Thursday, October 23, 2003

AL-SADR WATCH: Aziz Poonawalla tends to paint a more rosy picture of Muqtada al-Sadr. I have called him a street thug, because, well, that's what I think he is. I don't think he's interested in representing Iraqi Shiites (he doesn't) or living up to his father's (Iraq's grand ayatollah murdered by Saddam Hussein in February of 1999) legacy. Al-Sadr is out for power and has done everything to fill the void left by the precipitous fall of Saddam Hussein; I agree with him on that. Aziz also brings up the point of Khomeinism in Iraq and its potential of becoming reality. Do Iraq's Shiites want a Khomeini-style theocracy in Iraq? It's true we can only speculate but a good guess would be that most don't.

Aziz also debunks the notion that Al-Sadr wants to set up a Khomeini-style, but I think he relies on a minimal amount of quotes. There are contradictory claims from Juan Cole, for example, who writes in the Boston Review that both Sadr and the Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) seek "a clerically dominated Islamic republic in Iraq."

Al-Sadr may be openly challenging the United States-led occupation of Iraq, but he also has threathened the authority of clerics currently holding power. Last week, he (violently) challenged authority in Karbala. He failed.


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