December 23, 2011

MAJORITY RULE WAS THE POINT OF THE WAR:

A New Hezbollah in Iraq? (Irena L. Sargsyan, December 23, 2011, National Interest)

Like Hezbollah, the Sadrist Trend is becoming a well-organized, entrenched part of the Iraqi polity. With the Iraqi government unable to provide adequate security and services, al-Sadr has stepped in with action and rhetoric that resonate with the Shia masses. He is following the same playbook that Hezbollah used to gain strength in Lebanon. [...]

Similar factors--centuries-long oppression of Shia, poor socioeconomic conditions and foreign occupation--gave rise to two Islamist movements: Hezbollah in Lebanon in 1982 and the Sadrist Trend in Iraq in 2003. Systematic persecution made the Lebanese and Iraqi Shia susceptible to appeals from radical groups and leaders who promised change and challenged the quiescent Shia politicians. All that was needed was a catalyst. For Lebanon, it was thecivil war (1975-90), which led to the occupation by Israel in 1982. For Iraq, it was the U.S.-led invasion of the country in 2003, which created political and security vacuums resulting in ethnic and sectarian violence. These developments prompted the disenfranchised Shia communities in each country to mobilize to redress their long-standing grievances. [...]

The Sadrist Trend has evolved into an organized, mature force, while Moktada al-Sadr has gained enough political leverage to resolve the crisis that followed the 2010 parliamentary elections. Furthermore, al-Sadr has burnished his religious credibility: Though not yet a senior cleric (ayatollah) authorizedto issue religious edicts (fatwa), he extends to his followers guidance on religious as well as political matters. Al-Sadr's stature and pattern of leadership are reminscient of those of Hezbollah leader Hasan Nasrallah.
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Posted by at December 23, 2011 8:40 AM
  

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