My son, currently in Special Forces, served in Gulf War 1. He was in Saudi Arabia 6 days after Iraq invaded Kuwait and served over there until April 1992. Three months before the Bush 2 war in Iraq I asked him how many troops would be needed to retake Iraq. He said 450,000. Gen Shinsecki(sp?) was fired by Bush for saying we needed 350,000. If Bush was going to act at all it needed to be in Spring before the brutal summer heat. He could not wait for fall or next spring as it would be too near his next election. After his year there, Bremer subsequently said we should have had 500,000 to do it properly. We should not have fired the entire Iraq army, rather just the top officers. This left a major power vacuum.
Enter stage left—Muqtada Al-Sadr. From a revered Shia cleric family he filled that vacuum. The article below describes in fascinating detail his rise, shifts, changes, and evolution. As of 2018 he was moving to reduce the religious element in Iraq politics, making friendly moves toward Saudi Arabia (2017) and moving away from Iran. When Kemal Ataturk in Turkey declared a secular government in the 1920s and 30s it became a smart move toward a more successful Turkey. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Kemal-Ataturk
“Sadr has taken the same stance against Turkey and Russia, Asadi says warning them not to intervene in Iraq. Implicitly, in demanding that all foreign forces leave, he has also called for the removal of Iranian fighters. His opposition to Iranian influence puts Sadr in rare agreement with the United States.”
“He’s become an Iraqi nationalist as opposed to an Iraqi Shiite Islamist,” says Robert Ford, a former U.S. ambassador who served in Iraq as deputy chief of mission. “I don’t think it’s American policy to try to dominate Iraq. We simply would like it to be sovereign and independent rather than a vassal state of Iran next door so if Sadr can promote that, it’s in line with American policy objectives.”
Thank you for your detailed reply. I appreciate it in the historical context as I vaguely recall some of this debate.
But let’s not kid ourselves, Sadr like many of those “leaders” there is a thug. He was a tool of Iran, no idea how people wish to cast him today.
What bothers me more now is the gains made were utterly abandoned in Iraq and rendered the country a satellite under the control of Iran.
So yeah, thanks Obama and Valerie Jarret the Iranian red diaper baby.