Mahdi Army, Police Fight in Nasiriyah
Fallon said to Oppose Iran Strike
Serious fighting broke out Wednesday morning in the southern Shiite city of Nasiriyah, between local police and the miltiamen of Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army. Most local police forces are heavily infiltrated by the Badr Corps of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, so that such struggles are actually for control of the city between al-Sadr and Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the SIIC leader. Early reports speak of gunfire throughout the city and burned cars, as well as of many persons killed. Sawt al-Iraq writes in Arabic that the fighting was set off when local authorities incarcerated a Mahdi Army militiaman at the village of Ghuraf.
Gareth Porter reports that sources close to CENTCOM commander Adm. William Fallon maintain that he scotched plans by the civilians in the Bush administration to send a third aircraft carrier to the Gulf. He said there was no military need for it. That is, he resisted being put in a position where there might be sufficient US naval force in the Gulf to attack Iran from air and sea.
You know that the smart, capable US officer corps must have been mad enough to spit for the past 3 years as Cheney and his cronies screwed up Iraq and put enormous strains on the US military. We have already seen Gen. John Abizaid denounce the “surge”, last November. And now a further demurral, this time from Fallon, if Porter is right. More power to’em.
Al-Sabah reports in Arabic that the clan elders of Sadr City (east Baghdad) are planning to form an association to support the Sadr Movement. Their goal will be to educate the Iraq population on the issue of the presence in Iraq of American troops. Sadr City’s clans have settled there from rural Shiite areas to the south, and often tribal and village ties are still reflected in the composition of the neighborhoods. Many clan elders in South Iraq have swung behind the Sadr Movement and its demand that the Multinational Forces withdraw from Iraq.
Ali al-Adib, the official spokesman of the [Shiite] Da’wa (Islamic Call) Party, denied on Tuesday the reports that he and former Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari were bolting the party and planning to establish a new one. Jaafari was unseated in a recent vote as leader of Da’wa in favor of the sitting PM, Nuri al-Maliki. Al-Adib said he and Jaafari were remaining in the party.
McClatchy reports civil war violence in Iraq for Tuesday. Police found 15 bodies in Baghdad. The head of a state industry was kidnapped. Mortars fell on the Green Zone. Other major incidents:
‘ Around 6:30 p.m. suicide car bomb exploded in Abu Saida town [Diyala Province] in the market killing 12 and injuring 22 civilians. . .
Around 3:00 p.m. Two bombs exploded in central Baghdad, AL Tayaran sq. The blast killed 5 civilians and injured 15.
– Around 3 p.m. a mortar shell landed in UR neighborhood killing 4 and injuring 4 civilians. . .
Reuters reports further such violence in Iraq:
‘ MOSUL – Four Iraqi soldiers were wounded in an attack by a suicide car bomber on their checkpoint near Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, an Iraqi army spokesman said.
ISKANDARIYA – An Iraqi soldier was killed and four others, including two civilians, were wounded when gunmen attacked an Iraqi army checkpoint on Monday night in Iskandariya, 40 km (25 miles) south of Baghdad, police said. ‘
Isn’t Iskandariya in the same area where 4,000 troops are searching for 3 captured US soldiers?