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Fighting Rages for Fifth Day in Iraq Offensive

Posted on Mar 29, 2008

American and British troops joined forces with Iraqi government troops battling the Mahdi Army in Basra and Sadr City on Saturday as Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s offensive, launched Tuesday, passed the fifth day with little sign of reprieve and a great deal riding on its outcome.

The Sunday Times:

Ragtag members of the Mahdi Army, a heavily armed militia loyal to Moqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shi’ite cleric with close links to Iran, vowed to fight to the death to prevent Maliki from imposing government control on the southern port at the heart of Iraq’s potentially hugely profitable oil industry.

“We have received a shipment of Strela antiaircraft rockets,” Abu Sajad boasted to a Sunday Times reporter.

“We intend to use them to prove to the world that the Mahdi Army will not allow Basra to be turned into a second Falluja [the former centre of anticoalition resistance that was crushed by US-led assaults].” President George W Bush praised Maliki and described the clashes as a “defining moment” for the Baghdad government’s attempts to curb Sadr’s influence and assert its own authority. But despite Bush’s approval, American officials are concerned that Maliki’s military gamble may cause serious embarrassment for the coalition forces.

US officials said the Iraqi prime minister had launched the assault on Tuesday without consulting Washington, but yesterday it was the Americans under fire again after claims that eight civilians had been killed in a US bombing raid.

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Outraged's avatar

By Outraged, March 30, 2008 at 8:58 pm Link to this comment

Some video clips from Iraq Veterans Against the War.  The clips are unnerving but bring clarity to the human reality of war.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to see and hear their stories, I am posting the link.  As I watched these veterans tell their stories I felt that not only should their stories be heard, but moreso they should be REQUIRED to be heard.

They offered a part of themselves for us.  At the VERY LEAST we should take the time to hear their stories.

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By Paolo, March 30, 2008 at 7:59 pm Link to this comment

If you want proof of the banality of evil, look at our current administration. With George Bush not even knowing the difference between Sunni and Shiite (he is said to have remarked, “I thought we was fighting Mooslims”) the criminal US government pretends it is smart enough to referee this thousand-year-old rivalry.

I sympathize with all sides except the US government side.

There are those who say, “if the US military left, chaos would result.” In actuality, the US military GUARANTEES chaos; if we pulled out of Iraq unconditionally, there is a chance the warring factions could resolve their differences peacefully.

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By Fadel Abdallah, March 30, 2008 at 5:01 pm Link to this comment

I cry for you dear Iraq!
I am sorry I don’t have more than tears to offer!
And though Saddam was not my hero, I do miss him and cry over him now.

From 1948, since I was a little boy, I’ve been crying over Palestine! But sorry Palestine, since 2003 I don’t cry over you as I should, for the plight of Iraq is much more greater, much more consuming and much more graphic.

Sorry Palestine, and sorry Iraq, we who claim your love have nothing to offer you but women-like tears for we have failed to defend you as brave men would defend their beloved homelands!

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By DennisD, March 30, 2008 at 2:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Is this the same Iraq where the “successful” surge took place or a parallel Iraq where the payoffs to make the surge “look” successful didn’t get to the Sadr militia on time.

Send money, guns and lawyers, the sh*t has hit the fan - Warren Zevon

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By desertdude, March 30, 2008 at 2:03 pm Link to this comment

has asked for a cease fire. Do you know why? Simple
if he keeps fighting his men will be wiped out and he
will have no power. He needs to be destroyed, because if he is allowed to continue he will be a thorn in the side of the new Government.

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By Pacrat, March 30, 2008 at 11:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Glad that John McShame visited during the latest firestorm so that he had first hand evidence that the surge is indeed working - better than expected!

Too bad that he couldn’t go out for a stroll through his favorite market place with his idiot friend from Indiana - guess that the military is otherwise occupied.

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By Joseph Martinelli, March 30, 2008 at 10:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Moqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shi’ite cleric with close links to Iran….”

Am I missing something here. It is my understanding that al-Sadr is primarily a nationalist; Maliki and his allies have the close ties to Iran

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By thebeerdoctor, March 30, 2008 at 4:17 am Link to this comment

The horrible air strikes in Basra of recent, have killed women and children sitting in their homes. The police in Basra saw this and it is no wonder that they refuse to sign up for this insane slaughter.

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By Douglas Chalmers, March 29, 2008 at 10:09 pm Link to this comment

The Iraqi army has either met stubborn resistance from Mehdi Army fighters or soldiers and police have refused to fight or changed sides….

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By Douglas Chalmers, March 29, 2008 at 9:43 pm Link to this comment

“We have received a shipment of Strela antiaircraft rockets,” Abu Sajad boasted…”

Gee, everyone involved is telegraphing their moves….. “Dear John” McCain alreay told the enemy that would be “the next battle” when he visited, duh.

”...stumbling into something that looked dangerously like stalemate…”

“The Maliki government is now fighting on behalf of the [coalition] occupiers, forgetting that history is never kind to those who oppress,” he said. “Their fate will be the same as that of Saddam.”

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By xyzaffair, March 29, 2008 at 8:00 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It sounds as if the US is siding with the Sunnis against the Shiites.  Iraq is predominantly Shiite, as is Iran.  If the Shiites come out ahead in the upcoming elections, an independent Iraq might seek favorable relations with Iran.  Is it the intention of the US occupation to maintain a Sunni-dominated Iraq (as was the case under Saddam Hussein) as a bulwark against Iran?

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