a slight return from 2004…
Two things: brief piece about the Toyota Hilux, preferred transport to the world guerrilla, and a fatwa against mobile money transfer. You know you’ve made it when you’ve been fatwa’d.
More seriously, this huge Guardian piece on Iranian policy in Iraq is well worth reading. It’s interesting, to say the least, that the people Sadr wanted to see as guarantors of Iranian good faith were Hezbollah – it would seem they’ve got a foreign policy these days. Also, there’s a sort of disguised alliance between the Iranians and the US. The Americans fought hard to stabilise al-Maliki’s government and to build it up as a credible force. It’s hard to imagine they really want rid of him now.
And there’s this:
It is understood that the full withdrawal of all US troops after a security agreement signed between Baghdad and Washington at the end of 2011 was also sought by Sheikh Nasrallah.
“Maliki told them he will never extend, or renew [any bases] or give any facilities to the Americans or British after the end of next year,” a source said….US officials have strongly suggested they would scale back their involvement in Iraq if the Sadrists, who have been a key foe throughout the years of war, were to emerge as a significant player in any government.
But it’s their policy to leave:
On the 2011 December withdrawal date, the official said: “Any follow-up engagement with Iraq in relation to troops would be at the request of the government of Iraq. There are no plans to keep troops after December 2011. We are drawing down and all will be out of Iraq.”
The piece seems to be heavily influenced by sources in Al Baathi Allawi’s entourage. You do wonder if Allawi was only fetched out of the deep freeze in order to press Maliki into making a deal with the Sadrists.