[Marxism] A palpable gloom
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
By JAMES RISEN
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.
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
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?"
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