This cartoon was posted in August 2004 and is in our book and Black & White World II.
In the original post we lamented the fact that al-Sadr, already wanted on murder charges, had not been captured or killed during the battle of Najaf, a battle in which America soldiers lost their lives. Instead al-Sadr was being invited to become a politician in the newly forming Iraqi government. Today we are seeing the ugly consequences of letting this theocratic thug evade justice.
Loyalists of radical Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada Sadr have demanded control of a greater share of Iraq's public-service ministries, in what many worry is a trend toward a government more concerned with satisfying demands for political patronage than serving Iraqis. ...
Izzat Shahbandar, an Iraqi lawmaker loyal to former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, said that the proposed Cabinet divisions had "established the basis for an ethnic and sectarian system that will lead Iraq to hell."
Sadr's followers, who control as many as 35 of 275 parliament seats, representing working-class Shiites in eastern Baghdad and the country's south, already hold the ministries of health and transportation. But they are eyeing education, youth, commerce, agriculture and electricity as possible additions to their portfolio.
Iraqi and Western officials have criticized the ministries under Sadr's control during the last year as corrupt and ideological. Doctors, nurses and pharmacists say the health system is poorly run and deteriorating. Sadr's loyalists in the Transportation Ministry have removed alcohol from airport duty-free shops and put portraits of ayatollahs on the billboard in front of the Baghdad train station.
The thirtysomething cleric and his fast-growing movement have become a formidable political force. They agreed to forgo claims on the important ministries of interior, defense, finance, oil and foreign affairs and instead focused on building up power and patronage through public-sector jobs and services.
"We prefer to control only those ministries that serve the Iraqi people to build a strong base," said Fadhil Sharih, one of Sadr's deputies. "We will also be directly involved with the Iraqi society, to listen to their needs and serve them."
The formula is similar to the tack taken by Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Palestinian territories.
Posted by Forkum at May 3, 2006 08:32 PM