Beware! The Shi’a are coming!

British troops have been rendered ineffective in southern Iraq while Shi’a militant armies battle each other for control of the oil-rich region.

Violence dramtically escalated in the streets of Basra amidst anti-British sentiment following the dramatic rescue of the two British Special Air Service (SAS) agents from Shi?a custody in mid-September (see previous post – Fallout from Basra). The Britons benign reputation since the beginning of the war in 2003 was immediately put in doubt. ?We believe these soldiers were planning an attack on a market or other civilian targets,? Sheik Hassan al-Zarqani, spokesman for the Mehdi Army told Al-Jazeera.

A senior official from Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi army stated al-Sadr’s intention to use the captured agents as barter for Sheikh Ahmed Majid Farttusi and Sayyid Sajjad, two of al-Sadr?s men that were recently detained by the British in Basra. Al-Sadr, the radical Shi?ite cleric and commander of the 10,000 troop Mahdi Army that battled coalition forces in Najaf last year, has restated his authorization for capture of two Britons according to the Sunday Times. The Mahdi army official says two British private contractors working in Baghdad have already been pinpointed.

The Shi’ites have been widely regarded as helpless people with an intense inferiority complex despite the fact that they account for the majority of Iraqi citizens, Mahan Abedin, editor of Terrorism Monitor writes in the Monday Asia Times. A ?senior? Iraqi Shi’ite political figure warned on the Baztab news site that the suddenly hostile appearance of the British troops could bring Iraqi Shi’ites to the tipping point in the ?200-year? rage against British imperialism.

Al-Sadr’s Mehdi Army is battling the 12,000-strong Badr Brigade for control of the region. The more secular Badr militia is the armed wing of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), Iraq’s main Shi’ite political party.

Along with Iranian insurgents, members of these armies have infiltrated the British-trained Iraqi police force and security forces so as to isolate themselves from the U.S. led coalition as well as the Iraqi government in Baghdad. A “senior source in Basra” suggested to the Sunday London Telegraph that there are probably more Iranian spies than British troops in the city.

Iraq?s National Security Adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie told the BBC, ?Iraqi security forces in general, and the police in particular, in many parts of Iraq, I have to admit, have been penetrated by some of the insurgents, some of the terrorists as well.?
University professors in Basra have told journalists off the record that ?secession of the Shi’ite south is not a far-fetched scenario,? reports the October 2 Washington Times.

Forgotten but not gone are the Kurds, who currently have a prominent presence in the Iraqi “government,” though they are not likely to maintain it. “There is no Iraq,” states one editorial on the Kurdistan Regional Government’s website. While U.S. troops continue fighting Sunni fundamentalists on the Syrian border, war is spiraling out of control in the southern region, with 70 percent of Iraq’s oil reserves up for grabs.

Sarah Meyer has put together a detailed, graphic timeline of recent events in Basra (link).

Bush on Bridging the Gap

From amidst the contradictory, robotic remarks the President made this morning (transcript). I cringe every time he alludes to an individuals well-being hinging on their private assets. What if we’re all not born with a padded savings account?

BUSH: You can’t divorce bridging divides from economic vitality. You just can’t. It’s a part of how we enable people to realize dreams: by having a growing economy.

Secondly, I don’t think you can divorce bridging divides from ownership. In other words, I think it’s essential that people own something if they’re going to have a stake in the future of the country…. I think there’s something so powerfully healing about a society in which more and more people have ownership.

BUSH: But I was disappointed, frankly, in the vote I got in the African-American community. I was.

I’ve done my best to elevate people to positions of authority and responsibility — not just positions, but positions where they can actually make a difference in the lives of people.

I put people in my Cabinet. I put people in my sub-Cabinet. I’ve elevated people from all walks of life, because I believe there’s a responsibility for the president to reach out. And so it’s not a matter of tone, it’s also a matter of action.

And just got to keep working at it.

—-

but clearly not the concern/responsibility of the POTUS?!?

Harriet Miers: Putty for Bush Corp’s Breached Levee

Harriet MiersRemember when Dick Cheney was named candidate Bush’s counsel charged with the responsibility of finding a suitable Vice Presidential running mate?

This morning President Bush named Harriet Miers, White House counsel, considered one of the most powerful unknowns in the Bush Administration, has been named to succeed Sandra Day O’Connor as Supreme Court Justice. Miers has been a Bush confidant dating back to Texas and played a key role in the president’s vetting process to select Chief Justice John Roberts.

Conservatives and Democrats are stymied by this decision, one that will most likely lead to a lengthy vetting process in the Senate Judiciary Committee. In his announcement, Bush noted that he had discussed the nomination with 80 members of Senate. It is likely she will be confirmed in time. Miers was previously Bush’s personal lawyer and filled the shoes of Alberto Gonzales when he was named Attorney General earlier this year. She was president of the Texas Bar Association and the managing partner of a 400 partner firm.

Miers has never been a judge (Bush pointed out that neither had Rehnquist) and is described by many as shy and somewhat indecisive.

The Miers nomination will swing attention away from the multiple scandals that the Bush corporation, er, um administration is embroiled in, not to mention, the unravelling security situation in Iraq.

Over the weekend, speculation grew on talk shows and in the Washington Post that Bush and/or Cheney may be implicated in the Valerie Plame leak case by Pat Fitzgerald.

Early feedback from the blogosphere and wires:
Washington Post has a rolling blog with official feedback on the nomination and links to video of the announcement.
RedState.org – “was joking when suggested Miers would be good”
Bill Frist “expresses support” (and he can use some in return…)
Power Line: “a dissappointment”
Stone Court Blog: A Lexis search shows that she played a big part in covering up Bush’s National Guard service.
Wonkette: scroll down for the full resume. Texas Lottery Commission?
Right Wing News: “Disaster, Thy Name is Harriet Miers.”

DeLay, Frist, Plame, Myers, Katrina, Iraq: is this the Denouement of the Republican Party?

The October 10 issue of The Weekly Standard is titled “Scandal Season.” It promises to be a remorseful introspection of the current state of the republican administration its bottomless pit of scandals.

William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard – a pointedly Conservative rag – is quoted in The Australian: “Even though DeLay has nothing to do with Frist and Frist has nothing to do with Abramoff, how does it look? Not good.”

Weekly Standard staff editor Matthew Continetti notes with pride that the Republican’s have once again bested the Dems, although as a young conservative, he admits: “looking at your party’s troubles, you see perverse confirmation of conservatism’s animating idea: that as the sphere of public decision-making expands, so do the opportunities for graft and wrongdoing.” Daily Kos has great insight on this.
Patrick J. Buchanan, in the National Conservative Weekly, evoked the words of Claudius in getting a handle on the disintegration within the Republican Party: “When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions.”

Frank Rich contends that conservative chronies have been flipping on their party for months now and many are tired of sleazy scandals. He points to conservative columnist Andrew Ferguson of The Weekly Standard, who announced the beginning of the end of the Republican Party as we know it in an article he wrote on Jack Abramoff nearly a year ago.

there is MUCH MORE to this story… click to read on.
Down with Tommy D