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Agreement over disarming in Sadr City

19. October 2004

Muqtada once again ambiguous

Without any doubt the recent deal cut between the leader of the Shia resistance movement Muqtada as-Sadr and the occupation forces over a partial disarming of his militia in their Baghdad stronghold Sadr City is a political setback for the resistance. The political signal thus conveyed to the Iraqi people and its resistance movement is one of moderation and compromise with the occupants.

The more than vague agreement stipulates that in exchange of surrendering heavy weapons and dissolving the Mahdi militia, the US armed forces will cease its ongoing bombing campaign on the giant slum area of the capital. Control should be given to the police forces created by the occupants. Meanwhile it remains unclear whether the US forces will continue to patrol within the quarter.

Even the Western media has been reporting that the return of heavy weaponry has been scarce so that the deadline had to be extended several time. Still there is no definitive end in sight. On the contrary, recent media reports suggest that fighters are using the occasion to get rid of their outdated equipment while there is an influx of new arms to Sadr City which the US has troubles to impede.

And more important is the difference between what Muqtada negotiating with the occupation forces and telling to the media on one hand and what he is instructing to his hierarchy on the other. Like after the show down in Najaf in August he seems to change the real content of the agreement on the ground.

So it remains to be seen whether the Mahdi militia will really disarm and dissolve itself and surrender control to the collaboration police. Given the strong determination of especially the poorest lawyers of society to resist the occupation a full capitulation will not be accepted. So it is not only a question of mere hope that the agreement will be re-interpreted in favour of the resistance but it is even likely.

The reason for the ascendancy of Muqtada to the politically strongest segment of the popular resistance is first of all due to the anti-imperialist pressure of the poorest masses who are determined to fight. If he fully turned to the occupation then he would be pushed aside similar to Ayatollah al-Sistani with the difference that the latter remains the highest-ranking cleric to be honoured while as-Sadr is marginal within the Shia cleric hierarchy.

Actually Muqtada continues to playing a double game. On one hand he maintains the card of the resistance, on the other he does not completely slam the door for an agreement with the quisling regime depending on the role he might be offered.

What is really all about are the elections which is the last political asset the occupation forces retain in order to give a base to their puppet regime. Not only Muqtada but also other oscillating forces did not spell out a clear position. They happen to speak of participating in an ominous “political process”. What exactly does this mean? It could be interpreted as to the construction of a political resistance front or also as to the participation at the US sponsored election spectacle. This ambiguity is certainly not accidental.

The anti-imperialist forces must boycott the elections and thus destroy the US´ last political resort. If Muqtada called for such a boycott this would already amount in a half-way defeat for the occupants. In order to avoid that the US will be forced to invent some incentive to keep him in. His recent agreement over Sadr City could be forerunner.

So in the final instance everything boils down to the political alternative the resistance can poise against the elections. According to our modest opinion it can only be the political resistance front as the expression of the popular and armed resistance heading for a democratic constituent assembly convened by the resistance under the indispensable precondition of the complete withdrawal of the occupation troops.

Boycott the US sponsored elections!
Withdrawal of the occupation as the precondition of a constituent assembly!
Victory to the resistance!