Saturday, April 10, 2004

How to deal with the Sadrists: Force or compromise? 

NY Times columnist Yitzhak Nakash argues that the US should ask the Ayatollah Sistani to broker a compromise between the Coalition Provisional Authority and the leader of the Shiite insurgency, Muqtada al-Sadr. But this WaPo editorial points out that Sadr's rebellion is about more than just opposition to the US occupation; it's also a power struggle within the Iraqi Shiite community:
Mr. Sadr, who has a base in the slums of Baghdad, is a young cleric with a considerably smaller following and reputation than other Shiite leaders, like Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani of Najaf. Precisely for that reason, Mr. Sadr has sought to gain support by adopting a hard line against the occupation and the United States.
If by attacking occupying troops Sadr is making a bid to try and supplant Sistani as the leading figure of Iraqi Shiites, it seems unlikely that Sistani will be able to broker a compromise. The WaPo concludes that US troops need to eliminate the Sadrist rebellion by force. OxBlog discusses the relative merits of the two approaches.
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