Shiites Stick With Jaafari 26 Dead

Shiites Stick with Jaafari
26 Dead, with clashes in Adhamiyah, Ramadi

26 Iraqis died in guerrilla violence on Monday. 17 corpses surfaced in Baghdad, and another 9 persons died in violence around the country.

American sources say that in the northern Baghdad district of Adhamiyah, a neighborhood militia fought a 9-hour-long pitched battle with Iraqi troops and police, with the Americans coming in to settle it.

But Arabic sources suc as Al-Zaman , al-Hayat and Aljazeera reported in such a way as to make it look like the brave stand of local (Sunni Arab) men against the predations of (Shiite) death squads masquerading as police. The latter were accused of coming into Adhamiyah in order to kidnap, kill and pillage. The special police commandos of the minstry of the interior are widely believed to comprise Shiite militiamen.

Guerrillas in Ramadi launched a coordinated attack on the Marines, fighting a pitched battle. The US forces damaged a mosque in the course of the fighting.

US casualties in Iraq have risen sharply in April.

The Dawa Party and the Shiite religious coalition have decided to support Ibrahim Jaafari as their candidate for prime minister unless he himself decides to step down. He has said that he was elected by a democratic vote, and will not step down.

The idea of having Dawa put forward Ali Al-Adib as an alternative to Jaafari appears to have faltered. Aljazeera reports that Salih Mutlak, leader of the neo-Baathist National Dialogue Council, dismissed al-Adib as no better than Jaafari, and in some ways worse, since he lacked the latter’s political experience. (I have all along wondered who the Sunni Arabs thought they could get from the UIA as a prime minister who would be different in basic policies and outlook from Jaafari).

Al-Zaman reports that [Ar.] the alliance between the Sunni Arab fundamentalists and the secular party of Iyad Allawi has faltered. Allawi’s Iraqi National List had hoped that the loose coalition of Sunnis, Kurds and secularists would put Allawi up for vice president. But in the end the fundamentalist Iraqi Accord Front declined, saying that Allawi is a Shiite, and the post must go to an IAF Sunni Arab.

Large numbers of Iraqi families continue to be displaced by sectarian violence or the threat of it.

The guerrillas’ campaign of assassinations against professors and other white collar professionals in Iraq is provoking a major brain drain. On Monday, a doctor and three engineers were kidnapped.

Baghdadis are complaining that the curfew is impeding their access to health care.

Tom Lasseter reveals that the US knew all along about the problem of the infiltration of Iraqi government security agencies by Shiite militias, but declined to act because they could not afford to alienate the Shiites too much at a time of Sunni Arab insurgency.

The Japanese involvement in Iraq is documented here. The governor of Samawah says he wants them to stay . . .

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