Al-Muhammadawi Slams Bremer
Al-Shira’ [Baghdad, independent political daily]: Bloody fighting rages in Al-Najaf, Karbala as Al-Najaf truce agreement is rejected by occupying forces \… Shaykh Karim al-Muhammadawi lashes forcefully at US intransigence, describing Bremer as extremist \… Al-Zubayd tribe chieftain: “Al-Hawzah [religious seminary in Al-Najaf] is Iraq’s brain and we are its strong arm.”
This snippet doesn’t make clear that Abdul Karim Mahoud al-Muhammadawi, the leader of the Iraqi Hizbullah (which organizes southern Marsh Arabs) blames Paul Bremer for refusing to compromise with Muqtada al-Sadr, and has come to consider Bremer an “extremist” and an obstacle to social peace in Iraq. Al-Muhammadawi last summer expressed firm support for the US, and served on the Interim Governing Council until early April, when he suspended his membership in protest against heavy-handed US tactics. But al-Muhammadawi has cultivated a lot of insider sources, and if he is fingering Bremer as the problem, that is credible. Bremer in turn is now taking his orders from Robert Blackwill and Condi Rice, which is to say, from George W. Bush. So I think we know who the real extremist is. And, al-Muhammadawi knows an extremist when he sees one.
It deeply worries me that Bremer/Bush is so deeply alienating even Shiite allies. It isn’t as if they had a lot of Sunni ones. And, the US cannot maintain a strong position in Iraq merely on the basis of its relationship to the Kurds.