When Moktada Met Bashar

Posted: February 13, 2006 in International, Politics

From Iraqipundit

Juan Cole writes about his favorite non-cleric, Moktada Al Sadr, and his trip to Damascus to meet his new best friend, Bashar Assad. The professor mentions a speech the religious school dropout gave in the Syrian capital, in which Al Sadr said Sunnis and Shiites should unite and killing Christians is wrong etc. Cole, of course, has been a fan of Al Sadr all along and has often written admiringly of the man. Cole has presented him as the “young Arab nationalist” who will rescue Iraq from all this turmoil.

Of course, Cole is not the only fan Al Sadr has in the West. There was a New York Times op-ed By Bartle Breese Bull that characterized Al Sadr as Iraq’s Alexander the Great. (Iraq Pundit wrote about that bizarre idea on Oct. 16, 2004.)

The problem is Iraqis know that Moktada Al Sadr is, quite honestly, a mentally challenged sap who is surrounded by brutal thugs. His black-clad army had to remove its “uniforms” when in Najaf because somebody (probably the locals) was picking them off. Iraqis are also aware that Al Sadr murdered Abdul Majid Khoe’i in the spring of 2003. So why Cole and others see positive possibilities in him, we will never understand. The only thing Moktada Al Sadr has going for him is his family name.

Perhaps it is the family name thing that explains Al Sadr’s fondness for the current Syrian leader. Because frankly, what does Bashar Assad have going for him other than his family name? Former Syrian vice president Abdul Halim Khaddam said in an interview that Bashar Assad views Syria as a farm he inherited from his father. And, it looks as though Bashar is really getting desperate to help his mismanaged farm. That’s why he received Moktada Al Sadr and declared his support for the nutter’s goals.


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