Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Salvadorian Option, Sadr, Privatisation

Three important news from Iraq in a single day - Juan Cole has them.

The first story is that the fifty executed civilians found recently appear to be Sunnis (Cole is not very clear but it seems he refers to two different sources on this), executed by puppet government security forces (or, is the Wolf Brigade one of the pop-up militias?). This seems to be evidence that the 'Salvadorian Option' - subduing a guerilla movement by staffing out local forces that terrorise the population - is at work. Tough, the Badr Brigades are capable of starting this all on their own, with the occupiers only required to look away.

The second story is that Muqtada al-Sadr, whom I predicted and still predict to be the big winner in all this bloody mess (that is, unless he is assassinated before a US pullout), appeared for the first time in public since the Najaf siege last August. True to his nationalist agenda, he preached against sectarian conflicts and against the occupation.

At this point I have to stress one point about the present puppet government again. The general image, one accepted by Juan Cole too, is of Jaafari, al-Hakim et al in the government, and Sistani being forces of restraint who try to hold back a sectarian war pursued by some Sunni terrorists. But I think the facts I read daily at Juan Cole's blog don't support this view. It's not that they pursue sectarian war. It's that they are so eager to vilify the Iraqi resistance that they will grab any chance to paint an attack sectarian, and thereby inflame tensions even more than by their manoveuring all Sunnis out of puppet-governmental power.

Remember the mass hostage taking in Mada'in that never was, and the following lies about the unconnected corpses fished from the river. Remember the macabre (staged) 'confessions show' on Iraqi TV. Remember the anti-Jordanian protests based on false rumours on an alleged suicide bomber and celebrations of him. And of course there are the internal Shi'a (or Kurd) attacks by tribal militias or criminals - recognised as such only if the attackers don't wear masks and some locals identify them.

The third story is a new hint at the US 'advisers' at work behind the scenes (not recognised as such by Cole): the new Industry minister announced plans of partial privatisation of state companies. This contradicts the official campaign programme of some Shiite coalition members (not to mention public opinion).


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