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NYT: Like Al-Sadr, Most Iraqis Are Against US

From his devoted followers at the New York Times:

Cleric Switches Tactics to Meet Changes in Iraq


Published: July 19, 2007

BAGHDAD, July 18 — After months of lying low, the anti-American Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr has re-emerged with a shrewd strategy that reaches out to Iraqis on the street while distancing himself from the increasingly unpopular government

Mr. Sadr and his political allies have largely disengaged from government, contributing to the political paralysis noted in a White House report last week. That outsider status has enhanced Mr. Sadr’s appeal to Iraqis, who consider politics less and less relevant to their daily lives.

Mr. Sadr has been working tirelessly to build support at the grass-roots level, opening storefront offices across Baghdad and southern Iraq that dispense services that are not being provided by the government. In this he seems to be following the model established by Hezbollah, the radical Lebanese Shiite group, as well as Hamas in Gaza, with entwined social and military wings that serve as a parallel government.

He has also extended the reach of his militia, the Mahdi Army, one of the armed groups that the White House report acknowledged remain entrenched in Iraq. The militia has effectively taken over vast swaths of the capital and is fighting government troops in several southern provinces. Although the militia sometimes uses brutal tactics, including death squads, many vulnerable Shiites are grateful for the protection it affords

On May 25, in his first public Friday Prayer in months, he explicitly forbade sectarian attacks.

“It is prohibited to spill the blood of Sunnis and Iraqi Christians,” he told Shiites in a much publicized sermon. “They are our brothers, either in religion or in the homeland.”

His basic tenets are widely shared. Like most Iraqis, he opposes the American military presence and wants a timetable for departure — if only to attain some certainty that the Americans will leave eventually. He wants the country to stay unified and opposes the efforts of those Shiites who have had close ties to Iran to create a semiautonomous Shiite region in southern Iraq…

Mr. Al-Sadr is “distancing himself” from the Iraqi government? “Disengaging”?

Which paper do you read?

Oh, wait a minute. This is also from the New York Times:

Al-Sadr’s block rejoins Iraqi Parliament

BAGHDAD | The political bloc loyal to the Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr announced Tuesday that it had decided to resume participation in the Iraqi Parliament.

The group, which holds 30 of the 275 seats in Parliament, walked out in protest on June 13 after the second attack on the Golden Mosque in Samarra, alleging that the government was not doing enough to protect the shrine. ..

Of course what the New York Times really wanted to establish as fact in its first mash note article was:

His basic tenets are widely shared. Like most Iraqis, he opposes the American military presence and wants a timetable for departure…

What boldfaced liars they are at the New York Times.

The ABC News/USA Today poll of Iraqis taken last March found that 35 percent of the Iraqis polled wanted troops to “leave now” and 38 percent wanted troops to “remain until security is restored.”

Twenty-five percent said they wanted troops to remain until the Iraqi government was stronger or until Iraqi forces could operate independently.

Perhaps the Solons at The Times can be forgiven in thinking that everyone thinks like them.

Still, even most terrorists don’t hate the US as much as they do.

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, July 19th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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