Turkey is saying that it wants to preserve Sunni dominance in Mosul. Obviously, there, the Kurds, the Shia, the Iraqi government have their own agendas.— Patrick Cockburn
The most exciting Patrick Cockburn quotes you will be delighted to read
Users of clichés frequently have more sinister intentions beyond laziness and conventional thinking. Relabelling events often entails subtle changes of meaning. War produces many euphemisms, downplaying or giving verbal respectability to savagery and slaughter.
There are sort of Kurdish districts there in Mosul, or there used to be, but the Kurds mostly fled or were driven out. The same is true of the Christians.
You know, if you want to meet a lot of Iraqi leaders, the best places are the hotels in Amman or in London. In general the government here is amazingly unpopular.
A defeat for ISIS in Iraq will be defeat for ISIS in Syria.
Muqtada is radical in the sense that he wants the U.
S. occupation to end and has always said so from the beginning. Secondly, his support among the Shia really runs along class lines; it's mainly the poor who support him. His organization runs an enormous social network.
Muqtada leads the only real mass movement in Iraq.
It's a mass movement of the Shia, who are 60 percent of the population, and of poor Shia - and most Shia are poor. Otherwise the place is full of sort of self-declared leaders, many of whom spend most of their time outside Iraq.
Mosul stands rally at a sort of juncture of sectarian and ethnic differences.
Despite the fact that there's billions of dollars sitting in the Iraqi government reserves, somehow they are incapable of getting it out to the people. There are a very large number of people here who are on the edge of starvation. For those sort of people - a sizable chunk of people - that service makes them regard Muqtada as a sort of god.
I don't think the whole of Iraq would be under al-Sadr, but I think he would be the predominant force on the Shia side. Quite contrary to his sort of maverick, firebrand image, he's shown a propensity to deal with the other side, to look for compromises, to negotiate. You might have a loose federation [in Iraq].
In 2014, everybody kind of knows that the Iraqi army fled when it was attacked by ISIS. But actually, the Kurdish Peshmerga, although they had a better reputation, fled even faster, about a month later, when they were attacked.
Young Shia who have been brought up with nothing, who are pretty anarchic, pretty dangerous. In 2004 when they came close to killing me, and of course they have killed very large numbers of other Iraqis. That's a major source of strength for Muqtada.
There are some things that could hold it together, notably oil revenues.
But at the moment, the much vaunted surge has had a measure of success primarily, to my mind, because Sunni and Shia Iraqis hate and fear each other more these days than they hate and fear the Americans.
But from the moment George Bush decided to overthrow Saddam, the people who were going to benefit here were the Shia, who are 60 percent of the population. So if you were ever going to have an election, then the Shia would take over.
It's always sort of amazing, sitting in Baghdad, to watch visiting dignitaries being received in the Green Zone by politicians who have usually very little support and seldom go outside the Green Zone.
Muqtada belongs to the most famous religious family in Iraq, which is the al-Sadr family. He's really the third in line. [Muqtada's father] drew his power from the first really important al-Sadr, Muhammad Baqir, who was executed by Saddam in 1980, together with his sister. So it's really a family of martyrs, and that's why Muqtada suddenly emerged from nowhere with the fall of Saddam.
One of the problems with the media covering this place is that there are stereotypes of news, one of which is "war rages" and the other is "peace dawns." And there isn't much in between. When I talk to foreign journalists, often they are gritting their teeth because they've been asked for a piece about how shops are reopening and restaurants are reopening and so forth - happy pieces. And it just ain't so.