Pepe Escobar: Iran is sufficiently powerful to broker a ceasefire deal


Story Transcript

VOICE OF ZAA NKWETA, PRESENTER: After a week of heavy clashes, fighting in Basra has calmed down, Muqtada al-Sadr has pulled his Mahdi Army fighters off the streets, and Nouri al-Maliki declared the military operation to clear Basra of Shiite militia violence a success. But who won the battle of Basra? To answer this question, we go to Real News analyst Pepe Escobar.

PEPE ESCOBAR, THE REAL NEWS ANALYST: George W. Bush said that the battle of Basra was a defining moment in Iraq. Well, defining it was, but maybe not the way he intended. There was a ceasefire. Do you know the man who brokered a ceasefire? His name is Brigadier General Qassem Suleimani. He is the head of the Quds Force of the Iranian Republican Guard Corps. As everybody knows, the Iranian Government Guard Corps was declared as a terrorist organization by the US last year. So this man in Qom, religious capital of Iran, brokered a ceasefire between Muqtada al-Sadr’s envoys who came from Iraq and Hadi al-Amri, which is the number two of the Supreme Islamic Council of Iraq. He is the head of the Badr Organization. He’s part of the Baghdad government. So Muqtada’s people come from Baghdad. Al-Hakim’s people, Badr Organization, Supreme Islamic Council come from Baghdad. They go to Iran, in Qom. And the head of the Quds Force brokers a ceasefire, and the battle of Basra ends. So who are the winners and who are the losers? Okay. The winners are Iran and Muqtada al-Sadr; the losers are al-Maliki government in Baghdad and George W. “defining moment” Bush. This doesn’t mean that Muqtada al-Sadr is in the pockets of Iran. What it means is Iran is sufficiently powerful to get the two most important religious parties in Iraq, the Sadrists and al-Hakim’s Supreme Islamic Council, to Iran to broker a ceasefire organized by Iran. This means that the terrorists aren’t exactly terrorists—the terrorists are in fact peacemakers.

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Pepe Escobar

Pepe Escobar, born in Brazil is the roving correspondent for Asia Times and an analyst for The Real News Network. He's been a foreign correspondent since 1985, based in London, Milan, Los Angeles, Paris, Singapore, and Bangkok. Since the late 1990s, he has specialized in covering the arc from the Middle East to Central Asia, including the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He has made frequent visits to Iran and is the author of Globalistan and also Red Zone Blues: A Snapshot of Baghdad During the Surge both published by Nimble Books in 2007.