(NY Times, 4/11/08) A senior aide of Moktada al-Sadr, the radical anti-American cleric, was killed in Najaf, the Shiite holy city south of Baghdad, as he returned home from prayers on Friday in what Sadrists officials said was an assassination carried out by unknown gunmen.
The aide, Sayyed Riyadh al-Nuri, who was a senior official in the Sadr office in Najaf, was also related to Mr. Sadr by marriage. His sister is married to Mr. Sadr’s brother.
The killing is certain to increase tensions between Mr. Sadr’s Mahdi Army and government security forces, who fought a huge battle in Basra last month and have been engaged in heavy fighting in Mr. Sadr’s eastern Baghdad stronghold, Sadr City.
Hassan al-Rubaie, a Sadrist member of Parliament, said: "We condemn this attack against Sayyed Nuri and we call on the Iraqi government to set up an investigative committee to stop the security situation deteriorating." (End excerpt.)
This episode, one of uncountable similar episodes that have already occurred and will again in the future, serves to display the insanity of the War in Iraq, as if we needed another lesson in its insanity.
As the situation stands right now, the United States is in the position of supporting an Iraqi government that is headed by Prime Minister Nouri Miliki, a Shiite who is closely aligned with Iran. Gunmen, probably associated with the government, and acting as a “death squad” have just killed an aide of the radical anti-American, but more independent cleric, Moktada al-Sadr, who may be in hiding – in Iran!
Meanwhile, on the campaign trail, the candidates try to avoid dealing with the realities on the ground; one side (guess which one) paints an upbeat picture and dreams about the day of “victory” to come, while the other side simply talks about getting the hell out without revealing how to avoid an internecine conflagration.
To further make one’s head spin, a tentative cease-fire is in place (at least for a moment) even as Sadr City, a Mahdi Army stronghold, is occasionally bombed by US pilots at the direction of the government forces! Keep in mind that Sadr City is densely populated with civilians.
Questions: What would we prefer happen? Who would we prefer to prevail? Is it good that Iran’s man in Iraq, Maliki, might benefit from the assassination by a death squad of an American hating cleric’s assistant who is not as aligned with Iran as Maliki?
Answer: Who could possibly answer this?
What is clear is that there is no positive aspect of this for our country. We have the choice of supporting a government that may be sending out death squads against an enemy who hates us even more but who is somewhat less aligned withIran, our country’s most dangerous enemy.
Some choice… Some war…