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Rice: Muqtada a Coward; Najaf Tense; Veterans Depressed, Unemployed

by juan cole (reposted)
From a Monday, April 21, 2008 entry on Informed Comment, Juan Cole's blog

Rice: Muqtada a Coward;
Najaf Tense;
Veterans Depressed, Unemployed

Ned Parker, Raheem Salman and Saad Fakhrildeen get the story in Najaf, the Shiite holy city south of Baghdad. The four grand ayatollahs, pillars of middle and upper class Shiite orthodoxy, are fearful of the influence of young Muqtada al-Sadr, leader of the millenarian workers and the poor. The authors do not note the irony, but I thought it amusing that both sides were blaming Iran for their troubles, which suggests that the troubles are indigenous. It is an excellent article; I wish it had said more about the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, from which the governor comes, and the Badr Corps, from which the deputy governor comes; both have strong Iran ties and they are the powers that be in Najaf; it is they the Mahdi Army mainly challenges, not just the four grand ayatollahs. Also, they did not say anything about the rumors that the chief grand ayatollah, Ali Sistani, is in bad health.

Rice has her 'bring'em on moment' in Iraq, talking trash to the Mahdi Army and calling Muqtada al-Sadr a 'coward.' Muqtada al-Sadr eluded Saddam Hussein for 4 years after Saddam killed his father and two elder brothers; and in 2004 he twice took on the US military. He may be a lot of things, but he is not a coward. Has Rice ever said anything about Iraq that was true or useful? Even as she was talking up 'improved security' in Baghdad, mortar shells were falling about her in the Green Zone.

Over the weekend there were clashes in Nasiriya between Mahdi Army militiamen and the Iraqi army. Although this official Iraqi government communique suggests that 40 militiamen were killed and 40 captured and does not mention government casualties, I'd take it all with a grain of salt. What is not apparent from the squib is that the Iraqi government is so weak it is having to fight for a toehold in one of its own cities.

Another mass grave found in Iraq. These sites are evidence of militia activity-- the victims were likely either accused of collaboration with the central government or members of the opposite religious sect.

The American Right is always droning on about the need to support our troops (i.e. to support the Right's war). But the rich who send poor young men off to foreign wars of course don't really care about the young men themselves (because they don't care about the poor in general; right wing politicians are elected by the rich, for the rich and of the rich). Cases in point:

Health care eludes Iraq vet.

Veterans having a hard time finding jobs.

A third of a million veterans who served in Afghanistan and Iraq are depressed, suffering from PTSD (the proportion suffering is about 1 in five).

The way to support our troops is to get them out of a fruitless and unnecessary war, before more thousands are killed and wounded, whether physically or psychologically or socially.

Tom Engelhardt gives 12 reasons to get out of Iraq.

McClatchy reports political violence in Iraq on Sunday:

' Baghdad

Around 11:00 pm on Saturday, a mortar shell hit al Qanat Street in east Baghdad. No casualties reported.

Around 1:30 a.m. four mortar shells hit al Husseiniyah area in north Baghdad. No casualties reported.

Seven civilians were wounded when a Katyosha rocket hit a house in Abo Desheer neighborhood ij south Baghdad around 8:00 a.m.

Clashes broke out between Mahdi army militia and the Iraqi national police in New Baghdad area in east Baghdad around 10:00 a.m. No information about the casualties provided on time of publication.

Clashes broke out between Mahdi army militia and the American forces in Kubra al Ghizlan area in the outskirt of Sadr city in east Baghdad around 11:00 am. No casualties reported on time of publication.

2 civilians were killed and 14 others wounded when two mortar shells hit Kadhemiyah neighborhood north Baghdad around 5:00 p.m.

Five people were wounded including two policemen when a road side bomb exploded targeting the police patrol in New Baghdad neighborhood in east Baghdad around 7:00 p.m.

Two policemen were killed and four others wounded by a bombed placed bicycle in Abo Graib area west of Baghdad around 8:30 p.m.

Police found six unidentified bodies throughout Baghdad (2 bodies in Jisr Diyala, 1 body in Zayuna, 1 body in New Baghdad, 1 body in Bayaa and 1 body in Amil)


Gunmen set a fake check point kidnapping three vehicles including a bus carries nine students from the University of Diyala while they were in their way to the university. The incident took place in the area between Muqdadiyah town and Kanan area east of Baquba around 9:00 a.m. The gunmen released the nine students and kept the three drivers.

Around 9:00 a.m. gunmen attacked a car carrying a policeman and his pregnant wife while they were in their way to the hospital. The incident took place in Wajihiyah area east of Baquba. The gunmen killed the policeman and the taxi driver and injured the wife.

The commander of the Diyala operations Major General Abdul Kareem al Ubaidi said that the Iraqi security forces and the Sahwa members found 30 bodies in a mass grave yard in Muqdadiyah town northeast of Baquba. Al Rubaie said that another mass grave yard was found in al Botoma village north of Baquba city confirming that 27 bodies were from the yard moved to the morgue of Diyala hospital.


Gunmen killed two contractors near al Rashad area west Kirkuk on Sunday morning.


Police found the bodies of two members of the local council of Sinjar town west of Mosul city. The two members of the council were kidnapped on Saturday evening.


Gunmen killed a police officer in front of his house in Soleman Beg town east of Tikrit around 10:00 p.m.'

Labels: Iraq

posted by Juan Cole @ 4/21/2008 06:55:00 AM

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by Today is a good day to go AWOL!!
Bring 'em on, eh Condi? Guess what, in a few days the Mahdi militias may be bringing it, and then you'll see that Muqtada al-Sadr is no coward! Though in reality al-Sadr desires a lasting peace in Iraq, though believes this will be best achieved following a complete withdrawal by the U.S. military from Iraq. If the U.S. military refuses to withdraw voluntarily, al-Sadr will be forced to provide additional encouragement, and it won't be so pleasant this time. Al-Sadr really has tried to be patient and shown restraint with the ongoing U.S. occupation, and his thread is running thin..

Newsflash; The right wing regime of neo-cons (GW bushy, Condi da Blondie, Che-Ninny, etc..) doesn't care about U.S. soldiers (young people in uniform) and sends them off to Iraq to die in hopes that their al-Mahlikkki (GW bushy's li'l Mah Licky!) puppet regime will soon pass the petroleum privatization reform and release all of Iraq's oil reserves to the ownership of ExxonMobil and other U.S. corporations. Maybe we'll throw a bone to a Chinese petroleum corporation in order to keep the peace between the two superpowers..

Here's the "stay in Iraq" instructions directly from the mouths of petroleum CEOS;

"This is what we've been waiting for folks, so just hang tight and lose a few more limbs in Iraq so that we CEOs of U.S. petroleum corporations can rake in a few more billions in profits from Iraq's soon to be privatized petroleum reserve revenues. Your youthful blood shed in Iraq shows direct positive impacts our corporate bank accounts, so stay put!!"

That's the opinion of the petroleum CEOs, no small coincidence that last year ExxonMobil boasted of their record profits. The U.S. occupation of Iraq has indeed helped out the petroleum execs, though not very many others. That doesn't matter because GW Bushy & Co. only care for the welfare of the corporations, not the actual soldiers who die or return physically and/or mentally disabled..

Not one to needlessly instigate violence, Muqtada al-Sadr and the Mahdi militias can rightfully claim responsibility for the reduction of civilian deaths in Iraq following the year long cease fire agreement between al-Sadr and the provisional government of al-malikkki, even though the traitor al-malikkki didn't deserve such generosity on the part of al-Sadr. In addition, al-Sadr worked tirelessly to reduce deaths from infighting between rival Sunni and Shias, this campaign has also led to his growing popularity..

In the upcoming Presidential elections in Iraq, this and other factors will be taken into consideration by the Iraqi people, and the majority may wish to elect al-Sadr as the legitimate President of Iraq. This is troubling to both the senior religious clerics and the petroleum corporations waiting for privatization. It is likely that al-Malikkki will endorse privatization of Iraq's petroleum, though al-Sadr has spoken out against this. The refusal of al-Sadr to accept the petroleum privatization plan is the most likely reason for the current U.S. led government's attack on the Mahdi militias in Basra AND Sadr City..

So for all the people with loved ones serving in Iraq, try to contact them and encourage them to go AWOL ASAP. If al-Sadr is forced to defend his militia at their bases in Basra and Sadr City, there will be a great number of casualties in U.S. troops. There is no false pride or petroleum reserve worth dying for, if the CEOS of ExxonMobil want it so bad, they should strap on a helmet and gun and try claiming it for themselves. Dying for your friends who refuse to leave Iraq will only result in additional deaths, you cannot save your friends by staying in Iraq..

No mas sending off young people to Iraq to die. We will shut the the U.S. military recruiters at their offices, lock down to their bases and will not allow any more military planes or ships with soldiers to be deployed to Iraq. End this occupation now!!
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