A BRIEF COMMENT ON AL SADR AND NAJAF - THE PIPES PLAN?
have weighed in on the fighting against the Sadr militia in Najaf.
My comments are as follows:
First al-Sadr should have been neutralized, politically, legally or otherwise in the aftermath of the fall of Saddam. Not having done that was stupid. The previous campaign to suppress the Sadrists, poorly-timed with the Fallujah debacle, resulted in the U.S. looking brutal yet ineffective. I'll shed no tears when al-Sadr is gone but *how* we went about doing this was less than smooth, to say the least, and once started we cannot afford another stop order that makes the U.S. look bewildered and uncertain.
My impression about the current fight is that the United States government is now following the advice of Daniel Pipes
( see here
) and is trying to create a " democratically-minded strongman " in Prime Minister Allawi. In crushing the Sadrists militarily, a strategy is being followed that is eerily similar to that of Ngo Dinh Diem who consolidated his rule over South Vietnam by destroying the Binh Xuyen, Hoa-Hao and Cao-Dai private armies. The difference is, that Diem had the strength on his own to destroy his non-communist rivals, Allawi is having the U.S. military do it for him which sort of negates the strongman image.
The fact is the most powerful military forces in Iraq today are the U.S. military followed by the Kurdish Peshmerga, the Sunni insurgency, then the Sadrists and probably a few other militias. Allawi's Iraqi police and militia are not politically reliable or militarily effective at the present time.
For Allawi to stand strong, everyone else must be brought low.