Unconventional thinking about the Middle East.

Monday, April 07, 2008

What's That Sound? (Updated)

D’yall hear those distant thuds?

That’s the sound of an imploding narrative.

It is also my cue to begin the third cycle in the cognitive loop of ‘anger-ridicule-pity’ through which I’ve channeled my reaction to how the story in Iraq is being reported.

For how can one not pity those miserable journalists as they scramble to find new narratives to define the last 48 hours in Iraq?

Not only has Maliki not backed down, but newly emboldened with wide political backing he’s begun to smash through Sadr City itself and is threatening to banish the Sadrists to a political Siberia. Muqtada al-Sadr, the guy the media has us thinking had won, has prostrated himself at the feet of Grand Ayotallah Sistani, promising Maliki that he would indeed demobilize his militia if the wise old men of Shi’ism would have it so. Gone are the millenarian certainties of taking orders from the Mahdi, the messiah. Gone is all that bluster of al-Sadr’s virile, confident ‘Outspoken hawza’ contrasted with Sistani’s supposedly feeble and retro ‘Silent hawza’. And he sends out his plea for clemency from Iran. FROM IRAN?!! From a place of chosen exile with which he had often derided the Hakims for seeking sanctuary and shelter there after Saddam has nearly eradicated their lineage. The place too, towards which his father’s confidants still point their accusing fingers for the murder that had befallen the old man and that of Muqtada’s two older, more worthy brothers.

Sadr surrendering his fate to Sistani and submissively muttering, “Do as you please, Sir.” Who would have imagined?

It is almost as baffling as Maliki’s abrupt transformation from an incompetent administrator into a wartime commander-in-chief!

And yet, the Sadrists keep sending out confusing signals signifying the confusion within their ranks. It happens, when defeat devours one’s will. “We will not disarm”. “We need to calm things down”. “We will fight”. “We will flee”. “No fair!” “We will march!” “We will stay home.” “A Sadrist?! Who me?”

Ahhhhh, the validation of it all!

Yes, you miserable souls: keep writing in that passive tense, that “Fighting rages” dodge. Never mind that Maliki and the Iraqi Army are actively picking a fight with the outlaws, a fight that the government is winning, and that’s the reason why the bullets are whooshing by.

And tales get unspooled. And narratives implode.

UPDATE (April 8, 2008):

Well, it now seems that the rumor is official according to this press report (Arabic): Muqtada al-Sadr has cancelled his 'March of the Millions' anti-American demonstration set for tomorrow to coincide with the fifth anniversary of the liberation of Baghdad.

In retaliation for whimping out, Code Pink has formally revoked al-Sadr's membership and expelled him from its ranks. Furthermore, Barack Obama has withdrawn his offer of a cabinet post that he had offered to Muqtada. Going yet further, Nancy Pelosi has cast off her Mahdi Army bandanna. Dozens of western journalists were seen protesting the cancellation outside Sadr's HQ in Sadr City, angry over the time and effort they had lavished while pre-writing tomorrow's story and the waste of all those flashy headlines and headcounts that they won't get to use. Ha!


Blogger bg said...


good grief.. which way did he go Sadr?? gah!!

Iraqi Shia leader wants to disband Mahdi army


[However, Sadr also announced that ayatollahs in the
Iranian city of Qom would have a say on the future of
the Mahdi army.]

Religious leaders tell al-Sadr to keep militia intact

just so you know, i take the above
reports with a pound of salt..

TLWJ (4/07/08):

Iraqi government moves to sideline Sadrists, Mahdi Army


[Today, Maliki was explicit that the legislation was aimed at Muqtada al Sadr, his Sadrist movement, and the Mahdi Army. "Solving the problem comes in no other way than dissolving the Mahdi Army," Maliki told CNN. "They no longer have a right to participate in the political process or take part in the upcoming elections unless they end the Mahdi Army."

Maliki's advisors have also been clear the Mahdi Army is the target of the legislation. "We want the Sadrists to disband the Mahdi Army. Just freezing it is no longer acceptable," said Sadiq al Rikabi, a senior adviser to the prime minister. "The new election law will prevent any party that has weapons or runs a militia from contesting elections."

The legislation is said to have broad support from the major Sunni, Kurdish and Shia political parties, and is expected to quickly pass through parliament. The details of the legislation were outlined by the Political Council for National Security, which included the Kurdish president, the Sunni and Shia vice presidents, the prime minister, and the leaders from the major political parties. No political parties other than the Sadrist movement have opposed the recommended legislation.]

thanks for the post & please keep us updated..

and just for fun..


8:18 PM, April 07, 2008

Blogger bg said...


hi TG.. it's me, the hog again.. :D

re: Religious leaders tell al-Sadr to keep militia intact

notice there is no mention of Sistani by name.. which
imo, is another red flag, especially when CNN is doing
the reporting..


8:36 PM, April 07, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nibras Kazimi, I couldn't find your email so I guess I will have to ask you this here: Do you know Michael Ware from CNN? What do you think of him? Everytime I see his smug face on CNN I get creeped out. It always seems like he's spewing propaganda from the enemy and if I recall correctly he often is granted interviews with insurgent groups. What do you think of him?

9:55 PM, April 07, 2008

Anonymous ML said...

I found new respect for Michael Ware after reading David Bellavia's book, House to House (http://www.amazon.com/House-David-Bellavia/dp/1416574719)

Ware showed courage under fire and gained my respect.

11:29 PM, April 07, 2008

Blogger bg said...


ML @ 11:29 PM..

i looked at the reviews, was Ware even mentioned in the book?? because i didn't see his name anywhere..

at any rate & regardless..

Speaking of Michael Ware...

links @ link..


11:45 PM, April 07, 2008

Anonymous gj said...

Nibras said ( assume sarcastically):

"It's almost as baffling as Maliki's abrupt transformation from incompentent administrator into a wartime commander-in-chief"

What would half a leader do with an army trained from scratch by the US finally coming on line? The only better training could come from the IDF!

And Mr Maliki has never, ever struck me as being "half" a leader. The interview he's just given to CNN gives a clue to the measure of the man.

This is great, Nibras. Keep the posts rolling!

3:12 AM, April 08, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Does this joke of an organization even know how to properly report a story? The headline alone is self-parody.

5:54 AM, April 08, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry about the link.

The NYTimes headline is:

"Crackdown on Militias Raises Stability Concerns"

Sure does, among the thugs posing as "the Mahdi Army", and the newsroom in Manhattan.

5:59 AM, April 08, 2008

Blogger Seaberry said...

You've been calling the shots very closely...MSM needs to follow your site for the real info!

6:34 AM, April 08, 2008

Blogger fooburger said...

Your prescience wrt to activities in Iraq is almost disturbing.

Seems like you have lines to news that others can't, wont or don't want to cultivate.
Keep up the good work.... and let us all know what's coming next.

10:59 AM, April 08, 2008

Blogger bg said...


sarc on\

hmm, guess Obama et al were just too busy
to help Muckpig organize his sheeple run..

/sarc off


11:57 AM, April 08, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nibras, did you hear that the big Al-Sadr family (from Al-Khadhumia, Najaf, Karbala and even in Qum/Iran) are denouncing Muqtada as an outlaw person and they don't want him to be part of their family anymore for the atrocities his militias has committed against ordinary Iraqis.

Ali/from Iraq

2:51 PM, April 08, 2008

Blogger bg said...


old news, but thought i'd share it anyways..

The Press Botches Basra: Puncturing the two biggest media myths about the recent fighting.


[But none of the journalists bothered to ask one simple question: if Sadr was so successful, why end the fighting? If Iraq's army was being beaten and Maliki politically weakened, why not press the fight and make the government collapse? As an American military officer serving in southern Iraq told us, "Claiming a 'victory' and then withdrawing from the battlefield is the tactic of someone that is losing."

WHILE THE RECENT FIGHTING AGAINST the Mahdi Army in Basra, Baghdad, and Iraq's south was not a stunning victory for the Iraqi government and military, neither was it the resounding defeat that many believe.

It isn't entirely clear why the media leapt to the conclusions that it did about the Basra operations. Perhaps impatience coupled with a lack of knowledge about military affairs was the biggest factor. Perhaps, tired of six months of generally positive reporting about the surge, journalists were gleeful to announce that the situation on the ground was deteriorating. Or perhaps a negative angle was irresistible in light of General David Petraeus's upcoming congressional testimony.

Whatever the reason, the press has done a major disservice to readers by misreporting the events in Basra.]

ps: Ali/from Iraq

that sounds like great news, hope
it is true and we hear of it asap!!



3:26 PM, April 08, 2008

Blogger bg said...


TG.. i don't rightly know, but think you
might be interested in these opinions..

HT : Joshua @ GP

CTA Symposium: Iraq v. Mahdi Army


[Bill Roggio, Military Operations analyst of The Long War Journal, recently returned from another tour embedded with Coalition Forces in Iraq.

Ralph Peters, LTC (Ret.) US Army, Defense and National Security analyst and author who has reported from Iraq multiple times.

Dr. Michael Ledeen, Iran specialist and historian, Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute who writes on Iran at Faster, Please!.

And Iraqi citizens Mohammed and Omar Fadhil of ITM
Blog (Iraq The Model), editors at Pajamas Media.]


4:41 PM, April 08, 2008

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