And No One to Thank For This

but us.

‘Shiite giant’ extends its reach
Sadr’s armed movement becomes pivotal force in fractured Iraq
…Millions of Sadr’s supporters turned out in December elections to give his movement the largest bloc in parliament, which in turn put him in control of four government ministries. Thousands of male followers abandoned their homes and jobs when a bomb destroyed a Shiite shrine in Samarra on Feb. 22, rallying at Sadr headquarters on a night and day of retaliatory bloodletting that plunged Iraq into sectarian war.
While opposition to the U.S. military presence in Iraq remains one of its core tenets, the Sadr movement’s militia, called the Mahdi Army, took heavy casualties in two military uprisings against better-armed, better-trained U.S. forces in 2004. Today, according to Sadr leaders and outside analysts, the movement is husbanding its strength and waiting for American troops to go.
Sadr “clearly is the most potent political figure, and the most popular one,” in Iraq, said Joost Hiltermann, Middle East project director for the Brussels-based International Crisis Group. “Unless directly provoked, Sadrists will lay low, because they know the Americans’ time in Iraq is coming to an end,” he said. “Why would they risk another major loss of fighters if it’s not necessary?…
Americans in their eyes are already defeated — they’re going to leave.

Yup, that would be us. We’ve had nothing but grief from these fat little clerics, thanks to our risk aversion induced indecision and the time honored Middle Eastern “cease-fires” we fall for that allow them to breathe and regroup. He and his army should have been dealt with mercilessly when the Sadr City insurgency first erupted. But we let him scuttle back to his lair (just as the Israelis are doing with Hezbollah’s robed and bearded Shelob) immunized from further prosecution military or otherwise. He gets to gloat that he played us like a rabab, (tangentially increasing his supporters fervor with his display of canniness against the great Satan) and we get to wring our hands in frustration when the fruits of our non-labor ripen, as they inevitably must.
They’ve learned that you can stab us in the eye and draw blood, but, as long as you drop the stick the second we act like we might mean business, you can snatch it back and slice at us over and over again, as long as your mouth is saying something entirely different from what your hand is doing. You keep carving away until we withdraw completely from the field of battle in quiet indignity.
It’s worked every time.

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