You might remember my post on August 1st which described Ayatollah Sistani threatening the US with “severe consequences” if our government didn’t work toward a ceasefire in Lebanon. Well guess what? Hundreds of thousands have rallied in Baghdad against Israel and America, and they aren’t doing it on behalf of Sistani:
BAGHDAD, Iraq – Hundreds of thousands of Shiites chanting “Death to
Israel” and “Death to America” marched through the streets of Baghdad’s biggest Shiite district Friday in a show of support for Hezbollah militants battling Israeli troops in Lebanon. […]
The demonstration was the biggest in the Middle East in support of Hezbollah since the Israeli army launched an offensive July 12 after a guerrilla raid on northern Israel. The protest was organized by radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, whose political movement built around the Mahdi Army militia has been modeled after Hezbollah.
Not good news. Muqtada al-Sadr is far more militant and extreme than Sistani. If Sistani is Iraq’s James Dobson, think of al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army as the Aryan Nation equivalent in Iraq, except far more numerous and armed to the teeth. This is seriously bad, folks.
“Mahdi Army and Hezbollah are one. Let them confront us if they dare,” the predominantly male crowd shouted, waving the flags of Hezbollah, Lebanon and Iraq. […]
“I am wearing the shroud and I am ready to meet martyrdom,” said Mohammed Khalaf, 35, owner of a clothes shop in the southern city of Amarah.
Al-Sadr followers painted U.S. and Israeli flags on the main road leading to the rally site, and demonstrators stepped on them — a gesture of contempt in Iraq. Alongside the painted flags was written: “These are the terrorists.”
Protesters set fire to American and Israeli flags, as well as effigies of
President Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, showing the men with Dracula teeth. “Saddam and Bush, Two Faces of One Coin” was scrawled on Bush’s effigy.
Iraqi government television said the Defense Ministry had approved the demonstration, a sign of public anger over Israel’s offensive and of al-Sadr’s stature as a major player in Iraqi politics.
Love that bit about the Defense Ministry approving the march. They probably had no choice in the matter, but it should make clear to even the most dead deadender in the Bush Administration that we have lost Iraq’s people, and thus have lost Iraq. When our own puppets have turned against us what can we possibly do to turn the situation around in our favor?
That’s a rhetorical question by the way.