This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com
- Iraq government faces climatic Awakening era political crisis
- Muqtada al-Sadr and Iraq’s Awakening era
Iraq government faces climatic Awakening era political crisis
A demonstrator holds a picture of Moqtada al-Sadr during a demonstration in Baghdad (Reuters)
Iraq’s government in Baghdad is facing a major political crisis after thousands of supporters on Saturday of Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr stormed the highly-secure “Green Zone” of Baghdad, and then moved on to the Parliament House. The air was festive, according to reports, as protesters took selfies while sitting in the chairs of the most hated politicians.
Under al-Sadr’s orders, the protesters retreated from the Parliament House and the Green Zone on Sunday, but did so with a threat that new protests are planned for Friday. Since the “Arab Spring” began in 2011, the largest demonstrations have occurred as people poured out of mosques in the early afternoon after Friday prayers.
The Iraq government is under enormous pressure at the present time. Iraq is fighting the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh). There are currently two fronts, in Mosul and Ramadi, and it is thought that ISIS could easily penetrate Baghdad and other cities.
Iraq is also facing the prospect of bankruptcy. The government is expected to pay out nearly $4 billion to 7 million people on the public payroll, including salaries and pensions to the military and to the workers in the bloated public-sector. But after the plunge in oil prices, from which Iraq gets more than 90% of its revenue, it is bringing only about half that amount, $2 billion.
Al-Sadr is accusing the government of prime minister Haider al-Abadi of massive corruption, and is demanding that the al-Abadi fire all his ministers and replace them with a technocrat government.
The political system that was put in place after the 2003 Iraq war set up a quota system, with required numbers of Shias, Sunnis and Kurds. The result was that government positions were granted based on patronage, leading to widespread corruption and poor public services. Al-Abadi has tried to end the quota system, but has met with overwhelming political resistance.
Al-Sadr is trying to force the issue by ordering his followers to carry out massive protests, and is threatening to bring down the entire government if changes are not made quickly.
If that happens, it would signal a major change in Iraq’s government, and would be a generational Awakening era crisis, an event that settles the generational political conflict by establishing a victory of the younger generation. The climax of America’s 1960s Awakening era was the 1974 resignation of Richard Nixon, which also signaled the victory of the generation of kids who grew up after World War II over the WW II survivor generations. Washington Post and Fox News and Washington Post (5-March)
Muqtada al-Sadr and Iraq’s Awakening era
Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr spent many years in hiding from Saddam Hussein, but after the Iraq war ended, he portrayed himself as an Iraqi nationalist, transcending the divide between Sunnis and Shia. His actions have largely been consistent with that role.
I’ve written about al-Sadr several times in the past, mostly during the Bush administration. In 2004, in “Al-Sadr’s Shi’ite militia turn in weapons”, al-Sadr was ordering his militias not to stage an anti-American Shia uprising. The context, throughout the Bush years following the Iraq war, was that the mainstream media, led by the NY Times and NBC News, were constantly predicting and promoting a disaster for the American army in Iraq. In 2004, the mainstream media were predicting a huge anti-American Shia uprising, but al-Sadr fooled them.
At one point in 2004, I wrote the following:
Meanwhile, it’s fun to watch how the mindless Boston Globe reporters cover all this. Tuesday’s lead multi-column page one headline was “Shi’ites’ uprising grows.” That was wishful thinking, and by Wednesday the page one Iraq headline was, “Qaeda arrests called ‘lucky’ break.” Today’s headline is “Young marines frustrated by lack of progress.” Each day’s headline seems so moronic that it could never be topped, but the next day’s is even more moronic. I don’t know how they manage to do it.
Throughout those years, the mainstream media were predicting an imminent civil war in Iraq, making one dumb prediction after another, and always proven wrong.
In 2007, the mainstream media made complete fools out of themselves over Bush’s “surge” announcement, predicting that it would be a complete disaster, and becoming completely humiliated when it worked.
In April, 2007, I wrote “Iraq’s Moqtada al-Sadr says attack Americans, not each other”. The word “attack” was an exaggeration by the mainstream media, but as a Reuters stories pointed out, al-Sadr was calling for peaceful demonstrations, not violence.
That is essentially what al-Sadr is calling for today, but this time the demonstrations are targeting the al-Abadi government in Baghdad.
Iraq’s last generational crisis war was the Iran/Iraq war that climaxed in 1988, giving rise to the current generational Awakening era, and the generational conflict between the generations of survivors of that war versus the generations that have grown up after that war. It is that generational conflict that gives rise to the political chaos occurring today.
Iraq’s previous generational crisis war was the 1920 Great Iraqi Revolution. That gave rise to political chaos in the 1930s that looked very similar to the kind of chaos that’s occurring today.
I wrote about this history in detail in my April 2007 article, “Iraqi Sunnis are turning against al-Qaeda in Iraq”, which is well worth reading by those interested in what’s going on in Iraq today. Al-Jazeera(9-March)
KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Iraq, Baghdad, Muqtada al-Sadr, Haider al-Abadi, Richard Nixon, Iran/Iraq war, Great Iraqi Revolution 1920
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