Wednesday, March 26, 2008

What's going on in Basra?

What's happening in Basra?
Something big is happening, right now, in Iraq. More specifically, in Basra, Iraq's third largest city. Basra is the country's vital port of some 2.6 million souls, sitting beside the Shatt al-Arab waterway (the conflux of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers) and less than 30 miles from the border with Iran. The city is largely populated by Shiite Muslims and is a strongpoint for Shiite militias that are more-or-less aligned with outspoken and anti-American cleric Moktada al-Sadr.

Approximately two days ago, al-Sadr allegedly called for civil disobedience as a response to some kind of crackdown imposed on Shiite militias by the (Bush-installed) al-Maliki government. There has been fighting, not only in Basra, but in Baghdad, as well. Even Bush's private enterprise paradise, the Green Zone, has come under attack.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has issued very stern ("menacing" might be a better word) warnings to the Shiite militias and, ominously, has gone so far as to travel to Basra to direct the fighting himself!

What appeared to be American or British jets also soared through the skies, witnesses said, providing air support. The operation, which senior Iraqi officials had been signaling for weeks, is considered so important by the Iraqi government that Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, who went to Basra on Monday, intended to personally direct the fighting, several Iraqi officials said...--New York Times
This is an alarming development. To me, it suggests that al-Maliki wants to be on the scene to better control the information that leaks out about what is really happening.

US military authorities are apparently playing down the role of coalition forces in the fighting. This is another indication that something particularly horrible is in the offing and the Coalition forces are preemptively trying to disassociate from it.

God help the people in Basra that get in the way of whatever is happening down there! It's ugly and going to get uglier.

Is this Junior's bid to rid himself of Moktada al-Sadr? Given what I believe about Junior, he must truly be offended by a man like al-Sadr. The Shiite cleric is an upstart, from Junior's perspective; a rabble-rouser and a loud-mouth, and his support may be genuine, not manufactured, like Junior's. When al-Sadr came on the scene, after Saddam Hussein crashed and burned, al-Sadr stood dead-center in the way of Junior's Iraq plan.

The ramifications for American domestic politics are huge. Although it hasn't been reported much in the US media, al-Sadr's cease-fire, declared last summer, was vitally important to the perception of success that is attributed to Junior's "surge." If the violence heats up, especially now, on the eve of a report to be delivered by General Petraeus and US Ambassador Crocker, and with the American public pining for a troop draw-down, opposition to the war, while already widespread, could become vehement and non-negotiable. If that happens, hapless John McCain will be left raging to himself in the political desolation created for him by the same man that slurred his wife and child, Junior Bush.

Keep your eyes on this, folks. And be prepared to see some things that will mar your perception of the world, of humanity. Undoubtedly, whatever trickles through the corporate-owned media will be filtered and scrubbed and watered-down. But they won't be able to hide the truth, in the end.

When Junior started this cursed war, he caused this reality to come into being. He may not have intended it to unfold like this, but he was too much of an ignorant pig to care much either way. The roller coaster is blazing down the track, y'all. Hang on! Hang on! Hang on!

1 comment:

Dan Binmore said...

What is going on is a hint into what is the result after foreign troops leave and the iraqi forces take over EVEN IF THE VIOLENCE HAS STOPPED! Basra has been the most peaceful city in Iraq and has been transitioned from british to iraqi security forces as the british try to sneak out of Iraq by the back door. Until this point I was considering whether since it's a fact we are in Iraq maybe we should stick around and try to rebuild it. Since it appears that there will be violence and chaos no matter wha we should get out as soon as possible.