Our Man In Iraq

Malikispencerplattgetty

By Patrick

From the NYT:

The continuing fighting on Sunday left the ultimate significance of the statement uncertain, said Qassim Daoud, a former national security adviser who leads a secular Shiite party that has supported Mr. Maliki in the past. But the muddle that has emerged from what was supposed to be a decisive assault has serious consequences for the prime minister, Mr. Daoud said.

“The government now is in a weak position,” he said. “They claimed that they are going to disarm the militias and they didn’t succeed.”

Asked if the erosion of support for Mr. Maliki could cause his government to fall, Mr. Daoud paused and said, “Everything is possible.”

From the WaPo:

A fighter from Sadr's Mahdi Army in Baghdad, speaking to The Washington Post, sees things similarly: "The fighting has proved they have learned a lesson. The government is dead from our point of view."

The general consensus this morning is that the Iran brokered truce has damaged Maliki's position. It's hard to see how this is going to impact Iraq's political power struggles, but the situation highlights the shift in America's relationship with Sadr. Bernhard Zand reports:

The Americans' portrayal of Sadr has also changed. The Evil One of the last civil war, a man wanted by authorities and dubbed the "most dangerous man in Iraq" by Newsweek, has been repackaged as a leader to whom General Petraeus now attests a sense of responsibility. US military officials speaking on Iraqi television refer to him respectfully as "His Excellency Muqtada."

They know that they owe their successes partly to his withdrawal, and still do today. "Sadr is not the enemy," Ambassador Ryan Crocker said last week in Baghdad. The Americans, he added, are battling "special groups" and "extremist military elements" that Sadr apparently "doesn't have under control." But this is not the view of Sadr's Iraqi rivals, who now seek to deprive him of his power.

(Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Kamal al-Maliki speaks with aides before addressing the 62nd United Nations General Assembly September 26, 2007 at the United Nations headquarters in New York City. By Spencer Platt/Getty.)