John Furie Zacharias
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Thunderstorms Anywhere

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Monday, April 12, 2004
Cooler heads prevail for how long?

Coffee is our friend

Last week, I went on a [mini-rant] about all the news buzz that the U.S. was going to go kick some more terrorist butt by going after the Shi'ite cleric al-Sadr.  I was a little angry at our leaders, or maybe just at the way the media trivializes it all.  I was worried about Iraq exploding into a worse situation than it already is and consequently that would mean more of our military men and women die.

Well, hopefully, the situation has calmed down a little with the current cease-fire in place.  I'm not even going to bitch that it's been a year since Dubya pranced around the deck of one of our aircraft carriers like a rooster in a flight suit and declared that combat had ceased in Iraq.  It seems 
Iraq's grand ayatollah al-Sistani spoke up, or more accurately, did not endorse the recent actions by Shi'ite cleric al-Sadr.  If none of what I'm saying is making any sense to you, I have just found something for you to read.

And just for my Neo-Conservative friends, I'm proud to say that the
source publication that reinforces my concern is from the Strategic Studies Institute, not some left-wing Hillary-idolizing liberal web site.  

Not a substitute for actually reading the monograph, here are some key points brought up just this past February by Dr. W. Andrew Terrill, in "The United States and Iraq's Shi'ite Clergy: Partners or Adversaries?":

The U.S. military presence in Iraq is currently in a transitional phase. Either the anti-U.S. insurgency will be brought under control and security will be provided to those forces involved in nationbuilding; or the insurgency will expand, and U.S. goals in Iraq will be undermined by increasing civil unrest.  It is imperative that the former objective be accomplished while the later fate be avoided.  To ensure this outcome, U.S. policymakers must understand the internal dynamics of Iraq, including the role of Iraq’s Shi’ite clerics.

Whether it was even mentioned on our news or not, al-Sistani may have recently saved many lives, both Iraqi and American.  Here are some quotable quotes to understand the impact and power this Najaf cleric has:

"Every day, we receive dozens of requests from Iraqis asking us to issue a fatwa against the Americans, and we say no. But this “no” will not last forever." -Spokesman for Grand Ayatollah Sistani

"If Sistani calls for a holy war, it will happen." -Ayatollah ‘Ali al Wahid

The full SSI monograph is available in PDF format.  I encourage you to read it.  For those of you with a short attention span, just read the Conclusions and Policy Recommendations.  They are on page 33 in the PDF.

[> permalink <]

Posted at 09:16 am by John Furie Zacharias

April 12, 2004   08:07 PM PDT
So you're not gonna bitch that it's been a year since Dubya pranced around the deck of one of our aircraft carriers like a rooster in a flight suit and declared that combat had ceased in Iraq? Well for one thing, he didn't say combat had ceased in Iraq...he said MAJOR combat had ceased in Iraq! And if you think he wasn't cognizant of potential uprisings of a few crazy militants you are mistaken. The other thing so many people seem to be not taking into consideration is that we can't just walk away with Iraq still so unstable. Yes, more coalition troops are going to lose their lives, this is sad but as you well know it is a fact of war. If we were to leave now simply because some of these clerics don't like us, it would be a grave error on our part and we would basically be leaving the Iraqi people at large in the hands of yet another cruel dicatator. In other words, we all need to buckle down, bite the bullet, stop whining and be prepared for the long haul because this president is doing what is right...not what is in his best political interest like the jackasses (read democrats) would do and also not so much for us in this case but for the Iraqi people who by the way, in large part appreciate what we've done and are very supportive of our presence there. Polls have been taken in Iraq and this has been found to be a fact. So, there are dozens of requests for a fatwa against us eh? I'd wager that for every dozen of those there are hundreds if not thousands more that feel the complete opposite. Plus, if a 'holy war' is called for, it will be messy but if they think we'll back down they are sorely mistaken. Granted it will be a high price to pay (on both sides) but we will see it thru to the end either way. "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." Matthew 5:9 And to be a peacemaker means you have to fight, not deliberate in a council of idiots (read the U.N.). Peace is not obtained with words alone, if this were the case Hitler would have never exterminated over 70% of the European Jewish population plus hundreds of thousands more before and during WW2. Just my thoughts and opinions which you and anyone else are welcome to (and prolly will) disagree with.
April 20, 2004   08:11 AM PDT
This is one of *the best* comments you've written, Duke. Thanks! Keep them coming!

I don't care if I (or anyone else) may disagree with part of what your saying, I honestly appreciate your point of view. Don't be timid in sharing it.

That being said, I'm a little surprised this entry wrinkled your nose. My main idea was to point out the War College's publication and give people a reason to read it.

Did you read any of it? If you read the 'conclusions and policy recommendations' at the end (at minimum) you'll understand some of the strategic decisions the U.S. is likely to make in Iraq regardless of who is sitting in the oval office. It is a non-political document.

It is also written so average, brain-dead bricklayer types like me can understand the dynamics of the Iraq situation more fully when one news agency or another reports on events there. It has a handy-fucking-dandy glossary of arabic terms, even.

No matter what your personal politix are, it is a must-read.
April 20, 2004   08:55 AM PDT
Us versus Them, huh? *They* are the citizens of Iraq. If they ultimately choose to live under an Islamic theocracy like their neighbor, or as a U.S. colony, it's up to them. Either way, we're going to buy and consume their oil no matter who is in charge (here or there).

If oil was under the soil of Rwanda, we would have chosen a team to back in that country, Hutu or Tutsi, and wouldn't have allowed a multitude to be slaughtered in that RECENT genocide. All these lofty terms about saving the Iraqi people really irks me sometimes.

But, hopefully, god is not a republican and considers the Ayatollah al-Sistani to *also be a peacemaker*

Mathew (in ch. 5) also says:

"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous."

April 20, 2004   12:50 PM PDT
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think Sistani was Iraq's Grand Ayatollah... I believe he was the recently appointed leader of the rebel wacko terrorist group the Hamas, who are supported and backed heavily by fellow wacko terrorist Anwar Sadat.

I'm sorry I didn't read this post before today. Sistani was assasinated on Saturday in an identical attack as the last assasinated Hamas leader a month ago.

An Israeli helicopter fired a missle into his vehicle which killed him, a bodyguard and a bystander. The Hamas has now decided to name its next leader but to not make it public knowedge ~smile

The Hamas, of course, has also vowed revenge upon the infidels and that Sistani's "blood will not be wasted."

This assasination comes less than one week after Dubyah met with Ariel Sharon (Israel's Prime Minister) and agreed to offer US backing of Sharon in the unilateral withdrawl of troops and settlers from the Gaza Strip and some parts of the West Bank.

If Sistani indeed had stated that perhaps America could soon become a target I find it extremely possible that the US may have funded, backed or even partially executed this mission.

Just my cent and a half...
April 20, 2004   03:20 PM PDT
Sheikh Ahmed Yassin was the wheel-chair bound Hamas leader killed. The Sistani I'm referring to is the one in the link in the entry. He is the 73-year-old Shi'ite cleric from Najaf, and referred to as a Grand Ayatollah of Iraq. Grand Ayatollah is an islamic title.

But anyway, it's good to see Bush and Sharon moving ahead with anything in Israel.
April 20, 2004   05:17 PM PDT
My bad:

Per Reuters...
"two days after Hamas chief Abdel Aziz Rantisi was assasinated"

<small voice> guess i should follow the links....
April 21, 2004   12:01 AM PDT
JFZ, your quote of Mathew 5 is quite right. My basic point was simply that when war is brought to your doorstep (remember 9-11?) the only way to "make" peace is to fight back. As per God's instructions through Christ, I DO love my friends AND my enemies, I just don't like them (my enemies) much. And no, God is not a republican (nor am I for that matter, conservative is what I am and republican just usually goes along with that)...however, the Ayatollah al-Sistani does not believe in God, he believes in Allah, a false God whose prophet Mohammed taught the Muslims to "Slay the unbelievers wherever you find them" (Qur'an, Sura 9:5) which means...are ya ready? To KILL all people who are not Muslim! (while it does add that if you repent you shall be treated as one of them, but otherwise you are to be slain! no love your enemies there). And yet the Liberals and many others continually parade around trying to convince everyone that Islam is a religion of peace (yea, if you're a member) and that if we (USA) had better foreign policy, 9-11 would have never happened. I think not, Osama and all the militant Muslims (notice I didn't say all the Muslims) hate us and all the "Western" nations not because of our global, economical and cultural freedoms/successes but because we are not a Muslim nation(s).

And yea, oil did have something to do with the war...and yes, we used to back Saddam but that was thanks to Jimmy Carter who helped oust the Ayatollah in Iran who was our friend and ally at the time and was then replaced by a militant who hated us (Khomeine?) just before he left office thus leaving Ronald Reagan very little choice but to back Saddam in the Iran/Iraq war. Yet another legacy left by a liberal/democrat that got blamed on the conservatives/republicans.

And yes, there are a great many other tragedies and slaughters going on elsewhere in the world but unfortunately we have to pick our battles and we usually pick those that involve our national interests.
ie: the war on terror which includes Iraq and soon possibly Iran, Syria, North Korea...etc...this isn't over by a long shot (unless they all wise up like Libya did).

Also, you should know after so many years of knowing me that I'm not afraid to express my opinions nor do I care what anyone thinks.

One last thing, if I thought there was a chance of a Libertarian or Constitution party member getting elected, I'd vote for them (a vote for them now is basically a vote for the Dems)...but instead of throwing my vote away I choose the lesser of to evils and vote for the Republican (usually a Conservative) canditate 'cuz they still love this country and somewhat try to hold on to what our founding fathers laid out in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independance.

Sorry that was so long but I haven't checked in for a few days and had some catching up to do here.
J f Z
August 28, 2004   02:30 AM PDT
The SSI has remodelled their web site. The monograph by Dr. Terrill is now located at this URL:

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