[Marxism] FYI: Israeli Spies on "Worsening" Iraqi Situation

Pieinsky pieinsky at igc.org
Tue Apr 6 20:47:39 MDT 2004

Shiite Radicals Join with Sunni Insurgents in Ramadi
DEBKAfile Special Analysis
April 7, 2004, 2:53 AM (GMT+02:00)

The third day of Moqtada Sadr's radical Shiite uprising saw US-led coalition
forces under attack by both Sunnis and Shiites and the first extremely
dangerous sign of a merger between the two fronts. DEBKAfile's military
sources report that US-led forces, instead of beginning to get a grip on the
armed Shiite militia uprising in Baghdad and four cities, appeared to be
letting command slip out their hands. There was little indication of US
forces executing the arrest warrant out against the Shiite radical cleric
since October. He lost no time in slipping underground, possibly in the
Shiite holy city of Najef, with the estimated 3,000-strong hard core of his
Medhi Army militia.
The failure to move fast enough to nab Sadr may be as costly as was the
escape from capture of Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan in November 2001and of
Saddam Hussein in March 2003. Al-Sadr matches neither in stature. He also
represents no more than a splinter faction of the Shiite community. Yet if
he proves able lead an effective underground resistance to the coalition for
a critical period, he could attract a disproportionately large number of
Shiite followers to his flag. It might be enough for him to keep going for
another five days to a week without being caught or stopped, for the
Americans to find themselves in the midst of a full-blown war.
The firebrand cleric and his Mehdi Army militia went into action in three
rapid phases:
Stage One: Early Tuesday, April 6, he melted out of his headquarters in the
Kufa mosque near Najef and went to ground.
Stage Two: Simultaneously, his militia moved in on the police stations and
government buildings of one town after another in southern Iraq.
Stage Three: Tuesday afternoon, shortly after US Marines entered Fallujah to
collar the men responsible for the brutal murder of four US contractors last
week, fresh Shiite militiamen were drawn from the Sunni Triangle towns of
Baquba, Balad, Samarra and Al Muqdaryah to launch a ferocious assault on the
US Marine compound in Ar Ramadi, 40 km east of Fallujah. At least 12 US
Marines were killed and 20 injured in this assault.
This development represents an ominous turning-point in the Iraqi conflict
for four reasons:
1. It was almost certainly coordinated with the Sunni Baathists, imported
Arabs and al Qaeda combatants battling US Marines in Fallujah in order to
draw off American military pressure in Fallujah and threaten the Marines
from the rear.
2. Instead of al Qaeda striking Shiites to inflame civil war - as predicted
by some US strategists - Shiites apparently turned up in Ramadi to fight the
Americans in cahoots with Sunni insurgents and al Qaeda combatants. This
show of solidarity makes the Sunni Triangle of central Iraq, including
Baghdad, a doubly hazardous and unruly region
3. US intelligence evaluatons of Moqtada Sadr's military strength have
proved wide of the mark. Tuesday morning, it was still estimated as 10,000
with a hard core of 3,000 fighting men. DEBKAfile's military and
intelligence sources believe this figure represents only the Mehdi Army's
numbers in Baghdad, Najef and Karbala. It does not take into account the
Sunni Triangle Shiite force that was secretly trained and prepared over the
past year by thousands of Iranian Republican Guards infiltrators in
conjunction with the Iranian protégé, Lebanese Hizballah terror-master Imad
Mughniyeh. This force numbers an estimated 5,000 combatants, who are better
equipped, organized and trained than Mehdi Army militiamen.
4. The Sadrist revolt looks therefore like having taken hold in three major
regions of Iraq: The Sunni Triangle, Baghdad and the South.
As for the other fronts:
Baghdad. By Tuesday night, US forces had not regained control of the
sprawling Shiite districts of the capital, except for some police stations,
and the sounds of fighting were rising in intensity.
The South. Sadr's militia captured Diwaniya 30 km east of Najef after
beating back repeated Spanish attempts backed by US helicopters to recover
control.This is the first Iraqi town to fall to Sadr's forces, a situation
that is totally unacceptable to the US command. If complete Iraqi towns
continue falling into Shiite or Sunni insurgent hands, the US and coalition
forces will quickly lose control of the country.
In Karbala, al Amara and Nassiriyeh, the Mehdi Army captured buildings in
the town centers. In Karbala, US and Polish forces failed to repulse the
Shiite attackers; likewise the Italian troops in Nasseriyah. In Al Amarah
near the Iranian border north of Basra, British contingents using helicopter
gunships, tanks and artillery failed to break the Shiite Sadrists' grip on
the town center.
At the end of Day Three of the radical Shiite uprising, therefore, the score
was not in the coalition's favor.

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