Juan Cole is spot-on, as usual
The Guardian reports that US civil administrator Paul Bremer signed an order Monday banning Muqtada al-Sadr and his lieutenants from running for elective office for 3 years because of their membership in an illegal militia. Muqtada and his lieutenants rejected this decree and said that the CPA and the caretaker government had no right to make such decisions.
Bremer’s action in excluding the Sadrists from parliament is one final piece of stupidity to cap all the other moronic things he has done in Iraq . The whole beauty of parliamentary governance is that it can hope to draw off the energies of groups like the Sadrists. Look at how parliamentary bargaining moderated the Shiite AMAL party in Lebanon, which had a phase as a terrorist group in the 1980s but gradually outgrew it. AMAL is now a pillar of the Lebanese establishment and a big supporter of a separation of religion and state. The only hope for dealing with the Sadrists nonviolently was to entice them into civil politics, as well. Now that they have been excluded from the political process and made outlaws in the near to medium term, we may expect them to act like outlaws and to be spoilers in the new Iraq. (emphasis added)
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