Language Tricks
Wednesday, March 26, 2008 | Author: Mad Typist
So, the security situation in Iraq is looking pretty bad now, with the Iraqi Army (and our own Army) going after the Mahdi Army. Up until now, as I'm sure you've read, part of the reason the "Surge" worked is because Moqtada al-Sadr had placed a ceasefire order on his Mahdi Army.

Joe Klein today discusses the situation and makes several great points. Most telling is this passage, which echoes many of my own thoughts on the matter:
And now, the question: How will the U.S. media portray this? As the Iraqi Army cleaning up a renegade militia in Basra? Probably. But the Iraqi Army in Basra is mostly composed of another renegade militia--the Badr Corps, an organization founded by Iran and answerable to ISCI--the Shi'ite faction led by the Hakim family, Sadr's great rival. There are no heroes here. The Sadr movement is populist, nationalist, anti-Iranian, in favor of a strong central government...but it's also anti-American and oriented toward a stricter Islamic state than the current Maliki government is. The Hakim family's movement is both pro-American and pro-Iranian. It is federalist, rather than nationalist, in favor of a weak central government with a strong Shi'istan in the south (which would be heavily influenced by Iran).
I too question the language that the media in this country uses to paint a picture over there. Do you ever find yourself reading headline like "U.S. Forces Kill 20 Insurgents in Raid" and wonder to yourself if maybe there were like 5 insurgents, and 15 random people who were just in the wrong place at the wrong time? Because I sure do. As Klein points out, just because one side qualifies as "a renegade militia" doesn't mean that they're the only villain involved.

A lot of folks around the blogosphere are guessing that this is really an intra-Shia conflict, with the ISCI making a power play against their political rival.
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