Despite the tragic loses on the part of the coalition forces and the innocent Iraqis who were accidentally trapped in between, I think that what's happening in Iraq now (al-Mahdi army revolt) will end up in a good way for Iraq. Why do I say that?
This was bound to happen. It was in the air since the 9th of April 2003. Most of the Shea’at in Iraq (as well as allover the world) generally believes in Al-Mahdi state, but they differ in the way they look at it. One part remained faithful to the old myth that someday the 12th Imam who disappeared mysteriously, will appear and start to lead the Shea’at to victory over all their enemies, starting with the hypocrite mullahs and ending with the Jews, and that all they have to do is sit and wait for his appearance. This part is represented by Sistani and his followers in Iraq. These are the people who refused to revolt against Saddam. The other part represented by the late Sadir and before that by Khomaini, saw that this ideology will put the Shea’at out of the political struggle, which led Khomaini to come up with the theory of (wilayat Al-faqiuh) which means that an honest and highly educated cleric can serve as a deputy for the Mahdi and lead the Shea’at to fight and find their way between the lines and prepare for the appearance of the Mahdi.
The Shea’at in Iraq were divided nearly equally in their loyalty between Al-Sadir and Sistani. After the fall of Saddam the Shea’at on both parts found that democracy will give them their golden opportunity to take the lead in Iraq for the first time since the seventh century. The fanatic Shea’at started a muscle show allover Iraq and found lately that their dreams were very ambitious as it appeared that the democracy that is about to take place in Iraq, was not the dictatorship of the majority they were dreaming about. Instead the democracy that was presented to them and which they couldn’t refuse was a liberal democracy that gave all minorities their right to preserve their religious and ethnic identity. As this was obviously presented by the Kurdish parties and was approved by the GC, many Shea’at went mad. It was as if they were going to lose control over a territory that is theirs by law. They demonstrated, hanging posters showing their leaders and their legendary heroes allover Iraq, showed aggressiveness to those who opposed them, but they avoided violence. They were annoyed to be awakened from their vivid dreams in such a 'vulgar' way. During the course of their demonstrations and objections, and as no one opposed them on the streets, they overestimated their power and forgot who gave them their right place to talk, preach for their political programs in public and take their right place as the majority in Iraq. They forgot that this was only granted to them for the first time by the USA and as a result of her efforts in toppling Saddam and promoting democracy in Iraq.
The 1st part, Sistani’s followers, didn’t go further than demonstrating and objecting, because it’s part of their ideology not to use violence, but they were frustrated. The other part, who were scattered after the death of Sadir the father and whom some of them joined his young, ignorant and Iran’s puppet (Muqtada), couldn’t remain peaceful. Poor Sistani was trapped in a difficult position. He was forced to follow the sentiments of the mob, as this is a chronic problem for the Shea’at clerics. They derive their influence and finance from the mob, unlike the Sunni clerics who were always the traditional allies of the ruling regimes throughout the history of Iraq. Sistani couldn’t oppose America directly and he doesn’t like to support his opponent, but at the same time he couldn’t condemn him, otherwise he would have lost his position. It would be an unforgivable blunder to ally with the 'infidels' against a Shea’at Muslim whoever he was. Thus came his weak and rather late fatwa.
So what’s good about this riot? As I said this is a very old dream that is strongly rooted to the conscience of the majority of the Shea’at. And with the freedom of speech and with the defeat of the Arab Sunni and with the support and motivation from Iran, this was bound to happen. It could’ve been worse if a leader with more brains and popularity than this clown carried it.
This riot should be and will be crushed sooner or later, because of the ignorance of the leadership and the lack of support of the majority of Iraqis including Shea’at which made those fanatics resort to terrorizing the people to show that they have the support of the Iraqis like their demand for a general strike which was associated with clear threats.
Another good outcome of this riot is that it showed that the influence of clerics including Sistani, is much smaller than they and their followers were claiming. I’ve heard it from most of the Shea’at that the whole Iraq supports Sistani and that the Americans don’t dare to defy him! They really believed their illusions. Now it appears that the fatwa of Sistani didn’t have any significant effect on the Americans’ determination to end this riot, nor it convinced the fanatic Shea’at to stay calm. Even the GC paid no attention to him and showed readiness to use force if it is needed.
When this riot will be crushed, and it will be, Sistani and all the clerics will no longer seem as strong as they seemed before, and once they see the 'wholly' name Al-Sadir in handcuffs, they will think a million times before committing a similar stupidity in the future. Even some members of the GC with its religious, tribal and ethnic composition, proved to be short of meeting the challenge. This should clear the political field from these traditional representatives of the Iraqis and surly Iraqis in the future will be forced to search for alternatives once they realize how hypocrite, feeble and lacking their current leaderships are.
This will certainly not happen tomorrow, nor will it happen soon after crushing this riot, but certainly the results will make Iraqis aware of the fact that their leaders are actually not as smart and strong as they look, and that their religious, tribal and ethnic groups will not provide them with their needs. Once that happen they will start to reconsider their goals and their loyalty and the voice of reason, logic will certainly be more heard once the horns of ignorance get silenced or ignored by the majority.