Iraq and Gulf Analysis

Sadr Demands Resistance against the US Embassy in Baghdad

Posted by Reidar Visser on Saturday, 22 October 2011 18:21

What some had warned about during the discussion of a possible post-2011 US military presence in Iraq has now happened. Muqtada al-Sadr feels he won the debate about withdrawal, instructors, and immunities, and has moved down to the next target on the agenda: The US embassy in Baghdad.

In response to a question from one of his followers, Sadr now says that after the expiration of the SOFA, the staff of the embassy should be considered “occupiers” and must be “resisted”.

This may well be the single most significant item in all the news stories about Iraq this weekend. Everyone should have known for months (if not years) that there would be no new SOFA and no immunities for US instructors. Thanks to the failure of the Iraqi politicians to create a pro-extension coalition – and due to the failure of Washington to stimulate the formation of such a coalition – the projected US mega-embassy in Baghdad has become the next vulnerable element in American Iraq policy.

23 Responses to “Sadr Demands Resistance against the US Embassy in Baghdad”

  1. observer said

    Indeed. Lets see how long can Maliki hold Basra and Ammara and how many Fursan is he going to need to protect his own house in the Green Zone. Congrats to the brilliant US diplomats who supported Maliki.

    Maybe Sadr will have his militia take over the US embassy and hold the diplomats hostages – a repeat of 1979/1980. History, after all, does repeat itself.

  2. I am skeptical about Mugtada’s ability to lead other factions in a serious challenge to the size of the US embassy. I think he risks his own isolation if he insists on an extremist position. In any case I think the US can promise downsizing of its staff following the military withdrawal which will placate much of the anti US sentiment.
    I think there is some positive potential in total military withdrawal, it is a better alternative than a Faustian pact between the US and Iran and it could lead to a stronger UN role if the need arises in the future.

  3. Reidar Visser said

    I guess part of the problem has to do with the fact that the projected increase in staff to some extent meant adding US security personnel, especially in the event of a non-extension of the SOFA?

  4. Thaqalain said

    Ground realities:
    1-US, UK Continue occupation , now in the shape of Trainers, Oil Sector PSDs, Parliametarian Private Security, MNC’s security, NGO’s security, Diplomat’s Security. Iraq is now under Phase-II of neo-invasion: Big Powers will Continue holding business and contractual interests in Iraq’s oil assets and growing industries.
    2-Most of Mehdi Militants are now embedded in oil projects, ministries, they don’t have the time to fight combat battle as they fought with US Navy Seals and Marines, but they have the capability to punish Panetta’s incursion into Iraqi affairs.
    3-They know , battle means , chaos, fall of regime means loss of power, so something better then nothing no option except continue allying with installed Al-Maliki. Status Quo.
    4-If US will really leave Iraq, factions/ regions will go into unending war.

  5. Reidar,
    The size of staff is a variable which is hard to pin down. Muqtada called any number as occupiers, his position is untenable. He has to wait until the status of security staff is worked out, meanwhile it is difficult to see serious threat from his edict.

  6. Salah said

    This not the only incident or new “Fatwa” by this man he did and done it many time, this part of on-going his game.

    In Iraq most of the Iraqis not talking this man for his world the only problem comes from his militia which is part of his terrorist act against Iraqis and others, these militia money driven men no more no less just as always with these most criminals.

    Reidar, Is this statement may have some link to tension between US and Iran about Saudi’s Ambassador Assassination plot in Washington?

  7. Santana said

    Hahahaha….I hope there are USG people reading this….I hate to tell you guys “We told you so !! a million times !”…..this is just the beginning- imagine what sorts of threats and developments will pop up once the US Army is completely out ! and the rocket scientists at NSC and the White House are still planning to send all sorts of high tech arms to Iraq so it will be in transit to Tehran before it is even unpacked !!! The Pentagon might as well ship to Bandar Abbas directly.
    I cannot believe Obama is doing all this ! thinking it is gonna help his ratings…dumbest President to date !!. Iraq and the region will pay one helluva price cuz of the U.S elections !

  8. bb said

    The Iraqis may pay a big price for opening the door to Iran via their Sadrist surrogates. Since getting away with the brutal and sustained destruction of the Green revolution, its been hard to see any reason why the Iranian regime would tolerate the pluralist, secular-leaning, arab democracy on its doorstep. Civil war beckoning, Reidar?

  9. Santana said

    I must also add that Iraqiya is also implicated in this decision to withdraw because as Reidar pointed out- they did not try and put together a Pro-Extension coalition….and when I asked several Iraqiya leaders why they are not voicing their opinion on the Withdrawl/Extension they said they resent the fact that Maliki asked them to voice their opinion ONLY on this and they refused because he NEVER asks their opinion on anything else.This one had some ramifications and he wanted to share the risks with them so for this issue alone he put on his democracy cap…. Iraqiya leaders also refused because with Maliki being the Supreme Commander of the Army, MOD, MOI, Intelligence Chief….etc… he is supposed to have all the info needed as far as the readiness of the Iraqi Army to take over. The State dept on the other hand told me a long time ago that they really don”t care what Iraqiya thinks as far as troop withdrawl or extension…they said it’s gotta come from Maliki or COR and that’s it.

  10. Passer By said

    Attacking a US Embassy is not the same thing as attacking US troops. Remeber how infuriated was the US after the Haqqani Network attacked the US embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. Other spectacular attacks by the Haqqanis against US troops and bases were never followed by similar reaction. Attacking an Embassy means a hostility against a nation, not a fight against “occupation troops”.

    Attacks on the Embassy could be followed by US drone strikes from Kuwait against Sadrist targets in Iraq and further deterioration in Saudi-Iraqi and Kuwaiti-Iraqi relations.

  11. JWing said

    Passer By Special Groups try to attack the U.S. embassy every month. That’s why they rocket the Green Zone. It would neither ben an escalation, nor nothing new.

  12. Salah said

    Remeber how infuriated was the US after the Haqqani Network attacked the US embassy in Kabul

    This part of the game these folks looking for , This may be one the reasons these folk looking to be more closer to US interests in their homeland

    Hillary Clinton admits US held meeting with Haqqani network

  13. C. Stephenson said

    This declaration and any action it incites should be considered terrorism. Prime Minister Maliki should make it clear as such and police the situation as such. The consequences should be swift and stern.

  14. Michael said

    Passer By,

    I believe that the US were angry not because there was an attack on their Embassy, but because it came ‘after’ their meeting with the Haqqani Network.

    No politician likes to be made a fool of; especially one who’s party will almost certainly depend upon key Foreign Policy victories during their re-election campaign.

    If you champion your Foreign Policy record, you open the door to jusitifed criticism on failures within that same Foreign Policy programme; failed outreach to the Haqqani Network being only one notable example.

    With regards to regional relationships with Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, the sanctity of the US Embassy in Baghdad (or Consulates elsewhere) is only one small part of that. Even a sizeable attack on those locations would not necessarily lead to drone strikes (or any discernible military escalation) within sovereign Iraq. Maliki’s recent decision regarding the continuation of a US troop presence was not merely a matter of political pragmatism.

  15. Salah said

    once the US Army is completely out

    With all US loses in her adventure war of occupying Iraq it’s hard to believe US will leave Iraq empty handed for sack of Iraqis.

    “We’ll change their names,” said Paul. “I mean, they’ve already admitted there (still) will be 15,000 but, you know, they’ve morphed the private sector with the military. The CIA and contractors, it’s a mixture. There’s going to be 15,000 in the armed camp. The biggest embassy in the world. (Musa) al Sadr who is the champion of national sovereignty for Iraq, says that is still occupation and occupation is the key word for why we should look out.”

    Ron Paul Tells David Gregory That Troops Will Never Leave Iraq, Calls Drone War ‘Illegal’
    by James Crugnale | 1:27 pm, October 23rd, 2011

  16. Passer By said


    No, i don’t mean business as usual like indirect fire, but infiltrating the Green Zone and direct attack on the Embassy by suicide assault team.
    With iraqis taking physical control of the Green Zone, ground attacks against the Embassy are now a possibility.

    So the question is what will be the US reaction in the case of Sadr inspired, media-grabbing ground attack against the Embassy, similar to the one executed by the Haqqani Network in Kabul.

  17. Kermanshahi said

    The reason they were unable to create a pro-occupation coalition in Iraq is that no politician wants to sign his name under a form that basicaly means “I am the greatest traitor ever and hereby willingly sell my nation’s independence, souvereignty and future to a foreign entity” because aside from a few politiciasn who are paid by the Americans, no-one in Iraq supports a prolonged occupation. The people of Iraq do not want the foreign troops to stay, the people of America do not want their troops to stay in a foreign country, it’s only the corrupt American politicians who do not care about their people (like Obama who broke every single election promise he made and infact did the exact opposite of what he said he would do, which is also exact opposite of what the people want) and corrupt Iraqi politicians who get paid by the US to support the occupation. However it seems in the end that Iraq has become democratic enough, for politicians to fear making such a disasterous and unpopulair decision.

    &BB, remember that ” brutal and sustained destruction of the Green revolution” which killed 40 people in 8 months? How much did your boys in Egypt kill in 18 days? 900. Did it save them? What about your man in tunisia, he killed 250 in a month, it didn’t save him either. Khadafi killed 50,000 and he’s dead now. American dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh has killed almost 2 thousand people now, and King Abdullah’s death squads have killed so many innocent people in that tiny island of Bahrain it is the equivilant of over 10,000 Iranians. BTW how much did US forces kill in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Libya and Somalia over the last 10 years? Not 40. Is it 400? 4000? More like 400,000
    But still Bushm Obama and their puppet dictators Abdullah, Saleh, Karzai, Mubarak, Hamad, are the guys Iraqis should want to be alligned with. You know al-Maliki and Barzani killed more protesters this year than IRI. You know that if you switch off Fox News and look at the numbers the least brutal regime of the Middle East is that with the most independence from US. The US only invaded Iraq, destroyed the entire country and caused 1 million civilian deaths, for nothing, but hey, let’s hate on Iran which hasn’t attacked another country for 200 years, instead – some failed actor who is paid by Zionists to scaremonger against Iran, on the tv told me.

  18. Salah said

    Peter Van Buren, have same story about this man who keep threatening US

    Peter also wrote in FP what it means US leaving Iraq (if they do) let read:

    Peter Van Buren, State Department Foreign Service Officer and author of We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People, argued that things do not look well for Iraq, at least in the short term. There has been, in his words, “no resolution to the Arab-Kurd issue, no resolution to the Sunni-Shia issue, no significant growth in the oil industry, a weakened U.S. presence more interested in a Middle East land base and profitable arm sales than internal affairs, and an increasingly influential Iran seeking a proxy battleground against the United States and a nicely weak buffer state on its formerly troublesome western border.”

    The consequences should be swift and stern.?

    Do you mean against Iran?
    You know these guys from Maliki to Muqtada, US put them in power in iraq after 2033, US were well knew they are Iranian breeding folks

  19. Santana said

    Actually Kermanshahi it’s the other way around- the Iraqis demanding the departure of the US troops at a time when their presence (even if they stay in their camps) is needed more than ever to help make sure Iraq gets back on it’s feet are the traitors. The Cabinet is not even complete yet for God’s sake !

    I agree that Fox news is not the best Channel to watch but neither is the Iranian TV that you obviously watch.
    I dare you to name one Iraqi politician that is paid by the U.S…Sunni, Shiite or Kurd !…Man…you are so far off on everything that it is entertaining to read your comments….kinda like watching Qaddafi’s old sessions at the UNGA. Anyway- I have no idea where or how you get your ideas but you are living proof to me that there is life on Mars….just not sure how you got there.

  20. Ali W said

    I almost see this as a childish threat. It was said to keep their followers focused on their agenda.

    No political party would ever support such a thing. I think everyone is scaremongering here.

  21. Salah said

    Wonder what the Syed will tell us about this new candidates who run for US presidency if she win then Iraq should compensate US for all her loses and cost of “liberating” invading Iraq.What will be his Fatwa?

  22. Kermanshahi said

    So Santana, Iraqis which don’t want their country to be occupied by foreign forces, which just destroyed their entire country in a massive, failed, greedy power grab, are traitors? You know who a traitor is? Someone which collaborates with foreign occupation forces, someone who wants a bunch of foreigners roaming around their country, getting drunk and crashing vehicles into people, property, raping Iraqi women for fun, shooting kids, looting and kidnapping innocent people to torture them with legal immunity. Oh but they are “needed” to put Iraq “back on it’s feet” – 8 years of occupation already, did they move Iraq forwards or backwards? Who knocked Iraq off it’s feet in the first? But no, occupation is great, look how it worked out the last 8 years, look how well it’s working in Afghanistan, or Vietnam, Lebanon, Somalia, Haiti, yes, you sure want the US invading your country.

    Now which politicians are they paying, for one everyone that says they should stay. And let me tell you something, anyone which collects their pay-checks from Saudi Arabia or any of the GCC is merely being paid by US through their chronies.

  23. Thaqalain said

    I support Kermanshahi 101% for his courageous views. We will hammer last nail in the falling US Regime. They need to control Wall Street and White House Uprisings, we know how to manage our affairs.

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