[Marxism] Juan Cole on Shi'ite uprising

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Apr 4 15:31:43 MDT 2004

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Shiite Clashes in with Coalition in Najaf Baghdad: Phase II of the 
Anti-Occupation Struggle Begins

Nine Coalition Troops Killed, Dozens wounded in Confronting Uprising

[Updated 5:25 pm EST]

The always tense relationship between the Sadrist movement among Iraqi 
Shiites and the US and its Coalition partners has taken a dramatic turn for 
the worse. Perhaps a third of Iraqi Shiites are sympathetic to the radical, 
Khomeini-like ideology of Sadrism, and some analysts with long experience 
in Iraq put it at 50%. Earlier Muqtada Al-Sadr, the movement leader, had 
called on his forces to avoid violence against Coalition forces. As of 
Sunday, he has decided that the Coalition means permanently to exclude his 
group from power, and has decided to launch an uprising. This uprising 
involves taking over police stations in Kufa, Najaf, Baghdad and possibly 
elsehwere. The Sadrist militia now controls Kufa, according to the New York 
Times, and probably controls much of Sadr City or the slums of East 
Baghdad, as well, though it has been expelled from the police stations it 
had occupied there.

In Najaf, Sadrist crowds some 5000 strong protested outside the Spanish 
garrison. Firing began between the two sides, leading to a 3-hour gun 
battle that left 1 American and 1 Salvadoran soldier dead [initial reports 
had said 4 Salvadorans were dead] and fourteen Salvadorans wounded, 24 
Iraqi civilians dead, and more than 130 persons wounded, according to AP 
and the Washington Post. Spanish troops also fought. (Spain's new Socialist 
government had pledged to withdraw Spanish troops this summer). AP reports 
that Sadrist militiamen took over the police station in nearby Kufa, and 
that police had disappeared from Kufa streets.

There were also large protests in central Baghdad, and it is reported that 
3 Sadrist protesters threw themselves under American tanks, so as to become 
"martyrs." AP said, ' In central Baghdad's Firdaus Square, police fired 
warning shots during a protest by hundreds of al-Sadr supporters against 
al-Yacoubi's arrest. At least two protesters were injured, witnesses said. 
' Meanwhile, US troops assaulted the office of Muqtada al-Sadr in Baghdad.

full: http://www.juancole.com/

Louis Proyect
Marxism list: www.marxmail.org 

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