Tragedy or Triumph?
in the blogosphere
seem convinced that yesterday's uprising by Moqtada al-Sadr's Shiite militia is a disaster. But Juan Cole, an Iraqi expert, doesn't seem to be hyperventilating too much. He states the key
to the whole situation: "Journalists kept asking me today why Muqtada chose to act now, why he didn't just wait for the Americans to leave. The answer is that the CPA had clearly targeted him, and forced his hand." Cole is referring the the U.S. arrest of one of Sadr's lieutenants, and closure of his newspaper.
My optimistic take is that Sadr, who's a theocratic wannabe, was going to start shooting sooner or later. It's much better that he started now, before he's ready, and while Coalition forces are still at full strength. I notice that Sadr seems to be doing everything he can to rein in his followers. So, there's every reason to think that this is a cleverly planned provocation my the Coalition, that's paid off big time: the Coalition can now arrest Sadr and his leadership, and disarm his militia.
Of course if this wasn't the plan all along, and Bremer et al didn't anticipate this uprising, we're in big trouble.