Basra Showed Maliki Weakness, al-Sadr Strength

Nouri al-Maliki is now saying the assault wasn't political
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 4, 2008 1:06 PM CDT
Iraqi children chant as they play around a destroyed Iraqi Army vehicle, in Basra, Iraq.   (AP Photo)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – The Iraqi-led assault on Basra last week exposed the weaknesses of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and the strength of Moqtada al-Sadr, the Washington Post concludes in its post-mortem of the unsuccessful foray. In not engaging parliament, political allies, or the Americans in planning the incursion, Maliki sought to demonstrate decisiveness, but showed ineptness instead.

His failure—having to call in Western forces to avoid a rout and rely on Iran to broker a cease-fire—underscored his political isolation, and the growing influence of al-Sadr, says the Post. It was Sadr’s support that boosted Maliki to power two years ago, but Sadr has  only enhanced his reputation as an nationalist by distancing himself from  government, which is seen as sectarian, ineffective, and corrupt.