Unconventional thinking about the Middle East.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Iraq, in pictures

Some folks make way too much of Iraqi political hot air, not realizing that it is the same brand of political hot air found the world over. Every caustic, grandstanding statement is a harbinger of "a return to violence and civil strife", as far as the Western press and analysts are concerned. I wonder what they would make of these pictures taken at a dinner hosted by Adel Abdul-Mahdi last night. All the same people who've been accusing each other of all sorts of nasty things are sitting around, amiably chatting, and waiting for the food to be served. They don't look as if they are about to come to blows, even though they've been doing plenty of trash talking beforehand, words of zeal and fire assiduously jotted down and quoted by the nihilist half wits of the foreign bureaus.

Iraqi politics today is merely an extention of Iraqi opposition politics. To understand one is to understand the other. And as someone who has lived through it, I must say that I do find it very hard to explain to the uninitiated. But maybe these pics will help:

From left to right: Sharif Ali bin al-Hussein (INA, pretender to the Iraqi throne), Izzeddin al-Dawla (Iraqiyya, Nineveh), Muwaffaq al-Ruba'i (INA), Nasseer al-Chadirchi (INA, National Democratic Party), Ammar al-Hakim (INA, ISCI), Tareq al-Hashemi (Iraqiyya, Vice President).

From left: Ahmad Chalabi (INA), Ayad Allawi (Iraqiyya), Adel Abdul-Mahdi (INA, Vice President), ?, Hassan al-Shimmeri (INA, Fadhila), Rafi' al-'Isawi (Iraqiyya, Deputy Prime Minister), ?, ?.

And oh, Iraqi forces, acting in concert with Kurdish intelligence and the U.S. military, have arrested Abu Abdullah al-Shafi'i (Ja'afar Hassan, a.k.a. Wuriya Hawleri), head of the Kurdish jihadist group Ansar al-Islam, in Baghdad a few days ago. This, again, is a huge debilitating strike against an influential jihadist network that's been active for at least eight years, with direct ties to Bin Laden's Al-Qaeda HQ, and with the distinction of facilitating the entry of jihadists like Abu Musaab al-Zarqawi into Iraq early on.

Abu Abdullah al-Shafi'i, in custody