Friday, May 2, 2008

A new approach ?

From Missing Links

"We have it on the excellent authority of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq itself (ISCI, formerly SCIRI, aka just the "Supreme Council") that its leader Abdulaziz al-Hakim took a phone call from President Bush yesterday afternoon, after receiving a visit from ambassador Crocker and special ambassador Satterfield. And following the meeting and the phone call he convened a meeting of United Iraqi Alliance (the Shiite bloc that once included Sadrists and Fadhila, but now includes only the Supreme Council and the Dawa Party), which he also heads. (As RoadstoIraq, which first called attention to these events, noted: "Bush-Hakim are up to something").

Then this morning the New York Times reports that a delegation of senior Dawa and Supreme Council people was sent yesterday to Tehran for talks. The delegation included Hadi al-Ameri, head of the Badr Organization, the military wing of the Supreme council. (Interestingly, the NYT didn't identify Hadi al-Ameri as head of the Badr Organization, merely calling him a "senior member of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, a Shiite party in Mr Maliki's coalition.")

So: Bush calls Hakim; Hakim convenes the Shiite coalition; and a delegation including the Badr Organization head is sent to Tehran. And the NYT this morning, leaving out the Bush phone-call and the resulting UIA meeting, spins the events like this: "American officials supported the trip, but portrayed it as the brainchild of Mr Maliki."......

It could be that Sadr spokesperson Saleh al-Obeidi has the overall picture right. He said a couple of days ago that Iran appears to be working hand in glove with the Americans for a "division of influence" in Iraq, and he said one proof of that is that Iran has declined to come out in opposition to the proposed US-Iraq long-term security agreement."

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