August 6, 2004

Sinking into the quagmire...

BAGHDAD (AFP) - More than 1,200 militiamen loyal to radical Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr surrendered following fierce clashes with US and Iraqi forces in Najaf, the police general directorate said. "Over 1,200 criminals have surrendered to Iraqi forces," it said in a statement, adding that the holy city of Najaf had been "secured."

It said most of the captured militiamen were criminals who were released from Iraqi prisons by ousted president Saddam Hussein before last year's US-led invasion....

... The US military said Friday that 300 militiamen were killed in Najaf since Thursday's fighting, while the province's coalition-appointed governor Adnan al-Zorfi said the number was as high as 400. The military said also three US soldiers were killed and 12 wounded....

Most of them were criminals released by Saddam. Nonetheless, it will remain a matter of faith to those on the left-side, that it was only the blundering and incompetence of the Bush Administration that caused Iraq to become violent...That those guys would be happy campers if only WE had not made mistakes.

Cori Dauber make a good point:

...But the reason I point this out is that it makes clear how little the press cares about anything but violence. As you read the coverage of Sadr's return to the frontlines, notice the names of the Shia cities involved, and ask yourselves: when was the last time you saw or read any stories at all about the way things were going in those areas...

And Zayed says:

...One also can't help but wonder about the timing of Sistani's departure from Najaf to London for treatment. The man is known for his subtle messages, could this be a sign for his tacit approval to finish Sadr and his militia once and for all? The remaining Hawza clerics are highly unlikely to issue a collective statement in the absense of Sistani, even more so when they have been threatened and attacked by Sadr's supporters on many occasions...

Posted by John Weidner at August 6, 2004 3:29 PM
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