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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another

4/08/2004

Iraq Analysis

Dan Darling has a first rate and very detailed piece of analysis up at Winds of Change. I commented,


Whether or not al-Sadr is directly or indirectly run from Iran is interesting in the larger picture; but for the moment his own actions are, I think, more interesting.

Why now?

Why not wait for June 30th and confront the provisional government with the same uprising better organized?

One answer may be the fact Al-Sadr came up on CERTCOM's to do list and his people were being picked up. In which case this is a purely reactive tactical matter and one which will be dealt with on the ground.

I think, however, there was a strategic issue confronting Al-Sadr: progress towards a multi-ethnic, secular, provisional government. If such a government were allowed to come into place on the 30th of June, where would that leave Al-Sadr? (Or Iran for that matter.)

The best Al-Sadr could hope for in a state moving towards democracy would be a fair trial. However, the imposition of a theocratic government on Iranian lines would be a forelorn hope if the putative provisional government was able to gain the legitimacy that even six months in office would confer.

I suspect the Baathist/el Qaeda thinking runs on much the same line.

In essence, for groups (and nations) hoping to see a radical, anti-Western, Iraq, April is the make or break month. Either they can deliver a political knockout blow the the United States - and here I am thinking of the Marine barracks in Lebannon - or they can fold their tents.

What has changed radically since Lebannon is that Americans, and many other people in the West, realize that beating terrorism in all its guises is the work of the 21st century.