Muqtada’s Friday Sermon: Marines should Surrender
Muqtada al-Sadr announced in his Friday prayers sermon at Kufa on Friday that “truce negotiations [with the American forces] are useless,” and that he will not dissolve the Mahdi Army. He called on the nations that have forces in Iraq to desert the United States “to battle by itself.” He demanded that occupation troops surrender themselves and their weapons.
At the same time, mediators announced that the negotiations have stumbled because the Coalition forces have put conditions on them that the religious leadership in Najaf considers “crippling.”
In the first sermon he has preached in the Kufa mosque since the outbreak of hostilities between his Mahdi Army and Coalition forces, he said that “These events have brought to light dirty tricks, and have made it possible to distinguish between the truth and falsehood. I say that they intend to stay for many long years and are strengthening their positions, and there is no use to truce negotiations with them.” He added, “America does not distinguish between small and large [sins?] under the pretext of freedom and democracy, but what democracy is this, and what liberty? Do not let their words seduce you, for they claim that they are going to surrender sovereignty and form an [Iraqi] government . . . Some accuse me of having delayed the transfer of sovereignty to Iraqis and the formation of a transitional Iraqi government. I say, yes, I have delayed the sale of Iraq and the planting of a lackey government . . . We shall never permit these forces to enter this city of Najaf or the holy sites, for they are forbidden to them.”
Muqtada addressed the congregation, “I seek martyrdom, but they have prescribed for me patience and steadfastness. Know that this war is a war against our religion, and this politics is not the one you demand . . . I want to register my exceptional regard for the heroic Mahdi Army.
He said that some Muslims had asked him to dissolve the Mahdi Army, saying, “I will not dissolve it under any circumstance.” He said he had not formed the militia by himself, but rather with the cooperation of the Iraqi people. He called on America’s Coalition allies to desert it. He singled out Japan for criticism, saying, “Did you learn no lessons from what the United States did at Hiroshima?”, a reference to the dropping of the atomic bomb on a Japanese city in 1945. He said he would give safe passage guarantees to any Coalition troops that surrendered themselves and their weopons.
Well, I would not want psychiatric medicine to be abused by employing it to deal with Iraqi dissidents. But I do think Muqtada’s statements and behavior are so erratic that we may conclude he has some sort of fairly severe personality disorder. This should not be surprising, insofar as he grew up under extreme Baath repression, and his father and older brothers were machine-gunned down only 5 years ago. His wife’s father, Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr, had been hanged in 1980, when both Muqtada and the girl who later became his wife were children. It is hard to know what living with constant terror and the death of loved ones does to a young mind. He is afflicted with grandiosity and a great deal of aggression, and he may think he is the Mahdi or Islamic promised one.