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Peaceful Protest Continues in Baghdad

Contrary to US plans, Moktada Al Sadr continues to be recognized as a leader by the Iraqi people. Today he is at the forefront of protests in the capitol that have continued peacefully for over a week. "The government has given nothing to the Iraqi people, and all the political parties say yes to the Americans. The elections are useless. They will do nothing for us," said Nizar Khanjar, 27.... "Only the Sadr office is defending the rights of the people."

With the fall of the Saddam regime, Iraqis have seen harder times than they had even under sanctions, and the interim government of CIA fledgling Allawi has been largely powerless to help them. Since 1964, the CIA has acted as if a deity in the selection of Iraqi leadership, but they appear to have underestimated the power the Sadr clan, widely repected in both Iraq and Iran.

Sadr leadership would have obviated the Iraq-Iran conflicts of the past 30, perhaps 40 years.
According to the Washington Post:
For their part, officials with Sadr's movement say they see little room for engagement with the Americans, perceiving provocation in almost every action by the U.S. military. One official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, complained that 345 Sadr followers had been arrested since a truce brokered by Sistani ended fighting in the Shiite holy city of Najaf in August, although he acknowledged the Americans' "excellent intelligence." They have been rebuffed in attempts to win the release of senior leaders who guided the movement after Sadr's revered father was assassinated by agents of former president Saddam Hussein's government in 1999.
It was in 1999 that Sadr's father had begun to pose a serious challenge to Saddam, gaining popularity in a movement that might have eventually deposed the dictator. But like so many indigenous leaders of the past 60 years, they functioned within a framework incomprehensible to the US State department, which therefore related them to oblivion.

It appears, however, that this latest branch of the Sadr tree will not easily be severed from its roots which extend throughout the arab world, much to the consternation of those who stand to profit by dividing the people of these oil-rich lands.

David Roknich,



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