Friday, May 06, 2016

Iraq, Moqtada and speculation

This morning, CBS NEWS reports:

Iraqi security forces were enforcing a major security clampdown Friday, bracing for a possible new round of anti-government protests.
Last week, Iraqis angry over corruption and a government they feel fails to protect or represent them stormed the capital's heavily guarded "Green Zone," which houses both Iraq's national government and the U.S. Embassy.
CBS News correspondent Charlie D'Agata reports that security forces worked overnight to erect blast walls across all the lanes of one of the main bridges leading into the Green Zone, and Iraqi soldiers and police were deployed in the streets, sealing off the sensitive area.

For those who missed it, last Saturday saw not just Moqtada al-Sadr's followers storming the Green Zone but, once inside, Parliament as well.

Moqtada al-Sadr is a Shi'ite cleric and movement leader.

And the father of cannon fodder.

Or that's a take increasingly common on Arabic social media where it's debated whether or not the point of Moqtada ordering his followers to storm last Saturday was to get a few killed and possess the power of being a martyr?

A death or two, it is argued, would have allowed Moqtada to respond with righteous indignation as he positioned himself as the voice of the Iraqi civilians.

That's not the only speculation going around, Dr. Majid Rafizadeh (AL ARABIYA) notes:

 In addition, these protests highlight several messages that Iran is attempting to send. After Iran’s preferred candidate for Prime Minister, Nuri al-Maliki, was replaced by Haidar al-Abadi, Tehran managed to increase and retain its influence in Iraq through Shiite militias, through the Iraqi government, and other means.
Nevertheless, Iran’s concerns have been raised recently as a result of the United States’ increasing role in Iraq and its improving ties with the al-Abadi government. It is less likely that Sadr has invoked such a demonstrations without enjoying the blessing of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamanei, and Qasem Soleimani, commander of Quds Force.

Through its leverage, Tehran could easily use its militia proxies to send a strong message to the Iraqi government that Tehran is not happy with the government’s relationship with the US. In addition, through these protests, Tehran can project the significant influence that it wields in Iraq, to the US and other governments in the region.

Some beliefs are presented as fact -- even when they're flat out wrong.  Ahmed Maher (BBC NEWS) insists of Moqtada:

He ordered the protesters into the parliament building, and also told them to leave on Sunday. Strikingly, they heeded his calls immediately.
"If he tells me to kill myself, I would do it for him," one protester told me. "To us, he is a father, a spiritual leader, a unifying figure of both Shia and Sunnis."
Moqtada Sadr is popular among Iraqis, irrespective of their sect.
His popularity is largely based on the legacy of his family. He is the youngest son of the revered Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Sadiq Sadr, who was assassinated in 1999.

Outside of his herd of zombies -- chiefly located in the Sadr slum of Baghdad and in Basra with a smaller number in Najaf -- Moqtada does not have any significant popularity.

This is evidenced by the small number of MPs his bloc has in Parliament.

Ibrahim al-Jafaari and Ammar al-Hakim -- to name only two -- are Shi'ite leaders who are far more powerful and popular than Moqtada.

Shi'ite, Sunni or Kurd (or some smaller grouping), if you fear Iran, you don't rally behind Moqtada and, yes, a number of Iraqis do fear Iran.

And that fear bubbles over into anger whenever Iran tries to redraw borders with Iraq.

In addition, Moqtada's militia took part in the ethnic cleansing of 2007 and that's not forgotten by most Sunnis.

Ahmed Maher starts with a wish or desire and then 'reports' from there.

He's far from alone.

KNIGHT RIDDER offered brave Iraq reporting.

MCCLATCHY bought them and had not offered brave reporting prior and did not offer it after.

As is known now, MCCLATCHY journalists were on orders to 'dress' Barack up -- at the expense of truth and reality.

It's why MCCLATCHY lost so many real reporters.

Hannah Allem isn't going anywhere and this piece of garbage goes a long, long way towards explaining why.

It not only attempts to minimize and excuse away Barack's failures in Iraq, it also promotes Shi'ite thug Abbas Kadhim as a "technocrat."

He's a thug who is hostile to the press, hostile to a free press and who flat out lied -- and HUFFINGTON POST let him -- about Ned Parker and the threats against Parker in Iraq for telling the truth in his reporting.

Hannah Allem is a special kind of prig, you may remember.

She has a Twitter feed and a voice at MCCLCATCHY but while grandstanding at events for Iraqi refugees, she never utilized either resource to cover the plight of these refugees.

Hannah's a special kind of joke -- and she's one that will go down with the ship (sorry, Hannah, I hear MCCLATCHY's a lot more financially shaky than anyone's let on).

We'll note this Tweet:

Aamaq reporting an |i army helicopter downed by defenses yesterday west of Fallujah..

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