Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Power politics continue in Iraq

What are Prime Minister Maliki's actual motivations in the coming months? I do not think anyone but he can say with certainty. Maliki vows to crackdown on militias but continues to exclude Sadr's group (WHDH). Maliki appointed Abud Qanbar (LA Times) (or Abboud Gambar) as his commanding general in Baghdad. The first pick, according to the WHDH link, was rejected by the Americans. That WHDH link states that Qanbar/Gambar fought against Iran in the 1980s and the United States in Gulf War I. He remained in Saddam's army until after the invasion. He is Shiite and from southern Iraq.

The WHDH link also states that Kurdish fighters are preparing to confront followers of Sadr. However, Azzaman reports that Sadr has asked his loyalists to cooperate until American forces withdraw. Sadr, according to these reports, expects this to happen at the end of 2007. This date is worth noting, because Mowaffak al-Rubaie, Iraq's (Shiite) national security adviser, wrote over the summer in the Washington Post that Americans would be gone by 2007. Rubaie was replaced by Ayad Allawi in 2004 because Rubaie argued for a compromise with Sadr while Allawi wanted a more iron fist approach, the New York Times.

This certainly makes one think. But, lest we see Sadr as too in control, we should review the Jamestown Foundation's arguments for his weakening grip on his militia. Bombings in Baghdad today targeted Sadrist enclaves, CNN. Sadr's followers also tend to come from the lower classes, so this San Francisco Chronicle report that states that 40 percent of the middle class has fled can be evidence that Sadr's demographic is more prevalent than before.

US officials, in the Los Angeles Times, call the new Baghdad plan "workable", but this is based on their assumption that the Iraqi government will improve.

Pay attention to the economic links behind the latest spat among the Iraqis, the Iranians and the Americans, the Los Angeles Times (my emphasis):
The U.S. raid on the Iranian office, which handled visas and other paperwork for Iraqis traveling to Iran, struck at the heart of Kurdistan's economy, which depends on commercial ties with Iran facilitated through that office.

Doing business with Iran also means doing business with the Revolutionary Guard, an institution that controls Iran's borders. Hassan Kazemi-Qomi, Iran's ambassador to Iraq, is a former member of the guard. Any neighboring country that wants to do business with Iran has to deal with members of the force, which was created by Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to aid the Islamic revolution.

Iraq's Kurds share a storied history with the Revolutionary Guard, fighting side by side against former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, once told The Times that he planned military operations against Hussein with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's controversial president.
Borzou Daragahi, and this time Louise Roug as well, gets some interesting material, no?

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi CE,

I’ve read your latest posts cum readers’ comments with a time-lag- kind of like Offenbach’s proverbial carabinieri

The IT2M blogger wrote “My opinion? This blog is boring. He could have read the entire year and a half and still would have been bored. There is nothing original in copy/paste content. There are plenty of good political blogs out there and they are the ones who input their own opinions rather than copy/pasting a bunch of crap from one news site to a blogspot. If you're going to copy/paste you could at least make sure your links actually work.”

I mean who’s that slut anyway?

Chuck is right: she’s subzero IQ-wise and her fellow bloggers are no better.

Re: Iraq’s Kurds age-old alliance with Iran, well that’s kind of old news:
1) They’re part of the same ethnic group: Persians- even though the Kurds are mostly Sunnis of the Hanafi school
2) They had/have a common enemy: Saddam/the Sunni Arab world

Likewise, Saddam (and Pakistan and the CIA throughout the 1980s, and the KGB in the 1950s/60s, and England before them) backed Iran’s own restive minorities: Ahwaz’s Sunni Arabistani tribes, the Azeri/Turkic minorities in the North West, the Balouch Sunni tribes on the border with Afghanistan and Pakistan…

It’s the divide and conquer thing.

As old as “realism” and power politics.

10:10 AM  
Blogger copy editor said...

Thanks.

My comment on the economic links is that those types of links tend to lead to cooperation in politics.

10:21 AM  
Blogger Praguetwin said...

Economics are always key in understanding politics. These old miliary historians can get quite tiresome when they choose to ignore the economic backdrop.

But back to the topic... I had never really put two and two together that the Kurds would likely be naturally closer to Iran that to the states. I guess I was blinded by their almost fanatical support of the U.S. invation.

I always expected the Shia in the south of the country to have a closer connection to Iran, but the Kurd connection slipped by me.

Thanks for the disillusionment.

6:58 AM  

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