NPR: Major Alliance Emerges in Iraq
This is huge.
The alliance includes Iraq's largest Shi'ite parties, a prominent Sunni tribe, and smaller non-Shi'ite groups. It has the blessing of the country's number one Shi'ite leader, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. The alliance could dominate Iraq's national election in January and become Iraq's pre-eminent political force.It must be really, really good news if it made it into NPR. No other media outlet we've found is covering this, which also means it is probably good news. The coalition
includes groups from Iraq's other communities, the Sunni Arabs and the Kurds, and from Iraq's numerous minorities . . . They're calling it the United Iraqi Alliance . . . [according to a key aide of Sistani,] "this particular alliance has really brought in very divergent views -- people on the extremes of the political spectrum -- so to bring these people together was not an easy thing to do." . . . Both of the two largest Shi'ite political parties are in, the Dawa party and the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution of Iraq. These were exiled parties during the Saddam Hussein years based in Iran . . . there are also Sunni groups which were especially courted to broaden the appeal of the alliance beyond the Shi'ite community. Sheik Fawaz Jarbah is probably the most influential Sunni to join. He is the head of the Shamar tribe, one of the largest tribal groups here, representing many Sunnis and some Shia who live in the north of the country around the city of Mosul. The Iraqi insurgency is made up largely of Sunni Arabs and some formal Sunni groups . . . have announced they will boycott the election. But Sheik Jarbah expressed the belief that such a boycott will not be effective: "God willing, we hope that they vote in this election, and honestly, that good security conditions are provided, and if it is possible for most of the people, Sunnis and non-Sunnis to participate, the Iraqi people hope from this election to form a national government that could accomplish achievements for the nation."The article continues that Sadr talked with the alliance, but his name is not on its slate of candidates, though he supports the alliance. Sadr apparently opposes having elections while Americans are in the country. This is a key sign that the US/coalition strategy to sunder the links between foreign fighters and Sunni Ba'athist fighters is working. The foreign fighers have been isolated and scattered -- predominantly in the Triangle of Death area if any remain there -- and the Ba'athist fighters are faced with a choice: continue fighting, and grow weaker by the day, or join the electoral process. Notably, nearly every mainstream US news outlet is reporting on the staged question to Rumsfeld yesterday in Kuwait, and not this story. Figures.