Moqatda al-Sadr, the Shia, anti-imperialism cleric, just announced that American “trainers” will be targeted if they stay in Iraq behind the 2011 withdrawal deadline. Barring a 180 degree shift in Barack Obama’s foreign policy, American troops will stay in Iraq for many years to come.
“But,” the average American asks, “why would he want to attack troops that are only serving in an advisory capacity and are not combat troops?” Doublespeak from the Obama administration, as well as a general sense of apathy and ignorance amongst the American public, gives rise to questions such as these. Anyone who follows the debacle in Iraq closely knows that the deadlines are far from being met, and that any “advisory capacity” includes such things as kicking down doors and launching full on assaults against Iraqi insurgents. What is even more disheartening, however, is that Pulitzer Prize winning Politifact lacks the spine and journalistic integrity to call the Obama administration’s bluff by considering his promise to withdraw combat troops as a “Promise Kept.” The parallels between Politifact and the Obama administrations’ dereliction of duties that came along with their world renowned prizes are amusing.
But the answer to Politifact’s and the average American’s confusion is that Moqtada al-Sadr is vowing to attack American “trainers” because they are doing much more than training: they are conducting assaults, raids, and acting as the muscle for D.C. in order to retain the diminishing American influence in Iraq, which the armchair generals and policymakers in Washington hope to use as leverage against Iran. Sadr’s intentions were clear and simple,
“Whoever stays in Iraq will be treated as an unjust invader and should be opposed with military resistance.”
“A government which agrees for them to stay, even for training, is a weak government.”
Sadr is perhaps also engaging in some form of doublespeak. With a largely demobilized Mehdi Army, much of Sadr’s control has been weakened by rival factions and splinter groups. Most attacks in recent months have been credited to these groups who are uncontrolled by Sadr. Gareth Porter, however, questions whether or not Sadr is bluffing:
If tensions between the U.S. military and Sadr continue to rise, Sadr may reverse course and drop the covert inside game he is said to have adopted. Ironically, the U.S. inability or unwillingness to play along with a Sadr double game on a U.S. troop presence could help Iran stymie the U.S. effort to preserve a rapidly dwindling influence in Iraq.
The Iraqi New Year could end up being a fireworks show to rival the 4th of July show in New York City. Or, like many towns across the United States saw this 4th of July, it could end up being pitch black.