First, please take a look at this al-Jazeera report:

First, a superficial impression: the contrast between the dignified attitude of Salah al-Obeidi (the Sadrist spokesman) and the petty bickering of the two other participants of this show. Second, listening to this conversation I think that one can only come to one objective conclusion: the only real patriots are the Sadrists.

The Kurds are clearly sold to the Americans. Considering how they were treated by Saddam one can not blame them too much, but I would not say that their stance inspires any respect. Then, we have the nebulous but large constellation of the “concerned local citizens” and “sons of Iraq” who are, literally, on the US payroll. Again, one can understand the rationale for their sell-out, but one can hardly be inspired by it. The al-Maliki clique is, I think, the most repulsive of all. Al-Maliki and his supporters seem to be spending all their time trying to figure out whether they are better off selling themselves to the Iranian or the Americans and their clear preference is to do so with both at the same time. Their recent assault on Basra and entire SOFA issue is now firmly pegging them into the American camp and their relationship with Iran is clearly come to an end.

Then there is the truly bizarre case of the most powerful man in Iraq: al-Sistani. Whatever his motives may be, he cannot ignore that every person who goes and meets him comes out of the meeting claiming that he has his support. I don’t know whether he is trying to stay above the political issues, or whether he always agrees with the last person he speaks to, but the fact is that he has, so far, failed to clearly come out with a firm stance on the SOFA issue. Most reports say that he is very opposed to it, but it is unclear whether he is only opposed to some provisions of the SOFA or opposed to it in principle. Whatever may be the case, al-Sistani has, at least for the time being, chosen to remain in the sidelines of this issue.

There are basically two major forces in Iraq who are clearly and unambiguously opposed to the SOFA: first, the Sadrists supported by all the other influential Shia clerics and, second Iran.

Bottom line: the SOFA issue is, at its core, an US versus Shia issue and a political arm-wrestling match between the two most powerful forces in Iraq. This is also the culminating phase of the “redirection” and, probably, the last non-military phase of the strategic campaign waged by the USraelien Empire against the Shia of the Middle-East. Whoever comes out on top in this struggle with become the uncontested leading political force in Iraq.

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