Peace in the Middle East?

Well, you know me… as always I’m skeptical, though I suppose the announcement that Mouqtada al Sadr is calling a cease fire for his mahdi army for six months may in fact be a good sign.  Still, it’s hard not to be a little wary.

First things first, I am shamelessly going to outsource a bulk of the intellectual labor on this to my good buddy Cernig who is better versed on the intricacies of Iraq’s factions than I (and while you’re over there, wish him a happy birthday!).  Like me, he’s not quite so willing to buy into this being yet another sign that we’re on the right track in Iraq, but instead some severe power playing on al Sadr’s part to consolidate power.  A concept I find far more plausible than the idea that all of a sudden one of Iraq’s most notoriously violent leaders deciding to play nice.

Should this prove to be the case, it would only go to further prove the failure of the Iraqi state and reinforce the “winner take all” philosophy held by many of the factions.  I’m also forced to remember Najaf, and how one of the reasons Sadr came out of that unscathed was based on his promise to put down the gun and play as a politician for awhile, and if memory serves, that wasn’t exactly as successful as some would have hoped.

Even worse, should this all be backhanded political maneuvering, it then holds that the very political landscape of Iraq just got a little more precarious; the leader of the Mahdi army providing a wild card that should not quickly be trusted.

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