Thursday, April 15, 2004

Biting the hand that feeds you 

An Iranian diplomat was assassinated in Iraq. Given the support Iran has given to Muqtada al-Sadr, the firebrand leader of militant Shi'ism in Iraq, this can't be good for Sadr. Iran has been mediating discussions between the Coalition Provisional Authority and Sadr about disbanding the Al-Mehdi Army, Sadr's militia. Apparently someone wasn't interested in stopping the fighting, and killed this Iranian in hopes of disrupting the process. I think all this will do is drive a wedge between Iran and Sadr, whether he was involved or not. Even if he was not directly involved, it shows that he does not have tight control of his militia. Iran now has even more incentive to bring its wayward client in line, and Sadr has probably lost some negotiating room with Iran. Coupled with the rebukes he has gotten from Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, it looks like Sadr is very short of friends at the moment. He must realize this, and hopefully he will do the wise thing and disband his militia rather than consign his men to inevitable destruction in an American assault on Najaf.
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