TITLE

Golden Calf

AUTHOR(S)
Fattah, Hassan
PUB. DATE
November 2003
SOURCE
New Republic;11/17/2003, Vol. 229 Issue 20, p16
SOURCE TYPE
Periodical
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
The author argues that Moktada Al Sadr, the fiery young Shia cleric who constantly condemns the U.S. occupation in Iraq, is mainly motivated by a desire for economic gain, and could be bought off by U.S. occupying forces. Despite his rise to prominence in the wake of Saddam Hussein's fall, Sadr has remained a mystery to the American authorities in Iraq and many Western commentators. The 30-year-old son of a beloved Shia leader slain by Saddam in 1999 for opposing the dictator, Sadr has seemed to many in the United States the embodiment of the angry, religion-fueled, uncompromising cleric, a local version of the Ayatollah Khomeini. In fact, Sadr is building a moneymaking empire throughout Shia Iraq. Trading on his martyred father's credentials, Sadr has raised the flags of Islam and Iraqi nationalism in a bid to boost his personal power. He has demanded that the United States leave Iraq, lambasted the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council as illegitimate, and even considered appointing his own shadow government to rule the country. Sadr's actions have played well with Iraq's most disaffected people--poor young men, former soldiers, and even Baathists upset with moderate Shia leaders' willingness to tolerate the Americans. Sadr also stirs up trouble because he wants to amass great wealth. Since the looting, Sadr has expanded his moneymaking activities. Most important, Sadr has used his army to fight for control of Shiism's most important mosques. Sadr even wants to control central government funds.
ACCESSION #
11338001

 

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