Interesting saga of the Shia insurgency and Iraq

TITLE: Muqtada AL -SADR and the Shia Insurgency in Iraq

AUTHOR: Patrick Cockburn

PUBLISHER: Faber and Faber limited

REVIEWER: Luzuko Pongoma

"HE IS an American spy!" This book begins by capturing the reader with the first line.

Before you get into the gist of the story, you are already alarmed about someone being in a place where he is not supposed to be.

The author, Patrick Cockburn, an Irish journalist, is in Iraq to write this book about a Muqtada al-Sadr, a spiritual leader for the Shia nation. Al- Sadr is regarded as a powerful man because he is one of the Shai leaders, the biggest nation in Iraq.

Cockburn visited Iraq after the US killed Saddam Hussein and the country was plunged into instability.

Cockburn also looks at the violent history of Iraq dating from when Saddam took over power in a coup.

With his family killed by Saddam, Muqtada represented the biggest threat ever to the Iraqi leader. He also had a big following while under house arrest for four years.

After Saddam was removed, the American government also saw him as a threat.

Also Muqtada's power grew because he, unlike other Shia leaders, was not in exile and suffered like most Shai people.

Though he is young, not highly educated and experienced like other Shia leaders who are competing for leadership in the new Iraq, Muqtada proved to be astute and cautious in leading his followers.

With his life under threat from the Sunni and the Americans, Muqtada's leadership is put to the test everyday.