Apr 25 2008
Welcome Real Clear Politics Readers!
When the Sadr-Maliki story first broke during the initial push into Basra I noted something was distinctly missing from the news about Maliki’s failed efforts and Sadr’s grand victory – there was no dancing in the streets in response to the news stories? There were no cheers for Sadr, no celebrations by the Iraqi people. If this was the Muslim Street rising up to throw off the occupiers from the West – where were the throngs of people taking to the streets?
It struck me as very odd that the only spontaneous cheer to rise up from the initial operations in Basra was from the newsrooms of the SurrenderMedia! Not even the Surrendercrats in Congress preparing the testimonies of Ambassador Crocker and General Petraeus showed much interest in the so-called â€˜failureâ€™ in Basra. That is probably because they knew what was happening from their briefings on military actions from the Pentagon that they get regularly, and they knew better than to get too excited – this was possibly not the second coming of Vietnam the far left has been praying would arrive since the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Whatever the case for their reserved positions, the fact is today we do finally see a spontaneous and celebratory response in the Muslim street – and it is not because Mookie Sadr is taking on the occupiers from the West. It is because the Iraqis have liberated Basra and the people are free to express themselves. And what they are expressing is a lot of defiance to Sadr and his Madi Militia of Islamo Fascist thugs:
Young women are daring to wear jeans, soldiers listen to pop music on their mobile phones and bands are performing at wedding parties again.
All across Iraqâ€™s second city life is improving, a month after Iraqi troops began a surprise crackdown on the black-clad gangs who were allowed to flourish under the British military. The gunmenâ€™s reign had enforced a strict set of religious codes.
Yet after three years of being terrified of kidnap, rape and murder â€“ a fate that befell scores of other women â€“ Nadyia Ahmed, 22, is among those enjoying a sense of normality, happy for the first time to attend her science course at Basra University. â€œI now have the university life that I heard of at high school before the war and always dreamt about,â€ she told The Times. â€œIt was a nightmare because of these militiamen. I only attended class three days a week but now I look forward to going every day.â€
â€œAll these men in black [who imposed the laws] just vanished from the university after this operation,â€ said Ms Ahmed. â€œThings have completely changed over the past week.â€
In a sign of the good mood, celebratory gunfire erupted around Basra two nights ago and text messages were pinged from one mobile phone to another after an alleged senior militia leader was arrested.
There are smiles and celebrations all around Basra now. The news media can try and manufacture false impressions, but the people reflect the real deal and they are happy to be rid of the extremists. This is not surprising since there have been other signs Sadr does not have the following too many thought he had. Recently he was not even able to pull off a large protest as a show of strength against Maliki’s actions for the news media – it had to be cancelled before it exposed his weak following.
The news media’s spontaneous cheering from the first false impressions at Basra are also quite telling. It seems they have wanted something to go seriously badly for so long in Iraq that they have allowed themselves to treat an unstable and waffling young radical cleric with a lot more seriousness than he ever deserved. Just yesterday the SurrenderMedia trumpeted the news Sadr was about to throw his pursuit of political power to the wind and lead a Shiite uprising that would carve off the southern half of Iraq as the new part of Iran. It was like a liberal dream come true!
But it was just a dream, probably spun from Sadr or some liberal ‘sources’ in western governments. Today we wake up to the news Sadr has wilted again and decided that the current ‘cease fire’ still stands:
Iraqi Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr pulled back from confrontation with the government on Friday, asking his followers to continue to observe a shaky ceasefire and not to do battle with government troops.
“You are the best who committed and were patient with the decision to cease fire, and were the most obedient to your leader,” said a statement from Sadr, read out by a cleric during Friday prayers at a major mosque in Sadr’s eastern Baghdad stronghold, the Sadr City slum.
“I wish you would continue your patience and your belief.”
I can’t believe the SurrenderMedia can report this propaganda with a straight face and zero context. There have been over 700 rockets fired at the government in the past two months – there is no ceasefire. And in fact if you look at the fighting it is clear the Mahdi are getting their clocks cleaned.
My opinion is Sadr called of the war because he is giving the best he has got now, and to ‘escalate’ requires be able to rally forces and produce a big punch against America for the media to broadcast as more failure. But he doesn’t have one to give. His forces are fighting for their lives all over Iraq. The people of Iraq clearly are not behind him since their celebrations erupt only once his goons have been pushed out of the way.
Sadr is finished and the Muslim Street in the South of Iraq is cheering the demise of his forces. As with al-Qaeda’s downfall in the Sunni areas the people of Iraq are done with oppressive little tin-dictators. They want a life of freedom and peace. They are not looking for the next Saddam Hussein to take over their lives.
Iraq is becoming the shining example of new possibilities in the heart of Islam. And the Muslims are making those choices themselves once they taste the darkness of Islamo Fascism up close and personal.
Update: Ed Morrissey has some good thoughts on this news as well – check him out.