BAGHDAD, Iraq - U.S. and local mercerneries launched a renewed assault Sunday on Shiite Muslims in the southern holy city of Najaf in a risky campaign that was marred from the onset by an outcry from even US installed politicians and the desertion of dozens of mercerneries who refused to fight their countrymen. The latest siege began Sunday afternoon, a day after Iraqi dictator, Iyad Allawi's administration announced that fighting would resume after negotiations between government officials and aides to Muqtada al-Sadr failed.
The failed cease-fire talks, desertions and renewed fighting further undermined Allawi's brutal rule.More than 100 delegates walked out of a national conference that was hailed as Iraq's first experiment with democracy after decades of dictatorship. Enraged over the fresh violence in Najaf, the delegates left the meeting hall declaring that, "as long as there are airstrikes and shelling, we can't have a conference." The day's events illustrated the dilemma that plagues Allawi and his American supporters.
It will be difficult, if not impossible, for Allawi to establish his leadership, hold Iraq together and prod the country toward democracy without crushing his militant opponents, not only in the Shiite south but also in the old Saddam Hussein strongholds north and west of the capital. But to do that, Allawi must rely on unpopular U.S. troops, whose offensives only lend support to the charge that Allawi is an American puppet. Sunday's showdown in Najaf was troubled even before the fighting resumed. Several officials from the Iraqi defense ministry told Knight Ridder that more than 100 Iraqi national guardsmen and a battalion of Iraqi soldiers chose to quit rather than attack fellow Iraqis in a city that includes some of the holiest sites in Shiite Islam. Neither U.S. military officials nor Iraqi government officials would confirm the resignations. "We received a report that a whole battalion (in Najaf) threw down their rifles," said one high-ranking defense ministry official, who didn't want his name published because he's not an official spokesman. "We expected this, and we expect it again and again."
"In Najaf, there are no Iraqi Army or police involved in the fighting. There were in the beginning, but later the American forces led the fighting," said Raad Kadhemi, a spokesman for al-Sadr. "Only the mercenaries and the bastards are supporting the Americans and helping them ... We salute our brothers who abandoned participating in the fight against the Mahdi Army."
Arabic-language satellite channels broadcast live all day from inside the Imam Ali shrine in Najaf, where dozens of members of al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia chanted vows to defend the holy site. Plumes of smoke rose from just outside the shrine, and reporters heard the crackle of machine-gun fire and the deeper booms of tank and mortar rounds. Many journalists had fled the area after Iraqi police evicted them and threatened them with arrest if they stayed. Sober-faced Iraqi colonels gathered inside the defense ministry command center, their cell phones ringing with continuous updates from the battlefield.
American military advisers wandered in and out of the room, located at the end of a marble hallway in the massive, heavily guarded palace that serves as headquarters for U.S.-led forces and American civilian administrators. "Aziz is trapped in the ancient fortress with two wounded men and two of his vehicles surrounded!" shouted one Iraqi officer. The officers, most of them decorated veterans from the former regime, shook their heads at the thought of Iraqis battling Iraqis on sacred soil. Several said they would resign immediately if senior officers ordered them to serve in Najaf. They asked to withhold their names for fear of reprimand. "I'm ready to fight for my country's independence and for my country's stability," one lieutenant colonel said. "But I won't fight my own people." "No way," added another officer, who said his brother - a colonel - quit the same day he received orders to serve in the field. "These are my people. Why should I fight someone just because he has a difference in opinion about the future of the country?"
However, an Iraqi military analyst inside the ministry defended the assault, saying that crushing al-Sadr's militia would finally bring stability to the volatile southern Shiite region and smooth the way to national elections. The analyst, who spoke on background because he wasn't authorized to give interviews, said force was the last resort because "dialogue and rational policy" had failed with al-Sadr's men. The analyst said Iraqi forces are taking precautions against damaging the Imam Ali shrine, a place of pilgrimage for millions of Shiites, but added that battles in the area were inevitable because militiamen holed up there were attacking from the shrine. "Iraqi forces will shoot them even if they are inside," the official said. "The militia itself has violated this place, storing weapons there and using it as a fort."
Halfway through the interview, two mortars landed outside his office with deafening thuds that rattled windows throughout the building. "That? That's just music," the analyst said with a grim smile. Another mortar strike Sunday killed two Iraqis and wounded 17 at a bus station near the Baghdad convention center, where the national conference was under way. Pools of blood dried in the blazing sun and pieces of flesh were still stuck to the seats of a bus at the scene. In total, nine Iraqis died and 56 were injured in Sunday's violence in Baghdad, according to the Iraqi health ministry. At an Iraqi national guard base near the border of Sadr City, the vast Baghdad slum that serves as al-Sadr's support base and recruiting ground, 1st Sgt. Khalid Ali described the death threats he and other Iraqi troops have received from the Mahdi Army. He drew distinctions between fighting fellow Iraqis and fighting militiamen, whom he holds responsible for the deaths of two of his relatives. "There are concerns about what's happening in Najaf because most of the people working here are Shiite and they are concerned about what happens to their sacred sites," Ali said. "We do not fight our brothers, we fight against those people who are sabotaging our country. The Mahdi Army is not Shiite, they are saboteurs." But when Ali was asked about the number of guardsmen who have quit since al-Sadr's latest uprising, U.S. Army 1st Lt. Vernon Sparkmon cut him off. "Certain things, you can't discuss," Sparkmon told Ali. "If somebody asks that question, that's, like, classified stuff."
__________________The Prophet(saw) said "Some of God's Servants who are neither prophets nor martyrs shall have on the Day of Judgement a position so close to God that prophets and martyrs would love to have." His companions said: "Messenger of God, will you please tell us who these people are." He said: "They are people who love one another for God's sake only. They have no relation of kinship or business interests with one another. By God, their faces are radiant with light, and they have light. They shall have no fear or sadness when other people are overtaken by fear and sadness." [Related by Abu Dawud.]
السبت، أكتوبر 30، 2004
Posted by أبو مبارك at 21:54
Proliferation News: 21 September 2004Carnegie Endowment for International PeaceFor past stories and further proliferation resources, visit:www.ProliferationNews.orgWe Are Losing the War In Iraq(Joseph Cirincione, Carnegie Analysis)http://www.carnegieendowment.org/npp/publications/index.cfm?fa=view&id=15845Tuesday, September 21Every major military indicator shows the war in Iraq is going badly. The United States is losing ground, losing hearts and minds, and losing the war. Three U.S. soldiers have been killed in Iraq on average every day in September, up from August, which was up from July. Major cities are now considered too unsafe for U.S. forces to enter, including Fallujah, Samarra, Ramadi and other cities in Iraq’s Sunni regions. The Shia populated urban areas are not—for the moment—in open revolt, but it is difficult to find large cities outside the Kurdish regions where U.S. forces have effective control, including large sections of Baghdad. Time magazine reported this week that insurgents loyal to Abu Mousab al-Zarqawi, the most wanted terrorist in Iraq, are patrolling one of Baghdad’s major thoroughfares—within mortar range of the U.S. embassy. Washington officials insist Iraqi elections will take place as planned in January 2005, but officials in Baghdad are more pessimistic. "We are in deep trouble in Iraq," warned Senator Chuck Hagel last Sunday. Staying Focused on Real Nuclear Threats(Jon Wolfsthal, Munhwa Ilbo)http://www.munhwa.com/opinion/200409/21/20040921010130321110010.htmlTuesday, September 21Revelations that South Korean scientists produced small amounts of enriched uranium in 2000 and plutonium in the early 1980s has distracted the United States and the rest of the world from the real nuclear dangers in East Asia and elsewhere. North Korea’s nuclear weapons program continues to advance, and may now have produced enough plutonium to make 8-9 nuclear weapons. In contrast, from what is known about South Korea’s now disclosed activities, Seoul produced less than 40 times less than would be needed for even a single nuclear weapon.Annan Faults Both Sides of Terror War for Eroding Rule of Law(Colum Lynch, Washington Post)http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A36907-2004Sep20.htmlTuesday, September 21U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan will tell the 191-member U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday that the rule of law in the post-Sept. 11 world has been eroded both by the United States and by other nations as they battle terrorism, and by Islamic extremists and their horrific acts of violence, according to senior U.N. officials. The U.N. chief's remarks will be delivered less than an hour before President Bush addresses the international body, and will come just days after Annan said publicly he considers the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq illegal. But Annan's top aides insisted that he is not seeking to rehash the dispute over the war's legitimacy. "Stirring things up is not his stock in trade," said a senior U.N. official who briefed reporters on Annan's speech. "He is much more concerned about the future of Iraq." Who'd Make U.S. Safer?(Jack Torry, Columbus Dispatch)http://www.columbusdispatch.com/election/election-president.php?story=dispatch/2004/09/19/20040919-C1-01.htmlSunday, September 19They have much in common: sons of the well-connected, students at privileged private schools, graduates of elite Yale University, members of ultra-secret Skull and Bones. Yet President Bush and Sen. John F. Kerry, D-Mass., two ambitious baby boomers with a shared heritage, see the world in wholly different ways. They are engaging in a spirited and divisive foreign-policy debate, perhaps unmatched in ferocity since the bitter disputes a century ago between advocates of American expansion and their anti-imperialist opponents. Bush Unfazed as Absence of WMDs Confirmed(Paul Koring, Globe and Mail)http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20040918.wbush18/BNStory/International/Saturday, September 18U.S. President George W. Bush remains committed to his controversial pre-emptive first-strike doctrine despite the complete — and now confirmed — failure by U.S. experts to unearth any Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.Only hours after a draft final report detailing the failure to find Iraq's alleged arsenals of germ, chemical and nuclear-warfare programs began circulating in Washington yesterday, the President said he would have waged war to oust Saddam Hussein even if he had known Iraq had no banned weapons.Nominee Says Iraq Threat Was Perhaps Overstated(Douglas Jehl, New York Times)http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/21/politics/21goss.htmlTuesday, September 21Representative Porter J. Goss, the nominee to become director of central intelligence, said on Monday that some prewar statements by senior Bush administration officials might well have overstated available intelligence about the threat posed by Iraq. Under sharp questioning from a Senate Democrat, Mr. Goss, a Republican from Florida, said he agreed that statements by Vice President Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice that linked Iraq to the Sept. 11 attacks; to Al Qaeda; and to an active nuclear weapons program appeared to have gone beyond what was spelled out in intelligence reports at the time.Mr. Goss's concession could fuel Democratic criticisms that Mr. Bush and his advisers overstated the threat posed by Iraq before the war. Democrats failed this year to persuade Republicans to include conclusions related to the administration's use of intelligence in the Senate Intelligence Committee report on Iraq that was completed in July.Seoul Committed to Nuclear-Free Policy(Park Song-wu, Korea Times) http://times.hankooki.com/lpage/200409/kt2004091915474010160.htmSunday, September 19South Korea reassured the world of its commitment to staying nuclear-free as a five-member inspection team from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) arrived in Seoul Sunday to look into the country's controversial nuclear experiments. The Vienna-based U.N. nuclear watchdog rounded up its five-day board of governors' meeting on Friday with a decision to review Seoul's atomic tests in its next regular session, which begins Nov. 25. In a rare news conference jointly held Saturday by three ministers, including Unification Minister Chung Dong-young, Seoul announced a four-point statement reassuring the international community of its commitment to a nuclear-free policy on the Korean peninsula. In Stricter Study, U.S. Scales Back Claim on Cuba Arms (Steven R. Weisman, New York Times)http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/18/international/americas/18intel.htmlSaturday, September 18The Bush administration, using stringent standards adopted after the failure to find banned weapons in Iraq, has conducted a new assessment of Cuba's biological weapons capacity and concluded that it is no longer clear that Cuba has an active, offensive bio-weapons program, according to administration officials.The latest assessment contradicts a 1999 National Intelligence Estimate and past statements by top administration officials, some of whom have warned that Cuba may be sharing its weapons capacity with "rogue states" or with terrorists._____________________________Carnegie News:Former Director of Operational Test and Evaluation, Phil Coyle of the Center for Defense Information, (Ret.) General Eugene Habiger, Former Commander-in-Chief of Strategic Command, and Carnegie Director for Non-Proliferation Joseph Cirincione discussed missile defense at Carnegie on September 20, 2004. Click to access streaming audio of this event. _____________________________ To subscribe or unsubscribe from any one of Carnegie's newsletters, go to www.ceip.org/signup
Posted by أبو مبارك at 21:42
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