US Assault on Ramadi
Rockets in Baghdad Kill 4
Sadrists, AMS threaten Fresh Uprisings
President George W. Bush cited a poll done in June and July to argue that Iraqis are more optimistic about their future than Americans are about theirs. First of all, even if this were true, it is not good news for Bush.
Second of all, that poll was done before the US assault on Najaf, and the significant deterioration of the security situation in August and September. Many Iraqis had at that time been willing to give Allawi a chance, hoping security would improve. I am sure those numbers would be much lower now.
Moreover, the same poll found that more than 80 percent of Iraqis want an Islamic Republic with Islamic canon law or shariah as the law of the land. So if they are optimistic, it is because they think they can achieve such a goal over US objections. Again, this is not actually good news for Bush.
Nancy Youssef of Knight Ridder has an exclusive from Baghdad reporting that US air strikes on Iraqi cities and other actions have killed twice as many Iraqis (many of them civilian bystanders) since early April as have the actions of the nationalist guerrillas.
Al-Zawra Newspaper gives a useful overview of the specific guerrilla groups fighting in Iraq.
AP reports that the US military launched a major assault on the city of Ramadi on Friday. Warplanes and helicopter gunships flew above as US ground forces engaged in battles near the government buildings. Al-Zaman says that the fighting began when US froces surrounded the city on all sides and called for civilian inhabitants to evacuate, and then went in. Some 7 Iraqis, probably civilian by-standers, were wounded and sought treatment at the hospital. Typically wounded guerrillas do not go to the hospitals for fear of capture.
US war planes bombed Fallujah’s industrial district on Friday, killing 8 and wounding 15.
Guerrillas trying to bombard a police recruitment station in Baghdad missed and hit Palestine Street, killing 4 persons and wounding 14.
A series of explosions could be heard in the capital Friday evening, probably at Haifa Street, which has become a stonghold of the militant Monotheism and Holy War organization that came to Iraq from Jordan.
Late Thursday, the Italian Embassy took mortar fire.
At a demonstration outside Abu Ghuraib Shaikh Abdul Salam al-Kubaisi of the Association of Muslim Scholars called on National Guardsmen to rebel against the government of Iyad Allawi. AMS has affiliations to some 8000 Sunni mosques in Iraq and has emerged as the most popular Sunni Arab leadership. ArabNews writes that Kubaisi said,
‘ “It is strange to hear someone announce that Iraq cannot achieve democracy without the Americans,” referring to Allawi “who has abandoned Islamic, regional and patriotic principles, forgets that America is the one that slaughtered its native Americans and killed millions of Red Indians. He forgets that America is the first to have made mass graves by bombing Hiroshima.” . . . “We live in strange times. As practically everyone is condemning America and its conquering of Iraq, we see a small bit of scum fighting the current, calling America a liberator and friend,” referring to Allawis speech praising the US invasion. . . .
“Let it be clear for everyone that the traitors … cannot give orders. To die for the country, to be a martyr is not death. Death is for those who betray their religion, soil, honour and country.” . . .
“Today Iraq is facing the biggest conspiracy, a conspiracy to eliminate its most faithful people, all the faithful whether Muslim or Christian, Arab or Kurd or Turkmen … That is why the Americans have formed the Iraqi national guard and police”. Kubaisi described the nascent Iraqi security forces as “just a cover in order to sabotage Iraq … Because of this I call for the leaders of the national guard and police not to obey their orders which are meant to make them the first spear, the first arrow as the criminal of the century Bush says.” Kubaisi concluded calling on the Iraqis to unite in a peaceful resistance against the fear and terror inflicted upon them by the US-invader and to be confident of victory. ‘
On Thursday night, guerrillas had fired mortar shells at a Shiite mosque in the Abu Dishar quarter of southern Baghdad, putting a sizeable hole in its dome and damaging the courtyard.
A leader of the Sadr movement threatened a new uprising on Friday.
In Kufa, Shaikh Hashim Abu Raghif– an aide to Muqtada al-Sadr — denounced recent moves by US Marines and Iraqi police in Najaf to raid Sadrist offices and arrest the movement’s leaders. It was widely felt among Shiites in Iraq, even among those who dislike the Sadrists, and the raids and arrests contavened the terms of a peace agreement brokered by Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani. He was among those who complained about the recent raids.
Shaikh Abu Raghif said at the Sadr mosque in Kufa before hundreds of worshipers, “This aggression is a serious precedent in the new Iraq and for the state which has thrown itself in the arms of the occupation.” He maintained that the US and the caretaker Iraqi government “are trying to finish off this movement.” He added, “The pressures on us are great after the signing of the agreement,” Regheef said. “We will be back if the leader orders us to … We will rise up when we’re ordered to.”
More hostages were taken on Friday in what has become an all too familiar tactic on the part of the guerrillas.