With violence on a dangerous upward curve since Thursday’s deadly coordinated bombing attack in Sadr City, Shiite lawmakers aligned with Moqtada al-Sadr are threatening to walk out of parliament if Iraq PM Nouri al-Maliki meets with Bush next Wednesday:
““The occupation forces should shoulder the full responsibility for these deeds, and we call for them to end their rule in Iraq by withdrawal or at least setting a timetable for withdrawal,” said Saleh al-Iqaili, a Sadr legislator. “If the security situation does not improve, as well as the issue of basic services, and if the prime minister does not retreat from his intent to meet the criminal Bush in Amman, we will suspend our membership in the Iraqi Parliament and the government.””
TNR refugee Spencer Ackerman believes Sadr is making a major power play:
“Smart move, Moqtada. Leaving Bush high and dry in Amman would stick a thumb right in the White House’s eye — the government that nearly 3,000 Americans have died for would be snubbing its benefactors. It’s extremely hard to see how Maliki can acquiesce, which I gather is Moqtada’s ploy.”
An unstable (puppet) regime in Baghdad only adds to Bush’s domestic political woes. And all the strategic reassessments in the world aren’t going to make a lick of difference at this late juncture. As Arthur Silber said recently, “[The US is] no longer in control of events in Iraq. There is literally nothing we can do to direct a particular outcome.”
Nothing, except hope the unforgiveable hubris of the elite doesn’t lead to the spread of chaos throughout the region.
For more on Sadr, see the International Crisis Group report Muqtada al-Sadr:Spoiler or Stabiliser?