Iranian Influence on Cease Fire?


The tabloid newspaper McClatchy has a report out today that two lawmakers from the Iraqi government, one from Maliki’s party and another from the Badr party, went to Iran to negotiate a end to hostilities in Basra.

BAGHDAD — Iraqi lawmakers traveled to the Iranian holy city of Qom over the weekend to win the support of the commander of Iran’s Qods brigades in persuading Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr to order his followers to stop military operations, members of the Iraqi parliament said.

The backdrop to Sadr’s dramatic statement was a secret trip Friday by Iraqi lawmakers to Qom, Iran’s holy city and headquarters for the Iranian clergy who run the country.

There the Iraqi lawmakers held talks with Brig. Gen. Qassem Suleimani, commander of the Qods (Jerusalem) brigades of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and signed an agreement with Sadr, which formed the basis of his statement Sunday, members of parliament said.

Ali al Adeeb, a member of Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki’s Dawa party, and Hadi al Ameri, the head of the Badr Organization, the military wing of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, had two aims, lawmakers said: to ask Sadr to stand down his militia and to ask Iranian officials to stop supplying weapons to Shiite militants in Iraq.

Which, if true, is fascinating. On the one hand this means Iran can turn off the internal fighting when and where it wants to. So, as Jules Crittenden puts it, Iraq is Iran’s bitch in the absence of American forces. But the same article does say that some of Sadr’s thugs have said they have no intention of standing down. How much influence then does Iran really have? I’m guessing the coming days will tell us.

On the other hand can anyone still claim Iran is not the one stirring the pot in the first place AND not supplying those who attack our troops?

Either way, Sadr was getting his butt kicked by the Iraqi army and Jules takes on the NYT’s notion that Maliki agreed to a negotiated end to hostilities:

Interesting side note. This NYT article, which does not have any Qom-plea backstory, like other reporting on the Sadr stand-down declares al-Maliki the loser for agreeing to a negotiated end to hostilities. This is odd because he does not in fact appear to have agreed to end hostilities or to have surrendered his disarmament demand. But more so because the common anti-war media and political wisdom is that the United States wins by negotiating an end to hostilities, leaving adversaries in place, without achieving its goals militarily. Can we all get on the same peacenik playbook page, please?


0 0 votes
Article Rating
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

What it means is exactly what I’ve been saying:  That Iran is the biggest winner out of the US occupation of Iraq.  Neither the US, nor the Iraqi “government” can stop the civil war combatants, but the Iranian government can broker a peace deal.

Add to that the fact that Osama bin laden is safe and al Qaeda is easily recruiting around the Islamic world with pictures from Abu Graibe.Everything that Conservative keep telling me is “going to happen” if we get out of the Civil War is already happening.

(Of course the White House approved answer is:  But if anyone but a Republican is President it will be worse.  Unfortunately it appears that the results of occupation of Iraq will get worse, no matter what.So I’m in favor of the US stopping sacrifing $300 million a day and thousands of lives to pay for it happening.  I see no advantage to us in “Staying theCourse”.

Seems like all the newspapers are talking about the Iranian angle here:

Osama al-Nujaifi, a Sunni lawmaker who oversaw mediation in Baghdad, said representatives from al-Maliki’s Dawa Party and another Shiite party traveled to Iran to finalize talks with al-Sadr.

Iran has close ties with both al-Sadr’s movement and al-Maliki, who spent several years in exile there. Al-Nujaifi said the agreement was brokered by the commander of Iran’s al-Quds Brigade, which the United States considers a terrorist organization.

Haidar al-Abadi, a Dawa legislator who is close to al-Maliki, confirmed that Iranians played a role in the negotiations. Sadiq al-Rikabi, a senior adviser to al-Maliki, said he could not confirm or deny Iranian involvement in the deal.

Yes, Curt, it “is fascinating.” Amazing how much access Maliki’s associates have to the head of Iran’s Quds force, and how much influence and support Al-Nujaifi has hosting a deal like this.

Probably a nice couple. If I wanted to learn about elementary education and business administration, I would consider listening.

The “racially liberal” think-tank, the Heritage Foundation, has acknowledged that Maliki didn’t win in Basra:

Thirty-thousand Iraqi soldiers were sent into the city by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to retake control from the Mahdi Army led by Iranian-based firebrand cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, but they struggled to gain a foothold and defeat the heavily armed militias.

Al-Sadr has since declared a temporary cease-fire and has ordered his men off the streets, but there is no prospect that they will lay down their arms, and the militias remain in control of large swathes of Basra. There have been reports of some Iraqi forces either deserting or defecting to the Mahdi side. The fighting spread to other towns in the south, including Nasariyah and Hilla, as well as to Baghdad, with more than 250 people killed across Iraq and several hundred injured.

Their solution to aiding a strong ‘cease fire’? Maintain British deployment and surge with 2,000 more British troops. There is no mention of Maliki’s own Basra troop surge– Shame. Would have liked to hear their thoughts.

So, now everyone is concerned about Basra. But for well over a year the province has been in total disarray:

So why now all the ‘timely’ concern? Three words come to my mind: money, provincial elections.

If Maliki’s forces cannot retake Basra, his government will probably only have ‘conditional cash’ from the oil port city; of course, it’s ‘conditional’ because the oil infrastructure and its cash is now, and will be even further, prone to siege, terrorism, smuggling and lots of mob rule. So, now it’s timely to fight for the money.

Enter Sadr: if Maliki’s forces can’t retake Basra from Sadr’s non-state military force, Maliki stands to have this southern province wrenched from his ally and incumbent, Abdul Hakim in the Oct. provincial elections by Sadr. If Hakim loses in Oct., Maliki loses, too. If Sadr’s party wins, which is expected, he may, in time, rule Basra and its oil infrastructure and therefore keep Iraq’s purse. In ’05 the Sunni’s and Sadr’s party sat out the election’s. So, now it’s timely to fight for the elections.

Here’s what else could happen:

If Oct. goes against Maliki, a probable shift in the Iraqi political landscape could further deplete political power from Maliki and may, probably, even affect the Iraqi parliament, pushing it against the US occupation, and into a clear majority.

Consequently, this coming election, in part, pivots off Sadr’s party that’s opposed to the occupation and them gaining political access to the heart and lungs of Iraq via it’s pocket book.

–Just more reasons why a ‘cease fire’ in the long-term is will be very hard to achieve.

I guess it won’t be too long on who is right, Weigel…

In my own conversations with senior Vatican officials over the past 18 months, I have been struck by the fact that the debates of 2002-2003 are over. That there was serious disagreement between the U.S. government and the Holy See prior to the invasion of Iraq is, and was, obvious. Today, however, the page has been turned, and despite what Winters’s Vatican leakers may be telling him, the people who make the decisions tell me, as they have told the Bush administration, that a precipitous U.S. withdrawal from Iraq would be a disaster for both Iraq and the entire Middle East.

…or Winters:

But that harmony is long gone. During his U.S. visit next month, Pope Benedict XVI will show how much his worldview differs from President Bush’s when he denounces the continuing U.S. occupation of Iraq before the U.N. General Assembly — a denunciation that’s expected to be especially harsh after the recent martyrdom of a Chaldean Catholic archbishop killed by insurgents in Mosul.

I find Weigel’s perspective interesting with the Popes’ harsh remarks to Bush here

…and his comments on Iraq here:

Now with Mosul’s bishop murdered, the recent civilian Barsa deaths and the US military considering invading the city of Mosul, you have to wonder if the Pope might have something to say about the US occupation.

Re; “Today, however, the page has been turned, and despite what Winters’s Vatican leakers may be telling him, the people who make the decisions tell me, as they have told the Bush administration, that a precipitous U.S. withdrawal from Iraq would be a disaster for both Iraq and the entire Middle East.”

In other words, Bush Administration incompetence has made such a complete hash of the occupation ofIraq that America will have to continue the occupaiotn for another decade just to get back to a point wher they can form a stable government.

What a wonderful recommendation: George W. Bush has insured his policies will continue by being a coplete failure at implementing them.

And Conservatives love him for it!