The Iraqi blogger “River” has been strongly critical of the war and of the occupation, so take what she says with the appropriate quantity of NaCl. But her work is full of sharp observation. The latest is well worth reading in its entirety. Here’s the sentence that sent chills up my spine:
Zeyad of Healing Iraq is equally discouraging.
So is Raed (friend of “Salam Pax” and namesake of the blog). Friday is the anniversary of the fall of Baghdad. (How time flies when you’re having fun!) Raed reports more cases of Iraqi security forces crossing over. He also claims that some members of the Interim Governing Council have resigned. (I haven’t seen that confirmed; Islam Online reports only one threatened resignation.)
Another Iraqi blogger repeats what he says is a joke making the rounds in Baghdad: The Americans won’t hand over control on June 30, because by then they won’t have any control left to hand over.
Salam Pax reported two days ago that ordinary Iraqis, including members of the security forces, were too afraid of the Sadrists to stand up to them:
You have to be careful about what you say about al-Sadir. Their hands reach every where and you don’t want to be on their sh*t list. Every body, even the GC is very careful how they formulate their sentences and how they describe Sadir’s Militias.
Salam Pax has been accused of Ba’athist sympathies, but he certainly doesn’t sound at all happy about the Sadrist upsurge:
They are thugs, thugs thugs. There you have it.
Omar of Iraq the Model, who seems solidly on our side — two days ago welcomed the arrest warrent for Moqtada al-Sadr — reports that a general strike has been called in Baghdad on Saturday, with threats against those who do not comply.
Ays of Iraq at a Glance, has some choice words not just about Sadr himself but about Sadr city. He reports that 75% of the residents there are “thieves and murderers, and adds that they breed “just like the rabbits.”
Ays, though a strong supporter of the occupation, seems nostalgic for the good old days:
Nearly a similar situation happened in 1999 in ‘Al-Sadr city’ when Saddam killed Muqtada’s father.. the angry people in that disgusting neighborhood made a simple chaos in the beginning , do you know what happened ? do you know how Saddam dealt with them?… a few cars went there immediately and a few men got out of the cars carrying different types of guns and rifles and started to fire continuously at them until all those people entered their houses and many of them were killed and left on the streets… then Saddam’s men completed their mission and went back..
I don’t want to say that the same thing should be done.. but I just want to say that the GC and CPA must control this freedom because it’s used improperly..
Having made all this Spiro-Agnew-sounding noise (do I detect the voice of a Sunni talking about the Shi’a?), Ays does report what seems to be good news: in Basra, where he lives, the tribal chieftains have laid down the law:
And some districts here in Basra came to a great idea, the Sheiks of many tribes held a meeting and decided to sign on papers promising that any person dares to breach the peace in their areas will be arrested or killed immediately and no one will protect him even if he was one of their tribes.. this meeting relieved the people so much… (Ellipses in source)
If any reader is aware of additional blogging from Iraq that carries anything resmbling good news, please let me know and I will link. Similarly, if anyone can confirm or disconfirm the claim by “River” that jihad was being preached in all the mosques, I’d like to hear of it.
I find it a little bit scary that the “real” press is so much less informative than the Iraqi bloggers.
Update Stratfor.com says that a real catastrophe is possible, but not likely: their best guess is that Sadr is acting on Sistani’s behalf, reminding us that we’re in Iraq on his sufferance. That’s somewhat reassuring. But that suggests that our long-term position in Iraq may be a source of weakness rather than strength, especially vis-a-vis the Iranian mullahs.
Note that the recent behavior of OPEC contradicts the view that invading Iraq would make neighboring countries more pliable.
Whether the invasion was a good gamble or not in prospect is no longer the most important question, but I’d have to say right now that having backed it, as I did, isn’t looking like a very good move.
Of course, the alternative might well have been even worse.