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July 22, 2008

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Ha, I quoted Derb before you did.

Different quote, though.

;-)

And that you did...which will actually tie in to the next post!

The irony is that the group which has the least ties to Iran, the Sadrists, is the exact group that we have been targeting since we first went into Iraq.

McCain and Bush both talk about the importance of having a stable, democratic and pro-American government in an Arab nation. The first two are and always were going to be hard enough, the latter has and probably always will be impossible.

It might actually have been different if we had hooked up with Sadr in the beginning, giving him assistance in trying to set up services, etc, instead of focusing on giving Halliburton et al a ton of money.

The irony is that the group which has the least ties to Iran, the Sadrists, is the exact group that we have been targeting since we first went into Iraq.

At some point the Administration seems to have calculated that they would have a better chance negotiating with the Iranian-backed elites (SCIRI/Dawa), than with the Populist Rabble-rouser (Sadr). Maybe the Administration guessed that the Rabble-rouser didn't need the US to defend his legitimacy (Iraq's teeming slums do that for him) but the SCIRI elites would. Maybe that need was real. Maybe it's not anymore.

This discussion is focused on what the Shia are doing. The Sunni have a part to play in this, too, but they're offstage at the moment. Will they remain there?

I think that's right Model 62. That, and ISCI and Dawa (especially ISCI) made a deliberate effort to work with the Bush team from the get go. They wanted to ensure that they got the support of the US. Useful thing to have when making power plays and the like.

On the other hand, Sadr was very up front about rejecting us and wanting us out from the beginning. When presented with that contrast, the Bush team pushed all in with ISCI/Dawa and have been trying to spin that like a good decision ever since.

Problem is, as usual, they believe their own propaganda.

I like the title!

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost

At some point the Administration seems to have calculated that they would have a better chance negotiating with the Iranian-backed elites (SCIRI/Dawa), than with the Populist Rabble-rouser (Sadr). Maybe the Administration guessed that the Rabble-rouser didn't need the US to defend his legitimacy (Iraq's teeming slums do that for him) but the SCIRI elites would.

My professor back in college called that the Groucho Marx syndrome. The faction seeking alliance with a foreign power will always be the weaker one, with less popular support. After all, a strong, popular faction has no need for foreign allies. The more tightly any faction clings to a foreign sponsor, the less support it has at home.

In this case, the Dawa and SCIRI/ISCI have two foreign sponsors, us and Iran, that they play off against each other in an attempt to achieve some sort of independence.

In this case, the Dawa and SCIRI/ISCI have two foreign sponsors, us and Iran, that they play off against each other in an attempt to achieve some sort of independence.

Very, very true. As I said way back when:

Dawa/ISCI have the "institutional" support of Iran, as well as the Bush administration, ironically enough. Dawa/ISCI have been able to pull off this patronage two-step with a Yojimbo-like dexterity - with the caveat being that, unlike the narrative in Yojimbo (and A Fistfull of Dollars for Sergio Leone fans), Dawa/ISCI actually have a preference for one of their benefactors [hint: it ain't us].

That was from a post assigned by publius last August.

http://americanfootprints.com/drupal/node/3615

"unlike the narrative in Yojimbo (and A Fistfull of Dollars for Sergio Leone fans)"

And Last Man Standing for Bruce Willis fans, and arguably Miller's Crossing for Coen Brothers fans, and doubtless a bunch more versions.

As with so many other aspects of this wrong, illegal war of choice, all the options were bad. The idea of the U.S. teaming up with Sadr is not only the least likely of the fantasy counterfactuals, but also pretty repellent given the actual behavior of the Sadrists.

The gruesome and very public murder of al-Khoei just as the invasion turned to occupation was a fairly loud bit of message-sending.

Gary: I deliberately left out Last Man Standing because the other two examples shined so much brighter.

But I'll accept Miller's Crossing - which is one of my favorite Coen Bros. films.

I've actually turned to it several times for post titles.

doubtless a bunch more versions.

And Dashiell Hammett's Red Harvest, which may be the ur-version. (Miller's Crossing is more a Glass Key knockoff.)

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