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10 May 2010


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Mel Goodman has up a new article:

Cold War Zoomie

Looking back on the last 5 days, it was not a good idea to burn vacation time painting the kitchen - especially the 30+ year old cabinets that required two coats of primer to just barely cover up the brown finish even after a quick hit with the sander.

Someone stick needles in my eyes to relieve the pain of painting for crying out loud!

anna missed

In response to an Adam Silverman post a month or two ago I brought up the idea that U.S. policy in Iraq may have been influenced/underwritten by the David Wurmser idea that overthrowing Saddam would clear the way for Najaf (as represented by Seyyid Ali al-Sistani) to re-assert itself as the religious capital of Shi'ism, and away from the Iranian capital of Qom. This would have the net effect of insuring that democracy in Iraq could develop without clerical interference, the "quietest" model championed by Sistani, and at the same time, undermine the Iranian "activist" model as outdated, unproductive, and ultimately undemocratic.

In this regard, one of the interesting by-products of the recent SOL and INA alliance following the elections in Iraq, is the entirely new proposition (made by the alliance) that the clerical marjaiya will be tasked to choose a committee of clerical and political leaders that will then choose who the next Prime Minister of Iraq will be. Such a list of names has indeed been produced, and to date, the offices of Sistani have neither confirmed or denied its hand in producing the list.

It would seem that this could represent several important cleavages in how the Iraq escapade could be developing. First of all, by neither confirming or denying its active participation in producing this list that will(supposedly) choose the next PM, is Sistani acquiescing his traditional "quietist" role of keeping the marjaiya removed from official participation in political matters? Secondly, if this is so, is Iraq, through Hakim/Sadr INA manipulation, pushing this change of course toward adopting the Iranian model of theocratic governance? And thirdly, what does this say about the U.S. overall strategy of promoting democracy in Iraq? As demonstrated in the following report out today:

{Apparently a signal that the US does not intend to interfere in the political deal whereby the second and third place blocs in March 7’s Iraqi election have merged into a dominant Shi’ite faction, US Ambassador Christopher Hill today remarked that the political process in Iraq has “quickened” and that he was confident the new Shi’ite alliance would form a government...}

I don't see how all this squares out. Is the new democracy in Iraq, simply the Iraqi version of Iranian theocratic democracy?

And, Christopher Hill thinks this all a-ok?


Colonel, Phil,

Ray McGovern highlights Rep. Jane 'lets spy for Israel' Harman and her loose lips trying her best to drive our U.S. into an unnecessary war with Iran. Ray shows how Harman's actions can have devastating consequences for America.

William P. Fitzgerald III

Pat Lang,

After traipsing through some of Europe for about 4 weeks, with the first stop having been Rome, I can report that the rigatoni alla carbonara at the Trattoria Abruzzo was, indeed, excellent.


William R. Cumming

H1N1, Haiti, and now th BP Spill have helped document that the WH lacks agility and competence in any large crisis.

different clue

My intuitive guess that al Sadr would coalesce with the al Alawi group illustrates the limits of intuition and impression.

I think I just recently heard that al Sadr is coalescing with al Maliki and other Iranist Shia parties. That just feels so wrong to me on so many levels that I have to wonder why he is doing that. Why would an inter-Sectarian Iraqi National patriot coalesce with the Iranist parties? Was he or his group being pressure or threatened by Iranian agents and messengers? Can anyone shed some light on what al Sadr's reasons and motives might be?

Patrick Lang


Brace for the shock! He's a Shia. pl


Colonel Lang,

Thanks for the warning. I braced myself first; and then, yes, I was shocked.

So, for all his committment to Iraq, and the bitterness he just simply has to feel over Maliki's armed operations against some of his militiafolk; he will coalesce with the al Maliki group because it is Shia and he is Shia. Evidently he responds like an iron filing in the most simple-minded of magnetic fields....not even like a True Believer; let alone a Visionary Thinker. I will try understanding how it is that this is what I should not be shocked by.

So are the Shia-identified leaderships and all their followers merely human iron filings responding in engineeringly predictable ways to whatever magnetic fields are switched on around them? If so...is the key to predicting their behavior an ability to understand what the politico-magnetic fields are and who switches them on and off? (Does Chalabi fancy himself to be an electromagnet operator mastermind? But is he really just one more iron filing responding to whatever magnetic field Iran cares to switch on?)

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