Mr. Sadr is widely seen as the only one who can rival Mr. Maliki for the support of the Iraqi people. In 2008, Mr. Maliki sent troops into southern Iraq to clear the cities of Mr. Sadr's militias, ultimately leading Mr. Sadr to abandon them. But Mr. Sadr's partisans did very well in last March's election and later provided key support to Mr. Maliki so he could continue to be prime minister.
That's an August 5, 2007 comic entitled "Spineless." And looking back, that's when I should have abandoned hope in elected Dems.
They'd talked strong and we gave them control in the 2006 mid-terms but once they were sworn in (Jan. 2007), they refused to stand by any promises they campaigned on. Over and over we saw it.
They were for spying, they were for war, they were basically Republicans. And we'd hear these lame excuses for their sell-outs and some promises of "next time" but over and over it happened.
I remember being confused around this period and honestly thinking they weren't realizing what they were doing. They knew. The only fool was me. (In the cartoon, they're collapsing yet again, this time to support illegal wiretapping.)
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
An essay on Kitabat's main page explains that Friday is the day Iraqis stand up to leaders who attempted to perpetuate divisions among the people, leaders who abused the Iraqi people's patiences, leaders who ignored the people and now the day of rage calls all Iraqis to Tahrir Square in Baghdad to make Iraq's voice heard. The writer offers a religious prayer asking for protection for the marchers and a peaceful march with no attacks from the government. Friday, the essay announces, will be when Iraq leaves its recent sectarian and ethnic categories and again becomes one nation with "brother having the back of his brother" and the people emerging triumphant over the politicians after too many bleak years. "Tomorrow we are all one and the same and will root out the corruption and the violence and death" that has plauged Iraq.
And yet some are demanding that the long planned, long announced protests not take place. Yes, Moqtada al-Sadr has returned and, with his return, his fawning press base is back. Yesterday's snapshot noted an article by Michael S. Schmidt and Yasir Ghazi (New York Times) that we panned for gold and ignored the very weak parts of. The article had just gone up and I thought it would be redone before going into print (which is often the case). That didn't happen. The article includes these laughable paragraphs:
We're not a pro-State of Law website and we certainly don't carry Nouri's water for him. But a rival would Ayad Allawi whose political slate actually beat Nouri's State of Law. A rival would not be someone who came in with half the seats of Allawi or Nouri. Sadr's about as popular (or was at election time) as the Kurds -- which it a tiny portion of Iraq. To claim otherwise is to rewrite history. Before Sadr 'abandon'ed those militias, he first attempted to launch an uprising but that was taken down in Basra and in Baghdad.
Did Sadr provide key support for Nouri?
Yes, he did and that's where reporters provide context but no one apparently can either because they don't know recent history or they just don't care. Moqtada al-Sadr resurfaced in Iraq yesterday to issue a call that the protests long planned for tomorrow be called off. What he offered instead was a referendum. The press is obligated to tell the story of Moqtada's most recent referendum -- less than a year ago. But no one wants to remember that today.
Dropping back to the April 7th snapshot:
The Times reporters are correct, Moqtada did throw his support behind Nouri. After holding a referendum -- one that he said would determine who his bloc would support. Nouri isn't who won the referendum. Nouri didn't even come in second. But Moqtada broke his word and still supported Nouri. He ignored the wishes of the people. And how do you referendum basic services? "Are you for or opposed to water you can drink safely without first boiling? Are you for or opposed to trash pick ups? Are you for or opposed to electricity?"
Now he's showing back up proposing another referendum? A skeptical press would greet his vanity move with laughter. Do we have a skeptical press, a functioning press? Today be thankful for Stephanie McCrummen (Washington Post) who gathers multiple threads to provide the tapestry and not some isolated segment that reveals nothing. As she notes, "the leadeup to the big day has been marked so far by the more familiar features of Iraq's bare-knuckle style of governing: crackdowns by security forces, political intrigue, sectarian divisions and the threat of violence." And she continues on that path, noting the patterns, reporting the events and she's even speaking to experts. Joost Hiltermann weighs in (and his record, especially of late, has been remarkably high, I'd estimate that in the last 12 months, 92% of the calls he's made -- what he's seeing and where that will end up -- have been correct). (Jane Arraf's reports have been consistently strong. That's this week, that's her entire career of reporting from Iraq. A friend called about the observations made this morning by me that appear only slightly reworked above and asked about "What about Jane?" He worked with her at CNN and has high respect for her. Most people who know her work do. I was not attempting to sleight Jane Arraf. I thought it was a given that we expect strong reporting from her and that she delivers. Over and over. If that wasn't obvious, my apologies for not making it so before.)
The reactionary Nouri made more speechifying today. Michael S. Schmidt and Jack Healy (New York Times) report on his call for no protests tomorrow and quote him declaring, "They are attempting to crack down on everything you have achieved, all the democratic gains, the free elections, the peace exchange of power and freedom." What?
February 25, 2011 9:30 - 10:30 am
Richard Rowely (Big Noise Films)
Moving to legal news out of England, Jessica Grose (Slate) observes, "A few months after famous feminist Naomi Wolf and other leftist journalists dismissed the sexual assault charges against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange as frivolous, British courts are taking the matter quite seriously: They ruled Thursday that Assange should be extradited to Sweden to face accusations of abuse, according to the New York Times. [. . .] Hopefully now that a court is taking these women's stories seriously, Wolf and company will have to eat their condescending words." One would hope so. But don't expect it to happen. And Grose is saying the charges should be taken seriously, she's not saying, "JULIAN ASSANGE IS A RAPIST!!!" Whereas, the other side's loud mouths -- Naomi Wolf, Ray McGovern, et al -- have repeatedly slimed and trashed the women who may have been raped. There's an appeal expected. I've read the findings, there does not appear to be grounds for an appeal.
REHM: Abderrahim, there are a great many people wondering why Aljazeera Arabic did not cover what happened to Laura Logan.
FOUKARA: I just wanna say this. I don't wanna say anything stupid or come across as trying to say anything too smart by half. I don't know the answer to what exactly happened with the story of Laura Logan on Aljazeera. I'd be very happy to come back down the road next week or whenever, once I've had a chance to speak to people and give the details of why that story was covered the way it was covered or was not covered at all on either Aljazeera English or Aljazeera Arabic.
the diane rehm show
Mr. Sadr is widely seen as the only one who can rival Mr. Maliki for the support of the Iraqi people. In 2008, Mr. Maliki sent troops into southern Iraq to clear the cities of Mr. Sadr's militias, ultimately leading Mr. Sadr to abandon them.
But Mr. Sadr's partisans did very well in last March's election and later provided key support to Mr. Maliki so he could continue to be prime minister.