Spooking Mookie out of Baghdad

Ralph Peters:

LOOKS like our team won this round of Spook-the- Mook. A best-in-show source in Baghdad confirms that Muqtada al-Sadr took off on a road-trip to Iran. And he wasn't just cruising in search of a Reuben sandwich.

The game ain't over until the fat mullah's scared. No matter how he tries to explain it away, Muqtada's public cowardice is going to hurt him - after he encouraged his followers to martyr themselves. There already had been rumors of mutinies in the Mahdi Army that threatened Mookie himself.

One more reason to run.

It's going to be hard for him to maintain his image as an Iraqi nationalist after running to mommy back in Qom or Tehran. To be fair, the Mookster hasn't always done Iran's bidding in the past - but now he's going to owe the Shiraz Sopranos.

Oh, and that trusted source tells me that Mookie's not the only bad actor who's fled the country - he's the marquee act, but the supporting cast took off, too. Leaving the chumps with the push-brooms to deal with the mess.

We and the Free Iraqis shouldn't miss a chance to portray that melon-bellied bigmouth as a wuss. He's always been glad to deliver fiery sermons, but whenever we delivered firepower he disappeared - letting others do the fighting for him.

In the past he at least went to ground on his home turf, hunkering down while his underlings fought and died. This time, his nerve failed him so badly that he jumped the border.

Why now? One thing Muqtada's always had is a strong survival instinct. He calculated just how far he could push - then ducked when the rounds started impacting. In 2003 and 2004, when we had the justification and means to kill him, he accurately judged that our leadership didn't have the guts to take him out.


Even more important, there's a pattern emerging that goes far beyond Iraq:

* Mookie ran to Iran.

* Osama's so scared he won't let himself be photographed.

* Hassan Nasrullah of Hezbollah ducked for cover as soon as Israel started shooting.

* The key leaders of Hamas hide out in Damascus, not Gaza or the West Bank.

Anybody see a pattern here?

Not only does the effectiveness of leaders-in-hiding plummet, but it makes an obvious case - which we've failed to exploit - that the demagogues who order in the suicide bombers and the AK-armed "martyrs" are personally in no rush to enter paradise.

We don't do much in the way of war propaganda. The cowardice of our enemies is something that should be highlighted. While I make fun of Zawahiri hiding behind cameras and microphones to spill his insults and taunts, the government mainly ignores him are puts out a statement saying voice analysis says it was him. The jerks needed to be jerked around.


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