Moqtada al-Sadr arrived in Damascus yesterday for talks with Syrian president Bashar Assad. Sadr reportedly “Expressed his appreciation for Syria’s support for the interests of the Iraqi people and Syria’s keen interest in preserving Iraq’s unity”.
What, exactly, is this “support” Moqtada is talking about!?
Found it! A day before Moqtada met with Assad, Damascus hosted a meeting between Harith Dhari and Hamas’ politburo chief Khaled Meshaal. The Association’s website reports “Sheik Dhari reassured Hamas’ politburo chief that resistance in Iraq continues to deal hard blows to the occupiers…Mr. Meshaal asked sheik Dhari to convey his regards to the heroic mujahideen in Iraq…the meeting is part of efforts to exchange points of view between the Association of Muslim Scholars and the Islamic Resistance (Hamas) to find the means to further the spirit of resistance in Palestine and Iraq”
For those who don’t know him, Dhari is the leader of the infamous Association of Muslim Scholars; an organization that has long sympathized with al-Qaeda and is believed to be responsible for much of the violence that killed thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians and coalition soldiers.
Moqtada appears to be struggling to reorganize his movement with Iranian advice. The Syria visit came only days after a video was released in which Moqtada addressed his followers. The interesting thing about this video is that this was the first time Moqtada is seen reading notes from a piece of paper instead of just rambling. At one point in his speech he said that “there will be a time for resistance”. In my opinion, this “time” is set by his Iranian advisers who wrote his notes, and the purpose of the visit is to coordinate that with Syria.