News and opinions on situation in Iraq
05/08/04 As the Media Takes Its Lenses Off … Iraq Explodes Once Again Into Full War…
(TMPress International – New York – August 5, 2004) – As the Media Takes Its Lenses Off … Iraq Explodes Once Again Into Full War … As the U.S. military begins to launch attacks in and around the regions of Fallujah, and fights in Baqouba and Ramadi, all over again – and as reported the other day. Now Najaf … south to Basra … and north to Mosul … Iraq explodes into full war – once again.

Out of shear stupidity or direct posturing and sensing an opportunity U.S. and British forces, with the help of their shaky Iraqi colleagues tried not only to capture Mahdi army leaders – but actually tried to surprise capture the powerful Shi'ite Cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in Najaf, while British forces tried to round up Shiite militia leaders in Basra. Why – because he has become the most popular citizen in Iraq with any credibility and may contend for the PM or Presidency post, when the Iraqis have national elections – supposedly this January 2005, but even now that seems iffy with PM Allawi's tight-grip on whatever power he has from the fortified `Green Zone.'

The fighting in Najaf began early in the morning when al-Sadr's Mahdi army attacked a police station in response to the U.S. Marines secret attempt at nabbing Sadr earlier in the week. Najaf positions in the Revolution of 1920 Square were hit with mortars, rocket-propelled grenades and Kalashnikov rifles, while Najaf's governor, Adnan al-Zurufi, told the Al-Jazeera satellite channel that the U.S. Marines intervened `to help the policemen protect the police stations and the city.' But there is some debate exactly what the U.S. Marines were doing earlier in the week when they approached a residential compound where Sadr was a guest. Armed militias attacked the police station and during the battle, a UH-1 helicopter was hit and crashed. The crew was hurt and evacuated to safety, but the Najaf fighting is the fiercest in weeks and threatens a fragile cease-fire between the Mahdi army and Coalition forces or I guess they are now called Multinational forces (99% American).

Farther north, a series of running battles between U.S. backed Iraqi National Guard and insurgents in the city of Mosul killed 14 civilians and eight guerilla fighters. The U.S. military said Thursday that 17 people had been killed and 47 wounded. Authorities also clamped a curfew on the area and sealed off bridges into the city to try and restore order. The fighting was the heaviest Mosul has seen in months, according to local authorities and the U.S. military.

To the far south in Basra, militiamen loyal to Sadr threatened Thursday to attack British forces in the area unless they freed four men detained in a raid on al-Sadr's party's office in Basra two days before. Their spokesman in Basra, Salam al-Maliki predicted that the Mahdi army will confront the British forces, enter the city and take over important government buildings – this after several Mahdi army members were rounded up and detained by the British. Sheikh Saad al-Basri, another of Sadr's high representatives in the overwhelmingly Shiite city said – that if forced to … `that they will wage jihad (holy war) and war against the foreign troops, not against police and Iraqi forces – however the Sheikh made it clear that if they (Iraqi police) fight on the side of the occupiers, they would not differentiate and strike them harshly.' Basri also accused British forces of arresting four Sadr supporters in order to `create in Basra, the state of crisis that exists in Najaf.'

The British said they hadn't received a formal ultimatum, but said said that the men had been detained for further questioning. Iraqi police said that al-Sadr's militia forces had detained Iraqi police officers working with the British in those raids, apparently to use as leverage to force British authorities to release other Mahdi army leaders. The Basra based group denied the Coalition accusations, saying police were provoking al-Sadr's supporters by trying to arrest some of the group's leaders.

So, I say again – the media coverage has been lowered or suffered from very little reporting stateside and on the `tabloid TV news channels' … just as it appears the new American-installed Iraqi Interim Government rises … it also appears to be crumbling as a central authority – because of that in-built illegitimacy. Reporters and analysts still in the country report that nothing is governed outside the so-called `Green Zone' in Baghdad and throughout the Iraqi country-side and indeed they now govern at the point of a gun, tanks and armored columns of U.S. military vehicles!

Mr. Bremer and Mr. Brahimi have left, but really the CPA still rules on … in the form of Mr. Negroponte, as he takes over from the new U.S. Supraembassy … nothing will change and the GIs have come back to support the failing Iraqi Security Forces in the Sunni Triangle and throughout Iraq – once again! We have already seen it – and it is happening at this very moment! The U.S. military actions will grow in size and scope and the Sunni zones aren't the only zones U.S. troops will be in combat as the Summer of 2004 progresses into the Fall of 2004, all over Iraq – but yet the press reports will die down, as we have seen – and it will be as Vietnam, slowly insidiously took place – high expectations of success, while sucking the blood of our youth and our more adult-reservists in this country and why? Because of 9/11 or because of oil or because of so-called terrorists or fake WMD, maybe dictators – there will be many reasons and we will still not know why? – By John Osborne, Sr. Political Editor – TMPress International Newswire.

(c) 2004 TMPress International Newswire. Reprint granted without fee or license, please feel free to query for reprint permission.

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