Monday, April 05, 2004

Is this the Shia kick off?

With the uprising of the followers of Moqtada al-Sadr, and his threatened arrest perhaps we are now seeing the much feared Shiite uprising?

This matters for Britain because our troops are almost all in overwhelmingly Shiite areas. The Shiites have been quiet while the (American occupied) Sunni areas have not, which makes us look such better occupiers than those vulgar Yanks. Of course we've been telling the world that this is because we are such better occupiers than the Americans. Why we wear berets rather than helmets out on patrol!

So this "uprising" is important. Will it translate into general Shiite nastiness or will it fizzle out? On the one hand the Sadrites are an energetic minority amongst the Shia, having the support of neither Iran nor the indigenous Shia hierachy - who have their own, probably larger, Shia factions.

However even a minority Shia uprising would be a bad thing for us. Similarly this uprising may force the hand of the more moderate factions who have to suddenly show a more millitant side to keep their hotheads on board. As Fatah found against Hamas, fighting occupiers adds a certain glamour and even power, even when it is plainly in your people's interests to stay at the negotiating table.

And now the Yanks don't want to cut and run because Iraq isn't ready for democratic self rule. It never was and it never will be, that's what the Hashemites and Saddam were for!


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