Wednesday, December 26, 2007

More Mookie

By Cernig

I'm not the only one who thinks Muqtada al-Sadr's star isn't dead yet - and indeed is positioning himself for a long-term project of invoking his martyred father in service of consolidating both Iraqi nationalist political and Shiite religious power under the Sadrist banner.

Mohamad Bazzi, who was Newsday's Middle East bureau chief for four years, is currently the Edward R. Murrow Press Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, thinks so too. Bazzi points to the prize Sadr has his eyes on:
Sadr is positioning himself for a new battle with his main rival for dominance of the Shiite heartland: the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, led by a US and Iranian-backed cleric, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim. On December 16 British forces handed control of Basra Province--home to the vast majority of Iraq's oilfields and the country's only port--to the Iraqi government. In reality, that means Iraqi police and security forces loyal to Sadr, Hakim or the smaller Fadhila Party. Whatever Shiite faction ultimately rules Basra will be in a position to dominate the rest of southern Iraq. And in a few years, the master of Basra (undoubtedly, he will be a cleric) will control much of the oil and the means of shipping it. He will become the most powerful man in Iraq, regardless of who is prime minister in Baghdad.
The whole piece is worth a read.

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