[Marxism] Iraq ruling party demand US hand over control over security

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Mon Mar 27 18:55:00 MST 2006

Iraq demands US hands over security

Monday 27 March 2006 11:51 PM GMT 

The demand comes after the US-Iraqi forces controversial raid  

Iraq's ruling parties have demanded US forces cede control of security.

The demand came as the government launched an inquiry into a raid on a
Shia mosque that ministers said saw "cold blooded" killings by US-led

Jawad al-Maliki, a senior spokesman of the Shia Islamist Alliance and
ally of Ibrahim al-Jaafari, the prime minister, said: "The alliance
calls for a rapid restoration of security matters to the Iraqi

After a confusing 24 hours following the bloodshed around Baghdad's
Mustafa mosque in which the US military restricted itself to issuing a
somewhat opaque statement, US officials distanced themselves from the
operation, calling it Iraqi-led.

Officials in Baghdad appeared to wait for input from Washington,
underlining the sensitivity of the confrontation between Iraq's
Iranian-linked Shia leaders and the US forces at a time when Washington
is pressing them to forge a unity government with Sunnis to avert civil

A day later, three broad versions of the events that led to the deaths
of 20 - or possibly more - people persisted.

Iraq's security minister accused US and Iraqi forces of killing 37
unarmed civilians in the mosque after tying them up.

Residents and police, who put the death toll among the troops' opponents
at about 20, spoke of a fierce battle between the soldiers and armed men
from the al-Mahdi Army militia of Muqtada al-Sadr, whose followers ran
the mosque.

"The [Shia] Alliance calls for a rapid restoration of security matters
to the Iraqi government" [said]Jawad al-Maliki, 
Shia Alliance spokesman 
And US officials, finally confirming they were describing the same
incident, stuck by a statement saying Iraqi special forces, advised by
US troops, killed 16 "insurgents" who fired on them first. They also
insisted no troops entered any mosque and had freed an Iraqi being held

Several Iraqi officials said the raid may have targeted a site used by
militiamen to hold illegal courts and executions.

One source of confusion over the site may be that the mosque, close to
Sadr City in northeast Baghdad, was not a traditional religious building
but a compound of former Baath party offices converted by al-Sadr

While US officials refused to acknowledge that the targets of the
operation were Shia, and the sectarian affiliations of the Iraqi troops
involved was unclear, the State Department official said the incident
underlined what he called the need for Iraq's security forces to be free
of sectarian bias.

Formal soverignty
The United States handed over formal sovereignty in 2004 but 133,000
troops in the country give it the main say in security. 
Government-run television repeated lengthy footage of the bodies of men
in civilian clothes with no weapons in sight.

Hussein al-Tahan, Baghdad's provincial governor said he would halt all
cooperation with US forces.

Aides to al-Sadr denied any al-Mahdi Army fighters were present.

Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, at the centre of urgent US efforts to stem
violence by creating a unity government, has said in recent days that
the militias must be brought to heel and accused Iran of funding and
training some armed groups. 

President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, who has been hosting the negotiations
said: "We have to know the truth about what happened, and we must not be
driven by rumours. This is a very dangerous incident which we must

Al-Jaafari's position
Meanwhile, news also emerged that Khalilzad has asked Abd al-Aziz
al-Hakim, one of Iraq's most prominent Shia politicians, to seek the
withdrawal of the contentious nomination for a second term by Ibrahim
al-Jaafari, the prime minister, two aides said on Monday.
They said Khalilzad had asked their boss during a meeting on Saturday to
personally deliver the message to al-Jaafari.

The two, who were at the meeting but spoke on condition of anonymity
because of the sensitive nature of the information, said al-Hakim
initially refused, saying another "mechanism" needed to be found.

Later, however, lower-ranking members of al-Hakim's political bloc, the
Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), did pass the
Khalilzad message to members of al-Jaafari's party, who delivered it to
him, the aides said.

Ali al-Adeeb, a lawmaker with close ties to al-Jaafari and a member of
his Dawa party, confirmed that he heard about Khalilzad's message.

"The US ambassador's position on al-Jaafari's nomination is negative.
They want him [the prime minister] to be under their control," al-Adeeb

US Embassy spokeswoman Elizabeth Colton offered no comment.

President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, has voiced his opposition to
al-Jaafari, and formed a coalition with Sunni and some secular
politicians in a bid to deny the prime minister a second term.


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