Chuck Spinney: Patrick Cockburn Interviews Muqtada al-Sadr on Iraq — Toxic Mix of Sectarianism, Incompetent and Corrupt Government, and Interference by US, UK, and Iran
The United States bears a moral responsibility for the murderous state of affairs in Iraq, but contemporary American grand strategy has become a self-referencing mix of arrogance, narcissism, and exceptionalism; so it is not surprising that most Americans have dismissed Iraq their minds (as they are now dismissing Afghanistan). Below is an excellent reminder of the situation in Iraq.
Patrick Cockburn, one of the very best journalists now covering conflicts in the Arab World and Central Asia interviews Muqtada al-Sadr, one of the most influential Shia clerics in Iraq and leader of the Mehdi Army, a powerful Shia faction. Sadr is now a member of the Shia dominated Iraqi government, but he is becoming increasingly alienated from its leader, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Al-Sadr argues that a toxic mix of (1) sectarianism, (2) governmental incompetence and corruption, and (3) external interference by the U.S. and U.K. and Iran is plunging Iraq into an ever-deepening state of chaos, with no light at the end of the tunnel. (Note: I inserted a few clarifying comments in red.)
In a rare interview at his headquarters in Najaf, he tells Patrick Cockburn of his fears for a nation growing ever more divided on sectarian lines.
The future of Iraq as a united and independent country is endangered by sectarian Shia-Sunni hostility says Muqtada al-Sadr, the Shia religious leader whose Mehdi Army militia fought the US and British armies and who remains a powerful figure in Iraqi politics. He warns of the danger that “the Iraqi people will disintegrate,  its government will disintegrate, and  it will be easy for external powers to control the country”.
In an interview with The Independent in the holy city of Najaf, 100 miles south-west of Baghdad – the first interview Mr Sadr has given face-to-face with a Western journalist for almost 10 years – he expressed pessimism about the immediate prospects for Iraq, saying: “The near future is dark.”