The latest series in the "stay the course" op-eds comes from Iraqi prime minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari. Jaafari, Tehran’s man in Baghdad, writes that his "first challenge will be to stifle terrorism". This is a very laudable goal. I have no doubt that Jaafari and the SCIRI want to stifle "terrorism". I do wonder whether their definition of "terrorism" might not be different than our definition of terrorism. I found the following from al-Jaafari’s op-ed quite revealing:
Sidelining Moqtada al-Sadr’s group from the Governing Council was a mistake. Had it been integrated into the political process back then, long before the formation of the Mahdi Army, events would have turned out differently in the south. I corrected this policy and brought Sadr’s group into the democratic process. This inclusive approach resulted in the huge nationwide turnout for the December elections and a parliament that truly reflects Iraq.
During my term as elected prime minister, Sadr’s group has not attacked any coalition troops. Furthermore, Sadr and several Sunni leaders are now catalysts for maintaining the peace in Iraq, calling on their followers not to retaliate against terrorist provocations, which aim to ignite civil war.
Unfortunately, we have suffered setbacks during the past year. The most troubling was the discovery of prisoner torture in an Interior Ministry jail in November. As soon as I learned of these despicable acts I formed an investigative committee made up solely of Sunni leaders, and I await its findings.
The long-term solution to this problem will be multifaceted. We must ensure that all security forces receive proper training and that there is a chain of command that holds commanders and officers responsible for such abuses. In addition, the various militias that fought Saddam Hussein’s regime honorably must be fully integrated into Iraq’s security forces without concentrating any particular group into any one division. Finally, we need to strengthen the country’s nascent judiciary, which suffered years of coercion and corruption under the former regime, to guarantee its independence and impartiality. [Emphasis added by me]
Sadr’s group, that is the Mahdi Army, along with the Badr Brigade of SCIRI have been systematically murdering their political rivals and Sunnis. They have certainly been "integrating" themselves into the Iraqi security forces. There will be no rule of law in Iraq as long as Islamist militias are allowed to set up shop under official sanction. The recent reports of death squads roaming the streets are not encouraging.
We have served up Iraq on a platter to the Iranians through their SCIRI proxies. We have turned what was the most secular Arab country, through our bumbling, into a de facto province of Iran. Don’t let the mild mannered front man fool you, I fear that al-Jaafari’s vision for Iraq is a rule of law based on an extreme interpretation of Islam. The Mahdi Army and the Badr Brigade will insure that the men and women of Iraq get in line, with the women at the back of the line, of course.