Monday, May 31, 2004

Portrait of a Rebellion

Link skipping from Amygdala  to Peevish,  I encountered a link to an online magazine I haven't seen before.  Ann Arbor's own Juan Cole has an article  in this month's In These Times.  If you haven't yet run across Dr. Cole's blog, Informed Comment, you might you to read it.  He's a professor of History at the University of Michigan.  On his blog, he writes about current Mideast affairs with a fairly neutral, journalistic style. 

His ITT article, Portrait of a Rebellion, is just that.  He describes the historical background for the prominence and influence of the leader of the rebellion, Muqtada al-Sadr.  Among other things, he notes:

Al-Sadr’s militia had not been violent toward Americans, and the Bush administration's decision to go after him appears to have been a matter of policy. Al-Sadr, having lived under the Baath, knew that his own arrest was in the offing, and he launched a preemptive rebellion to underscore the fact that he would not go quietly.

We've been told that the reason the CPA went after al-Sadr is that there is an arrest warrant for him, for murder.  It always seemed odd to me that, given all the turmoil in Iraq recently, that there should be so much Coalition attention paid to what is essentially a matter for local police to deal with.  Dr. Cole does not really explain why the CPA has been so ardent in their pursuit of al-Sadr, possibly because he does not really know why.  He does, however, provide an analysis of the implications of this pursuit.  Read the article for the details, but the bottom line is that Dr. Cole believes nothing good will come from this.