I told you all; the “Saint” should keep “Holy Joe” at his right elbow whenever he speaks about military operations in Iraq, economics or foreign policy!

J_Gocht on April 7, 2008 at 4:08 PM

J_Gocht on April 7, 2008 at 4:08 PM

Yes, because Olberman is so knowledable about military operations happening on another continent…

1000 POLICEMEN would not fight… Internal security, by ONE report from a “local source”… Government reports say some did desert… but they were LOCAL COPS and probably already part of Sadr’s forces who had infiltrated the Local Cops.

Operations in Sadr City and Baghdad contiue. Some reports saying the Mahdi army was close to collapse when Sadr declared the unilateral ceasefire. That HUNDREDS of Mahdi army fighters had been killed, and many others arrested.

Both diametricly opposed reports are probably somewhat propoganda, with the truth being somewhere in the middle…

But, if Sadr disbands his army, are you still going to say McCain had it wrong? Or is Olberman your end all be all of Military political analysts…

Romeo13 on April 7, 2008 at 4:28 PM

My guess: Sadr will come back a month later and say Maliki broke some rule and therefore he doesn’t have to disband his militia and he won’t do it.

indythinker on April 7, 2008 at 4:29 PM

indythinker on April 7, 2008 at 4:29 PM

Won’t matter if the Iraqi army has boots on the ground.

These militias have prospered because they had both safe havens (Sadr city no go zone for the army), political support (in Parliament), and an outside source of supply (Iran).

Cut the supply lines, and have boots on the ground in their previous safe havens, and they will not be able to reconstitute to anywhere near the level they had before.

Romeo13 on April 7, 2008 at 4:32 PM

“Yes, because Olberman is so knowledable about military operations happening on another continent…”

Actually Romeo, I’m far more concerned with Senator McCain’s continuing bloopers!

“1000 POLICEMEN would not fight…”

How’s it go…1000 here, 1000 there, 1000 in every large city they’re fightin”? Pretty soon you’re talkin’ 10,000 “local cops” and that to me is a rather large troop?

“Both diametricly opposed reports are probably somewhat propoganda, with the truth being somewhere in the middle…”

You think?

“But, if Sadr disbands his army, are you still going to say McCain had it wrong? Or is Olberman your end all be all of Military political analysts…”

If you think that Sadr is going to disband his malitia in any real significant manner, Romeo… I’ll jump back on the turnip wagon!

J_Gocht on April 7, 2008 at 4:58 PM

If you think that Sadr is going to disband his malitia in any real significant manner, Romeo… I’ll jump back on the turnip wagon!

J_Gocht on April 7, 2008 at 4:58 PM

Did you bother to read the above article?

May wanna go find that turnip wagon…

Sadr is in IRAN, if he makes a public statement that the Army is disbanding, he is not there in Sadr City to tell his minions “nah, its all a trick”.

Romeo13 on April 7, 2008 at 5:02 PM

…the turnip wagon from whence I have just fallen!

J_Gocht on April 7, 2008 at 5:02 PM

crowtreboot on April 7, 2008 at 2:49 PM

<Guffaw>

Kafir on April 7, 2008 at 5:11 PM

“…Senior Sadr aide Hassan Zargani said Sadr would seek rulings from Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq’s most senior Shi’ite cleric, as well as senior Shi’ite clergy based in Iran, on whether to dissolve the Mehdi Army, and would obey their orders.”

Has al-Sistani ruled?

How do Senator’s Clinton and McCain respond when they disagree with their spokespersons?

Dammit, guess I’m back on the wagon!

J_Gocht on April 7, 2008 at 5:11 PM

I agree with Syd B. The Mahdi militia will get taken down by the coalition before the October elections anyway. By giving it up nominally, Sadr can say its defeat, if it keeps fighting, was not his defeat. If he wins politically in the Fall, he has a role in the government and can be there when the coalition is largely gone. With Iranian help, he could take over someday.

If he tells his militia to defy the parliament and it gets wiped, he loses face and a chance for a political role because he will be an official criminal (as opposed to a merely actual criminal.)

As for J-Gocht:

Are you still harping on that one army unit that broke when it was only a month or so out of basic training, had no armor, was not coordinating with air support and had no indigenous artillery? The unit should not have been in that kind of combat; period. It wasn’t ready, equipped or supported. Once the army broke, of course the police did not stand up since they would be completely outgunned. This was poor leadership on Maliki’s part so do not condemn the entire Iraqi army or police.

When given time to get experience, the Iraqi army and police can certainly hold areas once the Americans clear them. We see this clearly in other areas. Americans have armor. The Americans can call on artillery and air support and they are very experienced.

When we finish with Mosul, we will certainly deal effectively with the Mahdi using standard COIN techniques —
COPS – Clear – Hold — Build.

KW64 on April 7, 2008 at 5:22 PM

Romeo13…

DEBKAfile: Another 3 US soldiers killed in separate attacks Monday in Baghdad – six deaths in two days
April 7, 2008, 11:11 PM (GMT+02:00)
“…Three were killed, 31 injured in rocket attacks on Baghdad’s Green Zone Sunday night amid fierce clashes between US forces and Shiite gunmen in the capital’s Sadr City in which at least 20 people were killed and 52 wounded. Wednesday, a mass demonstration has been called by Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr to press for an end to the US “occupation.”
Iraqi leaders called Sunday on all political groups to disband their militias ahead of provincial elections in October. Sadr says says will do so if ordered by the clerics.

Have the clerics ruled?

J_Gocht on April 7, 2008 at 5:34 PM

Here’s my take on it. The only way for this thing to proceed without someone backing down is for Shiite vs. Shiite violence to escalate. That idea can’t excite Iran, and it doesn’t excite Sadr or any of the millions of Shia living in Bagdhad who’ve had their fill of violence. Is it so hard to see this without imposing some Machavellian spin on it? Not that I’m discounting the possibility. It could be just that. But not everything in religion and politics is an enigma. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

And to a capella who said “Sistani isn’t going to throw down against the Iranian Shia don. Nationalism versus the majority Islam sect? You know who wins that one”, the majority Islam sect is Sunni. By a mess o’ taters.

Immolate on April 7, 2008 at 5:35 PM

Have the clerics ruled?

J_Gocht on April 7, 2008 at 5:34 PM

Nope no announcement yet… and from what I hear Operations by the Iraqi army are ongoing… with US and Brit Air support.

/gets out the popcorn

Romeo13 on April 7, 2008 at 5:44 PM

“…Are you still harping on that one army unit that broke when it was only a month or so out of basic training… “…This was poor leadership on Maliki’s part so do not condemn the entire Iraqi army or police.”
KW64 on April 7, 2008 at 5:22 PM”

Yes I am! It damn sure was!

Thanks for five years of your blood, sweat and tears… KW!

You must recall Dear Sir; these fine folks you’re doin’ your darndest to arm and train don’t give a damn about you or me or the man behind the palm tree… Soldier!

They’ve been at each others throats in the most vicious and violent fashion for more than fifteen hundred years and I don’t think they’ll stop tomorrow, next week, next year or in “even in the next hundred years”!

But that’s just me and not you… Thank God!

J_Gocht on April 7, 2008 at 5:55 PM

They’ve been at each others throats in the most vicious and violent fashion for more than fifteen hundred years and I don’t think they’ll stop tomorrow, next week, next year or in “even in the next hundred years”!

But that’s just me and not you… Thank God!

J_Gocht on April 7, 2008 at 5:55 PM

Lets see… 100 years ago, 1908. Since that time European countries HATED each other, and killed each other in TWO World Wars, in huge groups. They’d been killing each other for thousands of years…

Now? the EU?

Romeo13 on April 7, 2008 at 6:01 PM

I think that he wants to disband his army to save face, because they are getting their butts kicked.

Johan Klaus on April 7, 2008 at 6:07 PM

Come on now Romeo…what are you doin’ here…? Going for the Senator McCain analogy?

There’s no comparison between Europe, Japan, even eastern Europe and the Serbs and Croats. How many RPGs, IEDs, rockets, mortars and small arms ambushes have been perpetrated in the last five-ten years?

Do you believe al Qaeda is being trained in Teheran, too?

J_Gocht on April 7, 2008 at 6:12 PM

BTW: I stated they’ed been at it for 1500 years and would not “cease and desist” in the next 100, even…!

J_Gocht on April 7, 2008 at 6:15 PM

“I think that he wants to disband his army to save face, because they are getting their butts kicked.

Johan Klaus on April 7, 2008 at 6:07 PM”

They fade into the night, they go behind their closed doors and they bury their arms for the next battle…!

J_Gocht on April 7, 2008 at 6:18 PM

Do you believe al Qaeda is being trained in Teheran, too?

J_Gocht on April 7, 2008 at 6:12 PM

No, but funds, weapons, and training cadre are all coming FROM Iran, going to both Iraq and Afganistan.

Some of you want to just try to fight ONE little piece of the whole problem… its the Hillary Obama meme… that we should only be fighting Al Q!

Problem is that the Jihadist/Caliphate network is much larger than that, and they ALL want to destroy our way of life in the West.

Romeo13 on April 7, 2008 at 6:20 PM

DEBKAfile: ….
J_Gocht

Seriously? Debkafile is where you are getting information? It’s like getting accurate information from reading tea leaves. It’s right on a very rare occasion, but it’s usually so completely and utterly wrong, the National Enquirer seems like the most accurate newspaper EVER.

mjk on April 7, 2008 at 6:24 PM

They fade into the night, they go behind their closed doors and they bury their arms for the next battle…!

J_Gocht on April 7, 2008 at 6:18 PM

Know anything about how to stage a military Op?

It really does not matter if they keep their small arms. Large weps will be found and confiscated if Maliki keeps boots on the groud…

Its what we used to call Whack a mole, the gather, stick up their heads, and get whacked… its easy to see anything above about 50 armed men gather, and you need much larger units in order to TAKE and hold ground if your opposed.

Its much easier for a militia to HOLD ground, than to TAKE ground. Especialy in the face of modern Artillery and other large weapons.

Add in the fact that in any militia, only about 5-10% are effective fighters… and your 50,000 men suddenly is a VERY fragile force if it has to attack.

They can spread Terror, but in the larger military picture, they would become ineffective as a fighting force once dispersed.

Romeo13 on April 7, 2008 at 6:33 PM

No, but funds, weapons, and training cadre are all coming FROM Iran, going to both Iraq and Afganistan.

Absolutely! To the Shiites, not Sunnis or AQ.

“Some of you want to just try to fight ONE little piece of the whole problem…”

Not me; soldier. I was just reporting on Senator McCain’s concept of the external battle support and training.

J_Gocht on April 7, 2008 at 6:34 PM

http://www.cfr.org/publication/14811/

Funding
Also unclear is how the U.S.-led crackdown has affected the group’s funding for arms and training. Experts say supporters in the region, including those based in Jordan, Syria, and Saudi Arabia, provided the bulk of past funding. AQI has also received financial support from Tehran (despite the fact that al-Qaeda is a Sunni organization), according to documents confiscated last December from Iranian Revolutionary Guards operatives in northern Iraq.

Hmmm… Really? Iran seems to think they are helping fund them…

Romeo13 on April 7, 2008 at 6:43 PM

Well let’s see now, my best info is there are about two million plus living in Sadr City?

You call it…

“whack a mole”…?

Isn’t that an interesting concept? Winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people one mole at a time!

You can mount maybe how many…who knows…?

Guess my point is… if al-Sadr mounts a million-man march next week on Wednesday, you folks will be doin’ a lot more “sittin’ and watchin’” than “WHACKING”?

You say!

J_Gocht on April 7, 2008 at 6:50 PM

Hmmm… Really? Iran seems to think they are helping fund them…

Interesting…sometimes my enemy is my friend… if, if we have a common enemy!

J_Gocht on April 7, 2008 at 6:53 PM

My mistake fell off the turnip wagon again!

Al-Sadr is mounting his “million man march” this Wednesday just after General Petraeus [blows smoke up congress’s arse] testifies.

J_Gocht on April 7, 2008 at 7:00 PM

Interesting…sometimes my enemy is my friend… if, if we have a common enemy!

J_Gocht on April 7, 2008 at 6:53 PM

So, this is the PUBLISHED docs… McCain gets better breifings than we get… did he mispeak then, as you said? or is there unpublished info, that he is NOT supposed to talk about that Al Q in Iraq is not just getting funds and weps from Iran, but training as well?

YOU said that Olberman seems to know more than McCain…

Seems you were wrong.

Romeo13 on April 7, 2008 at 7:00 PM

If Saint Mc is divulging classified information; I’m certain nothing will be done about his treason.

Nothing happened to “Turd Blossom” when he outed the former CIA NOC Valarie Plame!

President Bush tends to sticks with his “turds”!

J_Gocht on April 7, 2008 at 7:14 PM

On second thought… since President Bush’s, Justice Department won’t prosecute…?

Perhaps the Democrat controlled Senate could censure his wrinkled, sagging buttocks…?

J_Gocht on April 7, 2008 at 7:20 PM

If Saint Mc is divulging classified information; I’m certain nothing will be done about his treason.

Nothing happened to “Turd Blossom” when he outed the former CIA NOC Valarie Plame!

President Bush tends to sticks with his “turds”!

J_Gocht on April 7, 2008 at 7:14 PM

Sigh… sorry folks, I thought this was a serious person here… I will no longer bother feeding the trolls.

Romeo13 on April 7, 2008 at 7:24 PM

So, this is the PUBLISHED docs… McCain gets better breifings than we get… did he mispeak then, as you said? or is there unpublished info, that he is NOT supposed to talk about that Al Q in Iraq is not just getting funds and weps from Iran, but training as well?

Romeo13, Sir…you brought up the subject.

My response was honest and thoughtful.

J_Gocht on April 7, 2008 at 7:35 PM

“So, this is the PUBLISHED docs… McCain gets better briefings than we get… did he misspeak then, as you said? or is there unpublished info, that he is NOT supposed to talk about that Al Q in Iraq is not just getting funds and weps from Iran, but training as well?”

Actually Romeo your post may have brought an exceedingly important issue to light with respect to Senator McCain’s mental acuity and ability at age 73?

Ferinstance…Does he [Senator McCain] accurately recall when the briefings he’s been given is classified specifically or just for background?

Dose Senator McCain confuse the difference between the classified and the backgrounder, does he mix them up?

Does Tuesday afternoon’s brief become Wednesday morning’s brief?

Hell I’m only seventy; he’s seventy-three… I sometimes forget if I’ve emailed my spreadsheet or Word doc.
Why couldn’t he forget a classified briefing?

NOT!

J_Gocht on April 7, 2008 at 8:02 PM

Nothing happened to “Turd Blossom

wrinkled, sagging buttocks…?

Romeo13, Sir…you brought up the subject.

My response was honest and thoughtful.

J_Gocht on April 7, 2008 at 7:35 PM

Really? Buh bye!

Romeo13 on April 7, 2008 at 8:13 PM

Hey Romeo13…Turd Blossom is President Bush’s nickname for Karl Rove…really!

Turd Blossom, according to partisans of Karl Rove and George W. Bush, is a Texan term for a flower which grows from a pile of cow dung.[1] The term has gained notoriety in the United States, as reportedly this is one of President George W. Bush’s terms of endearment for his former chief political advisor, Karl Rove.[2] Bush is also reported to call Rove by the nickname “Boy Genius.”[3]
In July 2005, several newspapers declined to run two Doonesbury strips portraying Bush addressing Rove by this nickname. [4]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turd_Blossom

Sense and sensibility olde boy!

J_Gocht on April 7, 2008 at 8:30 PM

“…wrinkled, sagging buttocks…?

Hey man, soldiers’ buttocks sag when they can’t hump a rucksack over a hill!

If you were from the mountians of China you could probably put this condition off until you were just shy of ninety!
Olde soldier sends…!

J_Gocht on April 7, 2008 at 8:37 PM

The question is simply what’s the fastest way to the top (to Heaven, where the virgins await him) at this point, religious legitimacy or brute military strength?

I’d say “brute military strength” can take care of his “fastest” journey.

Entelechy on April 7, 2008 at 10:04 PM

Actually Romeo your post may have brought an exceedingly important issue to light with respect to Senator McCain’s mental acuity and ability at age 73?

J_Gocht on April 7, 2008 at 8:02 PM

isn’t he 71?

homesickamerican on April 8, 2008 at 12:44 AM