[Marxism] Liberation (Paris) reports "Sunni" attacks on Shia in region near Baghdad

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Thu Nov 25 06:30:46 MST 2004

How many of the claims below about persecution of Shias in the Baghdad
region are true?  How many are disinformation or provocations organized
by anti-resistance forces? At any rate, we get a sense here of the
atmosphere that makes it easier for some Shia leaders to probe the idea
of an alliance with the US and the Kurds against the Sunni population,
one of the possibilities being played out around the election
preparations. Of course, a Shia-Sunni "civil war" -- real or alleged --
is the kind of highly "moral" pretext Washington is looking for to
justify a continuing occupation, pernmanent military bases, and
restructuring of Iraq along the lines of US imperialist interests.  And,
of course, the ineffable "Zarqawi" -- someone Washington would have to
invent if he did not exist and it is actually possible that he may not
-- raises his head in this context.
Fred Feldman


** Five thousand men mobilized against the Sunni rebel bastion ** 

Libération (Paris) November 25, 2004 Page 11 

BAGHDAD -- The Iraqis call it the "triangle of death."  It's a mostly
Sunni enclave that begins about 12 miles south of Baghdad.  Countless
travelers, pilgrims, and police, as well as Western journalists, have
been attacked in this part of the province of Babylon.  If Fallujah,
today just about retaken, was considered the "nerve center" of the
rebellion, the zone between the cities of Latifiya, Mahmoudiya, and
Youssoufiya is the territory of the most extremist of groups.  So an
offensive of American, Iraqi, and British troops was very much expected.
It began Tuesday, with more than 5,000 men.  "This will not be a major
offensive, but rather many small, precise raids against targets of great
interest," Capt. Devid Nevers of the marines said yesterday. 

For the coalition, this is a vital operation:  the main road linking
Baghdad to the seven southern provinces goes through the "triangle of
death."  For months, the rebels have been destroying all police stations
and have been assassinating any one suspected of collaborating with the
Allawi government. Even the Iraqi Red Crescent has seen its convoys
attacked on the road to Najaf.  In Latifiya, the principal bastion of
the insurgents, five of the ten mosques are in the hands of Salafist
groups.  These set upon pilgrims traveling to the holy Shiite cities of
Najaf and Karbala.  A busload of Iranian pilgrims was recently attacked,
its ten passengers beaten, humiliated, and robbed, and then released.  A
funeral procession was less fortunate: several of its members were

The Shiites, who are considered renegades, are especially targeted.
Hence the extremely tense relations with the population of Hilla, the
capital of the province of Babylon.  The police of this Shiite city have
already paid a heavy price.  Dozens of bodies were found in mid-November
in a killing field near Latifiya, fiefdom of the Islamic Army in Iraq,
which claims responsibility for the capture of Georges Malbrunot and
Christian Chesnot and their Italian colleague Enzo Baldoni, as well as
for Baldoni's assassination. 

Is it because of this new offensive that the Jordanian Islamist
al-Zarqawi has spoken up again in a message broadcast on an Islamist
site?  This time, he goes after Muslim theologians:  "O Ulemas, you have
betrayed us in the darkest of circumstances.  You have delivered us to
our enemy . . . .  You have left the mujahideen to confront [alone] the
greatest power in the world," says a voice attributed to the man most
wanted by the United States in Iraq.

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