[Marxism] A palpable gloom

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Apr 8 06:53:36 MDT 2004

LA Times, April 8, 2004

Uprising Could Signal a Second War for Iraq
The insurgency raises tactical questions and has some comparing the 
situation to Vietnam.

By John Hendren, Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — The widespread insurgency that has erupted in Iraq in 
recent days may be the first stages of a second war for the country that 
could determine whether the conflict degenerates into a military bog for 
the United States.

The outbreak of violence by Shiite Muslim militiamen, coupled with 
attacks by former Iraqi regime allies and small numbers of foreign 
fighters, is prompting U.S. commanders to assess how many troops are 
needed and how they should be used.

The uprising has also raised questions about past military decisions in 
the yearlong invasion and occupation of Iraq.

"We're at a tipping point in Iraq, with a real danger of losing control 
of the situation," Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger, who was national security 
advisor to President Clinton, said in a National Public Radio interview.

The military setbacks have also generated comparisons with Vietnam and 
calls to consider leaving.

"It's time to bail out," said Charles V. Peña, director of defense 
policy studies at the Cato Institute, a conservative Washington think 
tank. "If it wasn't obvious beforehand, it ought to be more obvious now 
that we are in a situation that is no longer in control, and we can't 
make the fairy tale outcome that we would like to see happen in Iraq."


NY Times, April 8, 2004
Account of Broad Shiite Revolt Contradicts White House Stand

WASHINGTON, April 7 — United States forces are confronting a broad-based 
Shiite uprising that goes well beyond supporters of one militant Islamic 
cleric who has been the focus of American counterinsurgency efforts, 
United States intelligence officials said Wednesday.

That assertion contradicts repeated statements by the Bush 
administration and American officials in Iraq. On Wednesday, Secretary 
of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld and Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the 
Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that they did not believe the United States 
was facing a broad-based Shiite insurgency. Administration officials 
have portrayed Moktada al-Sadr, a rebel Shiite cleric who is wanted by 
American forces, as the catalyst of the rising violence within the 
Shiite community of Iraq.

But intelligence officials now say that there is evidence that the 
insurgency goes beyond Mr. Sadr and his militia, and that a much larger 
number of Shiites have turned against the American-led occupation of 
Iraq, even if they are not all actively aiding the uprising.

A year ago, many Shiites rejoiced at the American invasion and the 
toppling of Saddam Hussein, a Sunni who had brutally repressed the 
Shiites for decades. But American intelligence officials now believe 
that hatred of the American occupation has spread rapidly among Shiites, 
and is now so large that Mr. Sadr and his forces represent just one 

Meanwhile, American intelligence has not yet detected signs of 
coordination between the Sunni rebellion in Iraq's heartland and the 
Shiite insurgency. But United States intelligence says that the Sunni 
rebellion also goes far beyond former Baathist government members. Sunni 
tribal leaders, particularly in Al Anbar Province, home to Ramadi, the 
provincial capital, and Falluja, have turned against the United States 
and are helping to lead the Sunni rebellion, intelligence officials say.

The result is that the United States is facing two broad-based 
insurgencies that are now on parallel tracks.

full: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/08/international/middleeast/08SHIA.html


Washington Post, April 8, 2004
Anti-U.S. Uprising Widens in Iraq; Marines Push Deeper Into Fallujah
Cleric's Force Tightens Grip In Holy Cities
By Rajiv Chandrasekaran

BAGHDAD, April 7 -- Violent resistance to the American occupation of 
Iraq spread to new parts of the country on Wednesday, including 
previously quiet parts of Baghdad, as U.S. and allied forces struggled 
to quell separate uprisings by Sunni and Shiite Muslim insurgents.

In Fallujah, an epicenter of the Sunni resistance, U.S. Marines 
attempting to root out insurgents pushed toward the center of the city, 
drawing heavy rifle and grenade fire. After a contingent of Marines was 
attacked by gunmen hiding in a mosque, a U.S. jet and a helicopter took 
the unusual step of bombing the compound's outer wall. Witnesses told 
Arab journalists in the city that as many as 40 people were killed in 
the bombing, although the U.S. military said it had no reports of 
civilian casualties.

In central and southern Iraq, fighters loyal to Moqtada Sadr, a Shiite 
cleric who vowed Wednesday to turn Iraq into "another Vietnam for 
America," tightened their grip on the holy cities of Karbala, Kufa and 
Najaf. Members of the Mahdi Army, a militia loyal to Sadr, seized 
control of Kut, a city to the southeast of Baghdad, when Ukrainian 
troops withdrew after an overnight gun battle.

The U.S. military's director of operations in Iraq, Brig. Gen. Mark 
Kimmitt, said American troops would "destroy the Mahdi Army."

The unrest also spread to northern Iraq for the first time as U.S. 
troops in Hawijah, near Kirkuk, fired on an angry mob protesting 
American tactics in Fallujah, killing eight Iraqis. Although Baghdad's 
Sadr City slum, the site of bloody clashes earlier in the week, was 
largely calm, violence erupted in other parts of the capital. Shortly 
after nightfall, gunmen opened fire on a U.S. base in Baghdad's Shiite 
enclave of Kadhimiya and on another in the Sunni neighborhood of Adhamiya.

Iraq's most influential Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, 
issued his first official comments about the violence Wednesday evening, 
condemning the U.S. approach to dealing with the Shiite uprising. In a 
written statement bearing his seal, Sistani called for both sides to 
pursue a peaceful resolution and "refrain from escalating steps that 
will lead to more chaos and bloodshed."

But across Baghdad, Sistani's moderate message appeared to have been 
drowned out by an increasingly vocal cry from mosque minarets for people 
to resist the occupation and to donate money and blood to help 
resistance fighters in Fallujah. In perhaps the clearest sign yet of the 
convergence of Sunni and Shiite uprisings, announcements from Shiite 
mosques called on people to help Sunnis in Fallujah, while residents of 
Sunni neighborhoods lauded Sadr and his followers.

Portraits of Sadr and graffiti praising him have appeared on mosques and 
government buildings in Sunni towns west of Baghdad, according to Arab 
media reports. On Monday night, gunmen loyal to Sadr joined with Sunni 
insurgents in Baghdad in attacking U.S. soldiers on patrol in the first 
reported act of collaborative Sunni-Shiite resistance activity.

"The Sunnis and Shiites are now together," said Fatah Abdel-Razzaq, 31, 
the owner of a falafel stand in Sadr City, a sprawling slum of 2 million 
that has long served as Sadr's stronghold.

"America came and destroyed the country," he said. "What's America doing?"

full: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A56942-2004Apr7.html


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