Sunday, August 15, 2004

War News for August 15, 2004 Bring ‘em on: One Dutch soldier killed, five wounded in ambush near Ar Rumaythah. Bring ‘em on: Ukrainian soldier killed by land mine near Suwayrah. Bring ‘em on: Oil pipeline sabotaged near Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: Syrian truck driver kidnapped near Kirkuk. Bring ‘em on: Three Iraqis killed, three wounded in fighting in Ramadi. Bring ‘em on: Green Zone mortared in Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: Fighting resumes in Najaf. Bring ‘em on: One Iraqi killed in mortar attack on Baghdad bus station. Bring ‘em on: US aircraft bomb Fallujah. Bring ‘em on: Bulgarian troops under mortar fire near Karbala. Journalists urged to leave Najaf. Iraqi national conference opens. “A large group of people have walked out of a national conference on Iraq's political future taking place in the capital, Baghdad. The main purpose of the conference is to choose a 100 member advisory council, which will act as a kind of embryonic parliament ahead of elections in Iraq. But as soon as the United Nations special envoy to Iraq, Ashraf Qazi, finished his opening speech, about 100 people rose to their feet calling for an end to the fighting in the city of Najaf. A spokesman for the Shiite group, Yahya Mussawi, jumped to the podium saying democracy meant listening to the people of Iraq.” US plans to disband Fallujah Brigade. “If ordered into the city, the Marines would be able to complete the major battle they feel they left unfinished last spring. The White House and Coalition Provisional Authority ordered them to invade the city April 4 to rout the insurgents and capture the men who murdered and mutilated four American contractors on March 31. The White House forced a halt to the siege of the city in late April under pressure from the Iraqi Governing Council, which warned it was only inflaming the insurgency.” Supply routes interdicted. “…Over the past month the insurgents have brought civilian trucking into central Iraq to a virtual standstill. Three months ago, for example, 1,500 Jordanian trucks plied Highway 10 between Amman and Baghdad every day. Now only 30 a day make the perilous trip.” Commentary Editorial: “Iraq's U.S. patrons, clearly uncomfortable with this record, now espouse what they believe is a loftier justification for censorship: Iraqis, still novices at democratic self-rule, simply aren't ready yet for the free-for-all of ideas indispensable to a democratic society. That was also the reasoning in March when the U.S.-led coalition closed a newspaper sponsored by the anti-American cleric Sadr.” Analysis: “The battle for Najaf has catapulted the names of Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani and lower-ranking cleric Moqtada Sadr onto the front pages of American newspapers once again. Though their names may have become more familiar to American ears, they are a part of a long tradition of Shiite clerical leadership over which a veil was drawn in the time of Saddam Hussein. Now those clerics -- along with three other grand ayatollahs in Najaf -- have reemerged as major leaders. Examining their influence, and how they attained it, offers a deeper understanding of Shiism and the forces at work in Iraq.” Analysis: “The dilemma for the US forces attacking Najaf is that the more damage they inflict on Sadr’s forces and the Iman Ali mosque, where they are taking refuge, the more likely the population of southern Iraq will swing behind the cleric and his fighters.” Opinion: “It might be perfectly legitimate to condemn Saddam Hussein as a despot, but when anger against despotism becomes selective, and when Saddam becomes an excuse for occupation and neocolonialism, then we know that a moral line has been crossed. It is perfectly natural that a believer should find his source of inspiration in faith, for faith is his measure of the moral code. This is true of all religions. When a Hindu soldier of the Indian Army seeks courage from the temple he has every right to do so, just as his Sikh counterpart takes the name of Wah-e-Guru and his Muslim comrade in the same army takes the name of Allah. Who else will Moqtada Sadr turn to except Allah? He has at least as much right to turn to Allah as George Bush when he claims that God asked him to invade Iraq.” 86-43-04. Pass it on.


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