Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Analysis: An undramatic departure

No one in postwar Iraq has so many and such succinctly worded labels as Muqtada al-Sadr, "Iraq's most dangerous man." Some call him the tribune of the Iraqi mobs, Iran's vicarious agent, or a nefarious Shiite leader with a tendency to have his adversaries murdered. To his admirers Sadr is a great tactician who has managed to reinvent himself as a politician, while detractors see him as nothing but an immature, helpless militia leader whose troops are abandoning him.

None of these assessments is truly backed up by facts, nor have any of the premature swan songs been confirmed. On Monday, Sadr announced the withdrawal of his six ministers from the Iraqi government. What does Sadr's latest maneuver tell us about the motives of one of the most important political figures in postwar Iraq, and how will it affect the bleak situation in Baghdad?

Read the rest at Der Spiegel