but he's for it!... 1:19 A.M.
abiding paradox of contemporary Iraq that the Mahdi Army and the Sunni Arab guerrillas are slaughtering each other daily, but that young Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr (the leader of the Mahdi Army) has a better political relationship with Sunni Arab MPs and leaders than any other Shiite. [E.A.] **
Cole's post is concise--I won't try to condense it further here. It would seem to have some possible pessimistic implications (are we backing the wrong Shiite in trying to form a "moderate" coalition between Sadr's rival, al-Hakim of SCIRI, and Sunni MPs?) and some possible positive implications, the main one being this: If the Sadrist Shiites and the non-Sadaamist Sunnis can cut some sort of stable deal, then maybe we can withdraw from Iraq without triggering a Shiite vs. Sunni bloodbath. Cole addresses this possibility as well. ...
**P.S.--It's more paradoxical than even Cole points out, given that the Mahdi army seems to be behind the killing, not just of Sunni Arab guerillas, but of ordinary Sunni civilians in mixed Baghdad neighborhoods. ...12:16 A.M. link
Wednesday, January 3, 2007
It's going to be a long "100 Hours." 10:24 P.M.
A WSJ-Harris "interactive" poll purports to measure public support for various "issues that might be on the agenda of the new Congress." Here is how one of those "issues" is described:
Immigration reform to make it more difficult for immigrants to enter the U.S. and to stay in the U.S. for a prolonged length of time.
Huh? Which legislation, exactly, is this describing? (a) A proposal the Pelosi/Reid Democrats are actually planning to push? (Does it include legalization of many illegal immigrants already "in the U.S. for a prolonged length of time," thereby allowing them to stay a much longer time?) Or (b) the old enforcement-only Sensenbrenner bill? Sounds more like (b). ... The tough-sounding plan got 76% approval. ... 3:29 A.M.
Juan Cole relays non-critically an Iranian report that has the main parliamentary Shiite bloc on in the Iraqi parliament in negotiations with Muqtada al-Sadr