Samarra Turmoil Afp Reports That Iraqi

Samarra Turmoil

AFP reports that Iraqi police in Samarra announced a daytime curfew aimed at preventing the holding of mass demonstrations called for by the Association of Muslim Scholars. This curfew is apparently authorized by the State of Emergency extended through the end of March by interim PM Iyad Allawi. There has been a lot of trouble and fighting in Samarra, a city of perhaps 150,000 north of Baghdad, but it seems to me that it is a poor example of “liberty” and “rights” to forbid a simple demonstration (and the curfew announcement implies that demonstrators will be shot).

AFP says:

Meanwhile, Iraqi police in the city of Samarra, 120 kilometers (70 miles) north of Baghdad, imposed a curfew from 07:00 am (0400 GMT) to 9:00 pm (1800 GMT) as it sought to prevent an anti-American demonstration called for by the local chapter of the Sunni Committee of Muslim Scholars, according to outgoing mayor Taha al-Handira. The mayor had quit in protest against what he saw as restrictive and tough security measures imposed by US and Iraqi forces on the city.

It turns out that the mayor and city council of Samarra had resigned earlier last week in protest against the refusal of the US forces to withdraw from the city as agreed, and in protest against a raid on the mayor’s office. Presumably the US military commanders in the region began to suspect that the mayor, who represented himself as a good faith broker between guerrillas and the US forces, might actually be closer to the guerrillas.

BBC World Monitor for March 3 writes:

Al-Zaman publishes a 300-word front-page report on a statement by Saladin Chief of Police General Mizhir Taha Ahmad announcing the strike as a protest against the US forces raid that targeted his headquarters, in which two major officers were arrested. On the other hand, the report says that the Samara local council announces a mass-resignation because the US forces did not withdraw from the city . . .

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