[Marxism] Miami Herald reporter: Iraqi forces collapse, people with al-Sadr

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Sun Aug 8 17:59:47 MDT 2004

Did this report make it into the Miami Herald? That would be great, and
it would raise my opinion of a newspaper justly world famous for its
idiotic coverage of Cuba.  Or are some mainstream journalists starting
to send their unpublishable (i.e., plain true) stuff to places like GI
Special? I don't have time to check this.
Fred Feldman

GI Special 2 # B26 
thomasfbarton at earthlink.net 8.9.04
"Baghdad Besieged"

Iraqi Puppet Army Collapses Again


06 August 2004 By Tom Lasseter, Miami Herald, Baghdad

After the past two days of fighting in southern and central Iraq, the
difference between firebrand cleric Muqtada al Sadr and Iraqi Prime
Minister Iyad Allawi couldn't be any more clear: Al Sadr has an army,
and Allawi does not. 

In Iraq, security is politics. When Allawi took office, the self-styled
strongman lost little time before declaring that his government wouldn't
tolerate the insurgency that's swept the country. 

But as in previous battles, when al Sadr's Mahdi Army militia began to
overrun Najaf and several neighborhoods from Baghdad to Basra, the Iraqi
police force and national guard fought for a little while, then ran. 

And as in previous battles, Iraq's Achilles' heel was revealed: To
defend their country, Allawi and the interim government must go to the
American military, an institution that's widely reviled by many Iraqis
as an occupational force run amok. 

Allawi's Cabinet has approved an emergency provision that would allow
for something like a state of emergency to be declared.

But even if such a measure were imposed, it's not clear that Iraqi
forces have the training or equipment to enforce it outside Baghdad, a
capital that's looking increasingly besieged.

Al Sadr's men certainly didn't seem worried about the Iraqi government
or its security apparatus Friday.

Speaking at the Imam al Khadim shrine and mosque in one of Baghdad's
predominantly Shiite Muslim neighborhoods, al Sadr cleric Hazim al
Arajie took the Iraqi interior minister to task for saying that those
who were battling American forces in Najaf and elsewhere were gangsters
who would be run out of Iraq. 

"We're warning you that if you're going to say these words again, we'll
take you from your house and send you to hell," al Arajie said in
remarks directed toward the minister, Falah Hassan al Naqib. 

Many in Iraq take al Sadr's popularity as a sign of the U.S. failure to
provide an alternative.  The militia, it seems, may not be as much a
coordinated fighting force as an expression of Iraqi rage at the
American presence.

Adel Hamid, a vegetable merchant in Sadr City, which was named for al
Sadr's late father, said that over the course of about 15 months of
suffering through a lack of basic services, he'd come to see the
Americans as the enemy. 

"The fight will continue and Allah willing we will be victorious," Hamid
said.  "I will sacrifice my three boys for the Sadr movement; they are
in the Mahdi Army now to protect the city." 




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